Sweet Potato Chicken Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce

Colourful sweet potato croquettes, loaded with flavour and healthy nutrients, make a tasty light meal with a side of pasta, rice, or couscous.  Or serve them as a filling appetizer for your next event.

Sweet Potato Patties with Chimichurri Sauce | Swirls and Spice

Any time I have an extra sweet potato lurking about, croquettes have become one of my top picks to make.  Savoury sweet potato croquettes are an enticing way to get healthy superfoods onto our plates and into our lunch boxes. The sweet potato and chimichurri sauce can be prepared in a snap, thanks to my food processor.  Leftover croquettes make a great breakfast too, since they taste almost like sausage.

We had plenty of chimichurri sauce left, but found that the extra sauce adds a fantastic garlic punch to meats, sandwiches, and pasta as well. The sauce can also be frozen for next time.  And since there is no cilantro involved in this chimichurri, my whole family could enjoy it!

What are your favourite ways to eat sweet potatoes?

Sweet Potato Chicken Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce | Swirls and Spice

Sweet Potato Chicken Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Servings: about 16 to 18 small croquettes
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Ingredients for the Sweet Potato Croquettes:

  • 2 cups grated sweet potato or yam
  • 450 g (about 2 cups) ground chicken or lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 spring onions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning blend (dry)
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Worschestershire sauce, optional (look for gluten-free if on a restricted diet)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons almond flour (or other flour, such as rice flour)

Ingredients for the Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Mash together ground chicken and sweet potatoes with your hands or a potato masher.  Add remaining croquette ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Form the seasoned mixture into small patties.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with oil.  Fry the croquettes for several minutes on each side until cooked through, being careful not to let the sweet potato burn.  Cover and keep cooked croquettes warm.
  2. Toss all ingredients for the chimichurri sauce into a food processor or blender and pulse until a thick sauce forms.
  3. Serve croquettes warm with sauce on the side or top croquettes with the sauce just before serving.

Adapted from Dish by Dish and Humbled in a Heartbeat

Sweet Potato Patties with Chimichurri Sauce | Swirls and Spice

I share recipes here, at Allergy Free Wednesdays and at Gluten Free Wednesdays.

Also linked to Savoring Saturdays.


Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds

The warm spices of Morocco can take the most common of vegetables and elevate it to exotic new heights. As fitting as these spiced carrots might be for a special occasion like Easter dinner, they are still quick and simple enough for a weeknight side dish. The subtle sweetness of dried apricots compliments the spice blend exactly right–no honey or brown sugar needed.
Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds | Swirls and Spice

This side dish recipe was inspired by a lovely recipe for glazed carrots that employed apricot preserves.  Since my family prefers less sweetness, I took it in a different, spicier direction.  Top it all off with crunchy toasted almonds, and you have a side dish poised to become the main attraction.

Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds | Swirls and SpiceAs for an entrée, I recommend pairing these spiced carrots with lamb or chicken.  Cardamom-Scented Rice Pilaf with Lamb and Chickpeas would do nicely, as would Za’atar Chicken, which I am keen to try at home once I track down more za’atar.  You could also opt to round out the meal with some couscous or Kalonji Seed Bread if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

But honestly, even putting these Moroccan carrots alongside a simple rotisserie chicken will make your mouth quite happy.

Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds | Swirls and Spice

Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds

  • Servings: 4 to 6 as a side dish
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  • 4 to 5 cups thickly sliced carrots
  • 10 dried apricots (preferably unsulphured), chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers


  1. In a small bowl, pour 2/3 cup hot water over chopped dried apricots and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.
  2. Meawhile, in a saucepan, heat 6 cups of water to boil.  Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Whisk together spices, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar and add to apricot water mixture.  Add garlic and olive oil to empty saucepan and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.  Return carrots to pan and saute for 2 minutes.  Add spices, salt, and apricot mixture to the carrots and cook together for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and keep warm until serving time.
  4. Just before serving, stir in chopped parsley.  Transfer cooked carrots to serving dish and sprinkle with toasted almond slivers.

Moroccan Carrots

I share recipes here and at Gluten Free Wednesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Also linked to Savoring Saturdays.


Rainbow Tostadas

Rainbow Tostadas | Swirls and Spice Ever since I spotted a colourful rainbow pizza by the Novice Gardener, I wanted to take that brilliant idea in a Tex-Mex direction.  At first I thought I would make chalupas, but then I found out that chalupas are shaped differently than I thought.  Tostadas are flat, whereas chalupas are traditionally shaped into bowl-like “boats” to hold the fillings.

So to create rainbows it seems that, geometrically speaking, tostadas are the better surface.  They’re also easier to whip up, since pre-made corn tostada bases can be found at any decent supermarket.  If you’d rather make your own tortillas, I’ve got a basic flour tortilla recipe, or there are my more recent gluten-free fresh cornmeal tortillas that I adapted from another gluten-free corn tortilla recipe.

Fresh Cornmeal Tortillas | Swirls and Spice As much as I love homemade tortillas, for the sake of expedience, I often choose packaged tostada tortillas.  Is anyone else feeling like March has so much going on?  And there are some special events, like the Drop Box movie last week, that I didn’t want to miss.  I am happy to keep things simple in the kitchen to make time for outings like that. So for lunch I can simply spread on some refried beans, add sweet peppers and onion, and bake or broil them briefly in the oven.  The rainbow theme makes these tostadas especially fitting for St. Patrick’s Day this month.  However, I am pretty sure we’ll be enjoying these all year long, since all those colours make them healthy, repeatable, and ever so fun! Rainbow Tostadas | Swirls and Spice I really liked the vibrant colours of the vegan version that I made without cheese.  But I was curious about the difference adding cheese might make, so I added a little to a few of the tostadas later.  I did like the taste with cheese even better, but next time I will put it on underneath the veggies.  If you eat dairy-free, try nutritional yeast or non-dairy cheese and see how you like it.  Dairy lovers could also try adding sour cream “clouds” on top, which would be fun to see!  Let me know if you try them! Rainbow Tostadas | Swirls and Spice I’m bringing these tostadas to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party.  Come on over and see what our group is sharing this weekend!

Rainbow Tostadas {with vegan option}

Ingredients:Rainbow Tostadas | Swirls and Spice

  • corn or flour tortillas (I prefer homemade tortillas or packaged tostada chips)
  • refried beans (I used seasoned pureed black beans)
  • red bell pepper (capsicum), sliced and/or diced
  • orange bell pepper, sliced and/or diced
  • yellow bell pepper, diced
  • green bell pepper, diced
  • red (purple) onion, diced
  • cheese or nutritional yeast, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).  To assemble tostadas, spread tortillas evenly with refried beans.  (You may need to heat them and add oil if they aren’t soft enough to spread.) Top beans with cheese or nutritional yeast if using.  Arrange an outer circle of red pepper, followed by a smaller circle of orange pepper, then yellow pepper, and finally a small circle of green pepper.  Fill the middle with red onion.
  2. Place 3 to 4 tostadas on a baking sheet.  Bake until peppers are lightly roasted and beans are heated through.  Serve warm, with salsa on the side.

I  also share recipes here and at Savoring Saturdays.


Fresh Cornmeal Tortillas {Gluten Free}

Fresh Cornmeal Tortillas | Swirls and SpiceI often come home from the store and realize I forgot the very item that prompted me to go in the first place.   Corn tostadas were one of my most recent forgotten items.  Since I refuse to make a trip for one or two items, so began my efforts to make corn tortillas at home.

After I shared my recipe for Basic Flour Tortillas, I had the intention of trying homemade corn tortillas.  Because the freshness of homemade tortillas absolutely cannot be beat.  After a few misfires with masa harina flour in other recipes, I looked for a recipe that could use cornmeal instead.  And I found two.  One of the recipes for corn tortillas was even gluten free and featured helpful step-by-step photos here.

One reason why it took so long for me to try making corn tortillas is that I thought I needed a tortilla press.  But this recipe proves that is not true at all!  I rolled each tortilla out between sheets of baking parchment, and the process was even quicker than rolling out flour tortillas.  Adding some finely ground flax seed helped the dough stay together fairly well.

All in all, these corn tortillas were a success, and they will certainly be competing with my flour tortillas recipe whenever I decide to make tortillas from scratch at home.  If you’re feeding fewer than four people, I advise halving the recipe below, or you can freeze extra tortillas separated with sheets of parchment.Fresh Cornmeal Tortillas | Swirls and Spice

Fresh Cornmeal Tortillas {Gluten Free}

  • Servings: 16 tortillas
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  • 1+1/2 cups rice flour
  • 1+1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1+1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground flax seed
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or lard


  1. Whisk together dry ingredients with a fork and drop in butter.  Add 1 + 1/2 cups boiling water and stir with a fork until a dough forms.  Let cool.  Form dough into 16 balls, return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill dough in freezer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place one ball of dough between two sheets of baking parchment.  Roll until, thin, flat, and somewhat round.  Carefully transfer the tortilla to the hot skillet and cook until the first side has light golden spots.  Flip and cook the other side.  Continue rolling and cooking the remaining tortillas.  Serve warm or use in any recipe calling for tortillas.

I share recipes at Allergy Free Wednesdays,

Gluten Free Wednesdays, Savoring Saturdays and here.


Sweet Potato Skillet with Bacon and Greens

Sweet Potato Skillet with Bacon and Greens | Swirls and SpiceThe bacon wins.  Even non-fans of sweet potatoes will be bowled over by the savoury bacon flavour that permeates this simple dish.  It’s an easy main dish, a very hearty side dish, or a weekend breakfast option that is destined to triumph over any skeptics you might have in the house.Sweet Potato Skillet with Bacon and Greens | Swirls and Spice

All you need are four simple ingredients. I happened to have bacon, sweet potatoes, spinach, and green onions on hand this week, and so I decided to go for it.  Not surprisingly, the whole family loved this skillet!  And I think you will too.  Just don’t expect leftovers.

Sweet Potato Skillet with Bacon and Greens {Paleo}

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 30 min
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Ingredients:Sweet Potato Skillet with Bacon and Greens | Swirls and Spice

  • 4 to 5 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1-cm) cubes
  • 9 to 12 slices of bacon (I prefer uncured natural bacon)
  • 4 to 5 cups loosely packed greens, such as spinach, swiss chard and/or arugala
  • 2 green onions, diced


  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat until mostly crisp.  Remove bacon from skillet and let cool.  Spoon out some of the bacon drippings until a layer of drippings covers the bottom of the skillet.  Reserve any extra drippings for another purpose.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes to the skillet and fry over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning the cubes with a spatula every few minutes.  When sweet potatoes are mostly cooked through, add fresh greens.  Break up cooled bacon into 1-inch (2-cm) pieces and stir into the skillet with the sweet potatoes and greens.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until greens are wilted.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in green onions.  Serve warm, straight from the skillet if you wish.

Sweet Potato Skillet with Bacon and Greens | Swirls and Spice

I share recipes at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and here.

Also sharing at Natural Family Fridays and Savoring Saturdays.


Spiced Peach Oat Bars

Made with simple pantry ingredients, these oat bars and their peachy goodness are entirely within reach all year round!Peach Spice Oat Bars | Swirls and SpiceFinding a juicy fresh peach is not an easy thing.  Last summer we struck out and were disappointed with the peaches available; I have craved good peaches ever since.  Thankfully, canned and frozen peaches make it possible to taste one of my favourite fruits any time of year.

Summery peaches bring the hope of sunshine to come.  Warm weather may still be months away, but ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon are aromatic pick-me-ups.  Colour is also something my eyes long for as the cold lingers on, which the peaches and carrot cheerfully offer (along with Vitamin A).

While I have yet to master the art of carrot cake, I love adding carrots to all sorts of things, like granola and hot cross buns.  The flavour is such a subtle accent that you probably won’t notice the carrot, which allows the peaches to take center stage.  These versatile bars work well as an afternoon snack or a simple dessert.  Or follow my lead and save some for breakfast!Peach Spice Oat Bars | Swirls and Spice

Spiced Peach Oat Bars {with gluten free option}

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 45 min plus cooling
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Peach Spice Oat Bars | Swirls and Spice

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/2 cups quick and/or old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup rice flour (or 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour if not gluten free)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, raw sugar, or golden yellow (light brown) sugar
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated (3 Tablespoons), optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/2 cups canned peaches (one 400 mL can), drained and diced
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch (or 2 + 1/2 Tablespoons tapioca flour)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut palm sugar or golden yellow (light brown) sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Whisk together oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spiced.  In a separate bowl, blend together coconut oil (or butter) and grated carrot, and then stir in vanilla.  Add carrot mixture to dry ingredients.  Use a fork and/or your fingertips to break apart the larger pieces and mix well, until even crumbles are formed.
  2.  Line the bottom of a 8-by-11-inch (20 cm x 28 cm) or 9-by-9-inch (22cm) square dish with baking parchment.  Press about two-thirds of the crumb mixture into the dish.  Bake at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 15 minutes or until light golden.
  3. To make the filling, combine diced peaches with cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Stir well and mash peaches lightly with a fork.  Add maple syrup or honey and sugar.  Turn on heat to medium low and bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.  Simmer and stir until thickened juice turns clear.  Remove filling from heat and stir in 1/8 teaspoon vanilla.
  4. Remove baking dish with oat base from oven to cool slightly.  Spread peach filling over the oat crust.  Top with remaining crumb mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.  Allow the pan to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Spiced Peach Oat Bars | Swirls and SpiceI share recipes at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and here.

Also shared at Natural Family Fridays and Savoring Saturdays.


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