These Sweet Potato Quinoa Puffs Will Love You Back

Feeling down? These powerful puffs, packed with antioxidants and complex carbohydrates, will turn your day around.

Photos by Leah Lizarondo


Like everyone else, there are times when I simply hit the wall — moments when I feel absolutely defeated. Today was one of those days. I sat in front of my laptop trying to write the post I had previously planned, but the words just wouldn’t flow. I couldn’t conjure emotion that I wasn’t feeling.


How do you get yourself out of these funks? (Let me know in the comment section). For me, F words become lifesavers: Family. Friends. Food.

I called on three very special women. My mother was my first call. My good friends A and K were next. My mother directed me to look at the situation with a different perspective, which worked wonders. My friend A encouraged me to listen to a Nina Simone song, which was the perfect Scarlett O’Hara-as-God-as-my-witness battlecry. And as I bemoaned the blinking cursor on a blank page to my friend K, she advised me to lean into the pain and frustration instead of running away from it. Embrace it. Which was brilliant. At the end of the three conversations, I was a phoenix rising from the ashes. With half-an-hour to spare, my day was saved. It only got better.

So what about the third F? Food. My first instinct on these days of malaise is to seek comfort in a cupcake. I know it will work its momentary magic. Our bodies are biologically wired to feel “good” from sugar. But I also know that sugar is a snakeoil salesman that will make me pay soon after my indulgence with a crash that will push me right back to where I started, or worse. So I like to enjoy my sugar gratuitously, not for its fleeting emotional utility. Instead, I turn to food that loves me back.

Why? Because not only will it give me the feeling of comfort and satisfaction, it’ll also make me feel good about myself. It sounds super trite. But it’s true.

This is one of those foods that love me back: Sweet potato puffs.

Mmm. Sweet potato puffs. Just those three words alone should be enough to make anyone a little happier.

Little orange puffs of sweet, pillowy, creamy goodness. I like to eat it with a bowl of cilantro-flecked black beans and rice. The saltiness! The tartness! Now that’s a very happy plate. I can eat three bowls of these. Right. Now.

But it’s not just me. I was wondering why sweet potato puffs truly made me feel good, and I discovered that there’s actually science behind it.

Sweet potatoes are chock-full of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that our bodies (and particularly our brains) are susceptible to. Black beans are also loaded with anthocyanins, another powerful antioxidant. These antioxidants help keep the brain healthy, and hence, less prone to the blues.

What’s more, sweet potatoes, brown rice and black beans are all complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are necessary for the production of serotonin — that “feel good” chemical in our brains.


See? Way better.

I’m happy to share with you one of my go-to uppers, and I hope that one day they may help save the day for you, too!




  Sweet Potato Quinoa Puffs

This is the sweet potato variation of the much-loved Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs recipe.


  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups very finely chopped greens such as lacinato kale, swiss chard or spinach
  • 2 T Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread or butter or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1.     Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.     Cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Steam or boil until soft. Drain.
3.     Mash the potatoes well or put it through a ricer.
4.     Once the lumps are gone, add all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5.     Using a tablespoon, form into 1-inch balls
6.     Drop into parchment lined cookie sheet.
7.     Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the puffs and bake for another 15 minutes.


  Cilantro Lime Rice with Black Beans

Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 T Earth Balance Soy-Free or butter
  • ½ – 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup, you can vary this to taste)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Pepper


1.     Cook rice in 2 cups water with the salt.
2.     Once cooked and while still hot, fluff and mix in other ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
3.     Serve with the sweet potato puffs.

Categories: Brazen Kitchen