Spicy Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Balls are seasoned, mashed sweet potatoes formed into balls, rolled in a spicy egg white mixture, then coated with pecans. Grain-free and gluten-free.
Do you find the specials as irresistible as I do in the grocery store the week preceding a big holiday?
Consequently, I find myself with an overabundance of sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving. It’s a great problem.
Several years ago, my friend Debbie came to the rescue with her recipe for Sweet Potato Balls. After making it her way for a few years, I completely revised the recipe. You may have noticed how I like to do that.
What Makes These Spicy Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Balls Special?
The technique for cooking the sweet potatoes comes from the Nov-Dec 2018 issue of Cooks Country. It’s a simple task on top of the stove but results in a rich and concentrated sweet potato flavor.
Marshmallows seem to find their way into many sweet potato casseroles served around the holidays, but I finally decided to say “no” to vegetable desserts.
Instead, I use a little bit of Swerve (but you can use sugar or your favorite sweetener) to get the slightly “sweet” flavor in the sweet and spicy pecan coating. The “spicy” notes come from Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and cayenne.
Admittedly, these sweet potato balls are a little trouble. Luckily, you can do most of the work ahead of time.
Prepare balls and bake at your convenience. When cool, wrap sweet potato balls well and freeze. Allow to thaw and reheat in the oven before serving.
How To Make Spicy Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Balls:
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar (or my fave sweetener, Swerve)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Peel and cut sweet potatoes in 1/2-inch slices. Place in covered pot with 6 tablespoons water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until potatoes are soft. Usually takes 20-25 minutes.
- Mash with a fork or potato masher. (Do not use a mixer, food processor or immersion blender as they will cause sweet potatoes to be too soft.)
- Season with salt and cayenne.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper, a silicone mat or greasing it well.
- Mix egg whites, water, and salt with a fork until frothy. Add Worcestershire sauce, paprika and cayenne. Mix well.
- Spread chopped pecans on a piece of wax paper or a plate.
- Make sweet potato balls using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop. I like balls between 1/8 to 1/4 cup size. (Surgical gloves are really helpful here.) Drop balls one at a time into egg white mixture with a slotted spoon making sure the whole ball gets coated. Then cover ball with finely-chopped pecans.
- Place on prepared cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nuts become toasty and balls are heated through.
- If you have any of the egg white mixture left over, here's an idea. Add a tablespoon of melted butter to the mixture and stir. Add more pecans--maybe 1/2 cup. Pour onto a greased or silicone mat-covered baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until toasty. These are so good crumbled over a salad. Or.... you could just eat them straight up like I do.
- The nutritional estimates on this recipe may be a little high because you will probably have a little bit of the egg mixture and butter left over after making the balls.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 490mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 5g
A version of this post was originally published in December 2009. It has been updated with new pictures, and a revised recipe to reflect how I make it now.