Toddler Meal: Baked Sweet Potato Poppers

Jan Scott September 19, 2016
Baked Sweet Potato Poppers - Full Size

The idea of making a homemade Tater Tot has been on my mind for a while now, and I’ve always wondered if using sweet potatoes in place of a traditional baked potato would work as well as I hoped.  My toddler is obsessed with roasted sweet potatoes, and this seemed like a natural way to include more of this nutritional powerhouse in his diet.

While sweet potato toast is all the rage these days, I just didn’t see him chowing down on thick-cut slices of sweet potato topped with marinated beans, mashed avocado, or almond butter and sliced bananas (it’s totally a thing). Instead, I stuck to a kid-friendly favourite dish made healthier thanks to the addition of grated zucchini. Every August I stand in the kitchen and scratch my head with wonder as I ponder how I’m going to make use of the summer squash that’s taking over my countertops. This recipe is one excellent example, especially when you tired of the traditional breads and muffins.

For the method, I followed the baked potato poppers recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks, Mad Hungry Cravings. I used one-pound total of sweet potato and zucchini, and added some Parmesan cheese to the panko mixture for a little extra crunch and flavour. The result was a dish my 17-month-old can’t stop eating.

While any dipping sauce would work well, he’s particularly fond of tzatziki or pesto mixed with equal amounts of Greek yogurt.

Makes 24

You’ll Need

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: dipping sauce like ketchup, tzatziki, or pesto mixed with Greek yogurt

Prep and Cook

  • 1
    Preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the middle position. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
  • 2
    Peel and grate the potato on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with boiling water by two inches. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, grate the zucchini over a double thickness of paper towel, and squeeze out any excess liquid.
  • 4
    Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze the potatoes to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the zucchini, flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and egg yolk.
  • 5
    Place the panko and Parmesan on a large plate and toss to combine. With wet hands, pinch off tablespoons of the potato mixture, form into balls and roll in the panko crumbs.
  • 6
    Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Quickly transfer the poppers to the baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy, flipping once. Serve with dipping sauce of choice.
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