These easy vegan mashed sweet potato and lentil cakes are simple savory patties (fritters) that are crispy from the outside and soft from the inside! The (gluten-free) recipe requires basically just 4-ingredients + seasonings, and it’s perfect to make ahead – then you’ll have the perfect lunch, dinner, appetizer or side dish in only a few minutes!
Sweet Potato Fritters Recipe
Making simple vegan mashed potato cakes is a super easy and tasty way to serve regular potatoes or sweet potatoes on busy weeknights or any other day! Especially, when you want to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes or cooked lentils, today’s recipe for savory pancakes is what you need!
Savory Pancakes (Vegan Patties)
Since these patties are soft and tender from the inside but crisp from the outside, they taste similar to my all-time favorite vegan sweet potato gnocchi! However, they are not only easier to make but they contain protein-rich red lentils as an extra bonus! So if you’re a potato and gnocchi fan like me, and want to get plant-based protein from lentils, you will totally love these patties! Trust me, they are that good!
How to cook Sweet Potatoes
The potato cakes recipe starts with cooking the sweet potatoes. There are actually three ways to make it. You can either microwave sweet potatoes or bake them or boil them. The fastest method is to microwave or boil them but I prefer to bake them because roasting adds so much flavor! What I love about cooking in the oven or microwave (rather than boiling in water) is that you can save more nutrients and vitamins. Just make sure to leave the skin on!
Boil sweet potatoes
Peel and cut your sweet potatoes in pieces. Add to salted boiling water and simmer until soft and a knife easily goes through. Make sure to drain them well after cooking. Put back boiled potatoes into the pot and return the pot to the stove. Allow to steam uncovered until excess liquid has evaporated.
Microwave sweet potatoes
Pierce the sweet potato a few times with a fork. Then place the sweet potato on a heat-safe plate and microwave for 8-10 minutes, rotating them halfway through. The potato is done when a sharp butter knife runs into it easily. So if it’s still too firm, continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or so, then test again.
Bake sweet potatoes
Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork. Then place in a baking dish or on a tray and drizzle with a little oil or wrap in foil. Bake at 390°F (200°C) for about 50 to 60 minutes or until soft. Take note that the baking time will depend on how large are your sweet potatoes. If your sweet potaties are smaller, you can decrease the cooking time. Or if you get larger ones, they’ll take a little longer.
How to make Sweet Potato Fritters (Lentil Patties)
Once your sweet potatoes are done, let them cool until easy enough to handle. If you cooked them with skin on, scoop out the soft sweet potato flesh into the mixing bowl. Then mash and set aside while you cook the red lentils and sauté onions and garlic. To make the the flax egg, mix 1 tbsp flaxseed flour with 2,5 tbsp hot water. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
Sweet Potato Cakes with just 4-Ingredients + onions, garlic and seasonings!
When all of the following components for your potato cakes are prepared:
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Cooked Red Lentils (or sub chickpeas or beans)
- Sautéed Onions and Garlic
- Seasonings to taste
just mix everything to combine, using a fork or a food processor.
When using the mixture immediately, it will be pretty soft and sticky. But you can spoon it into the pan as I did (see photos), smoothing out with a spoon to shape burger patties. I recommend you not to add much additional flour or they will taste floury and bland. If you can’t handle the sweet potato batter that way, fill it into a piping bag and pipe small pancakes into your pan. Or chill the batter for 30 minutes or overnight in the refridgerator while it will firm up. Once cold, you can shape it into patties with wet hands.
Heat enough oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. (Please don’t be shy with using oil). I suggest cooking only 3 fritters at one time, depending on the size of your pan. Just make sure to leave enough space between each other. However, you could also make smaller potato cakes like vegan chickpea falafel. Cook for about 5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook on the other side too. Repeat with the remaining patties and serve while they’re still hot!
These Sweet Potato and Lentil Fritters are
- Vegan (dairy-free, egg-less)
- Gluten-free (flourless)
- Rich in Protein
- Easy to make
- Soft & Tender
- So delicious!
- Perfect for lunch or dinner
- Also great as a side or for meal prep!
What to serve with savory pancakes?
The sweet potato patties are super delicious with a vegan yogurt herb dip on the side but you can also serve them with avocado Aioli or cashew dip! If you prefer it a little spicier and Mexican inspired you could also drizzle them with my favorite Chipotle dressing!
Add Pumpkin or other Veggies into your Potato Cakes!
I also like to make regular potato cakes for lunch or dinner, it doesn’t have to be strictly a sweet potato dish. You can also modify the recipe by adding other vegetables, such as squash or pumpkin purée. Instead of lentils, you can use chickpeas or kidney beans. I think it’ll be also delicious with quinoa, bulgur or millet.
Also, sautéed scallions, spinach, chopped mushrooms, grated carrots, bell pepper or zucchini are a great addition in these sweet potato and lentil patties! I totally love my zucchini corn fritters too. Did you try them already? Anyway, there are so many more options what you can do with this basic recipe! So feel free to try out new ingredients, flavors, spices, and combinations!
More simple vegan sweet potato and lentil recipes to try:
- Vegan Sweet Potato Quesadillas
- Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
- Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce
- Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry
- Vegan Lentil Bolognese
- Vegan Lentil Dal
- Best Vegan Healthy Lasagna
If you try these easy vegan Sweet Potato Cakes recipe, please leave me a comment below sharing how you liked it! And if you take a photo of your Patties and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy this recipe!
Sweet Potato Cakes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 3/8 cup red lentils dried (75g), or sub 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or beans, *see recipe notes
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil for frying
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 1/3 cup oat flour or more as needed, or sub all-purpose flour or (gluten-free) bread crumbs (*see notes)
- 1 (flax-)egg *see recipe notes
- herb dip optional to serve
Cook Sweet Potatoes
- To bake sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C). Pierce sweet potatoes a few times with a fork, place in a baking dish or on a tray and drizzle a little bit or oil (alternatively, wrap the potatoes in foil). Bake for 50-60 minutes or until soft. (The true baking time depends on the size of your sweet potatoes).
- To microwave sweet potatoes: Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork. Then place on a heat-safe plate and microwave for 8-10 minutes, rotating them halfway through. (The potatoes are done when a knife runs into them easily. If they’re still too firm, continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, then test again).
- Once sweet potatoes are done, cool until easy to handle and scoop out the soft potato pulp into a bowl. Mash and set aside to cool.
- Add lentils and 2/3 cup of water into in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes (or cook according to the package instructions), until lentils are soft. Mash roughly and allow to cool.
Make Sweet Potato Cakes
- Heat a little oil in a large pan on medium. Cook the onion for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and spices and cook for another minute until fragrant. Transfer to the bowl with the sweet potato mash. Add mashed lentils, the flax-egg, and flour, and stir to combine using a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (The mixture should be sticky but not runny. I suggest to chill it for approx. 30 minutes or add a little more flour, *see recipe notes).
- Heat enough oil in a large non-stick pan. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the pan and form into patties (*as pictured in the step-by-step pics above or make smaller cakes). Cook for 5 minutes on one side, or until golden-browned. Then flip and cook for a further 5 minutes on the other side.
- Repeat with the remaining mixture. (You can keep prepared fritters warm in the oven).
- To make the flax egg, mix 1 tbsp flaxseed flour with 2,5 tbsp hot water. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken. (If you're not vegan, you can add a regular egg).
- The batter will be pretty soft but I recommend you NOT to add much additional flour for the best soft texture and taste! Please make sure to see the step-by-step pictures in the blogpost above, showing you how to form and pan-fry patties. (Alternatively, you could also fill the batter into a piping bag and pipe patties into the pan. Or if your batter will be firm enough to shape patties with your hands, I suggest wetting them slightly to make this a little easier).
- You could also cook the sweet potatoes on the stove in a pot (as mentioned in the blogpost) but take note that this may result in watery sweet potato mash. So please make sure to drain them very well after cooking.
- You can substitute the oat flour with all-purpose flour (you may need adding a little more) or sub (gluten-free) bread crumbs. I haven’t tried the recipe with another flour yet but feel free to do that.
- You can use red lentils or yellow lentils because they’re cooked the same way. Alternatively, you can sub 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or beans. Just make sure to pulse them in a food processor or blender until roughly mashed.
- Alternatively, you can also omit the lentils completely and use just sweet potatoes.
- The preparation time does not include chill time but cooking time in the microwave.
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