My little ones love meatballs, so I love to change up our usual recipe with ones that pack in extra nutrients. These Sweet Potato Chicken Bites are basically a cross between a chicken nugget and a meatball, with a hit of sweetness from the sweet potato. And they make an easy dinner option on even busy weeknights.
Meatballs were one of L's favorite early foods—we actually had them at her first birthday party!—and she'll almost always eat whatever kind I make when I serve them with pasta. She can be a little more opinionated when I serve them on their own, but she and the baby both enjoyed these. (For the baby, I have her tiny bits of the soft interior and skipped the crispy outside since she's not quite ready for that texture yet.) And I admit that I sometimes make a double batch of these so that there are some leftover for my own lunches.
This recipe doesn't rely on cheese for binding, so they are dairy-, gluten-, and nut-free. There is an egg and meat of course, but they are otherwise very straightforward and cook up with a soft texture. And they come together in the food processor, making them a favorite dinner option.
I love adding mashed sweet potato to this recipe since it adds flavor and moisture, and it pairs so well with the smokey spices. And while you do need to plan ahead to bake the sweet potato ahead of time, you can do it on the weekend when you might have more time. Then, simply store them in an airtight container until you're ready to make the rest of the recipe. You could try using canned butternut squash puree instead (just drain off any extra liquid first) and use fresh garlic if you prefer—or even add in a handful or two of baby spinach leaves.
Nutrition wise, these Sweet Potato Chicken Bites have protein, Vitamin A and some fiber. And some brain-building fats from both the egg and chicken. I hope you enjoy them!
Sweet Potato Chicken Bites
You can roast a few sweet potatoes up to 3 days ahead of time. Wash, poke holes in each, and wrap with foil. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes or until very soft. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash. Serve the remainder with the bites if you'd like. You can also try using canned mashed butternut squash, slightly drained of any excess liquid.
Makes about a dozen
- 1/2 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 cup roasted and mashed sweet potato
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 small onion, peeled and halved
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Place all ingredients except for the oil into a food processor. Combine well, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Portion 1-tablespoon scoops onto a plate using a tablespoon measuring spoon.
- Warm the oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Form flat balls with each tablespoon portion (it will be sticky) and cook about 6 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Serve warm with ketchup, hummus, or another favorite dipping sauce.
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