Spicy Sesame Sweet Potato “Tots”

May 14th, 2013 at 6:06 am
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Is there anything that can’t be done with the humble but oh-so-versatile sweet potato?

You can turn them into chips, you can turn them into dips.

You can slurp them through a straw, you can even eat them raw.

You can toss them in some curry, you can hash them in a hurry.

You can turn them into chili, or make them look a little silly.

You can bake them into bread

Now I think enough is said.

Okay, that’s my best shot at poetry. (It’s been a while since high school English class…)

Goofy poem or not, sweet potatoes really are kitchen rock stars. Their versatility and jaw-dropping nutritional profile make them a staple in my kitchen. They should be one in yours, too.

I often steam or roast up a few sweet potatoes at a time to have on hand for tossing in salads or as a quick side dish to go with dinner. I was feeling a little bored with my usual routine, though, so I decided to try making a way healthier but still delicious version of sweet potato tots to change things up.

These sweet potato “tots” are probably nothing like what you’re used to…if you’re used to tots at all. I’m not. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had one before. All I know is that they’re floury, doughy, and fried—all of which just shouts heart disease and clogged arteries, yes?

To make my “tots” healthier, I nixed the wheat flour and the frying method altogether. By coating the sweet potato balls in a mixture of spiced sesame seeds, you get a little crunch and texture plus some spicy flavor. Sweet potatoes and chili anything are a match made in heaven.

I paired my tots with a cool and creamy avocado dip…the perfect contrast! Want the recipe? Stay tuned. It’s coming ‘atcha later this week.

For now, have fun making the sweet potato tots. They’d also be great with salsa or a creamy tahini dipping sauce. And of course they’re just fine on their own, too. But nothing is more fun than dip-able finger food.


Spicy Sesame Sweet Potato “Tots”

Yield: 20-25 balls

Tater tots have never been healthier! These unfried sweet potato "tots" get a crunchy boost from a spiced sesame coating. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce (salsa, ketchup, and honey mustard are great options).


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (about 1-1/2 pounds)

3 tablespoons (22 grams) coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Optional, for extra kick: 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Chop the peeled sweet potatoes into chunks. Put them in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until very finely chopped (but not pasted). Alternatively, you can shred the sweet potatoes on the smallest holes of a box grater. In a clean flour sack towel or cheesecloth, wring out the sweet potatoes to remove as much moisture as you can. (I did this in 3 batches.) Place the wrung-out sweet potatoes in a medium bowl.

Add the coconut flour and salt to the bowl with the sweet potatoes. Mix with a fork to combine. Add the egg and egg white. Mix with a fork to get the eggs incorporated, then knead the mixture with your hands to form a moist and cohesive "dough."

In a shallow bowl, combine the sesame seeds, flaxseed, chili powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Roll the sweet potato dough into balls, using about 1 heaping tablespoon per ball. Roll the balls in the spiced sesame mixture to coat.

Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes until firm and dry to the touch. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.


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  1. Thanks for the link-up. These look great. I like how you used coconut flour, which I just discovered recently. Awesome stuff. :)

  2. Terry M said on May 14, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for this healthy version of sweet potato “tots!” Any suggestions for the best possible egg substitution with his recipe? :)

  3. These look great, Hallie! And thanks for including my sweet or savory sweet potato spread in this poetic list! ;-) I love the name “tots,” too. . . I used to LOVE tater tots! I bet these are much, much better. :)

  4. What a great idea! Can’t wait for that dip recipe :)

  5. These are too cute Hallie! What a great idea.

  6. These look sooooooo good!

  7. Catherine said on May 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    These look so awesome. YUM! Do you have suggestions for a substitution for the flax seed? Thank you for this and all your yummy recipes!

  8. Hi Hallie. Wanted to stop by, say how much I love your site, and will be making both these tots and the tahini paprika kale chips over the next few days. I will be putting them on my blog, weightingfor50.com, and will be linking back to your recipes. Hope you don’t mind! All the best!

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I'm Hallie Klecker, a professional recipe developer, author, and passionate gluten-free foodie. As a certified holistic nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire others to live a balanced, nourished life through eating well and living pure—one bite at a time. Learn more.