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Sweet Potato Greens in Coconut Cream

Sweet Potato Greens in Coconut Cream

One of the things we love most about participating in a CSA is being exposed to new a different things. Granted, after a few years of belonging to one we’re now familiar with that which was once new, but this year we were in for a treat.

Sweet potato greens.

Have you ever cooked with or eaten them before?

Apparently they are extremely healthy, but have a milder flavor than many leafy greens. Something along the lines of spinach or swiss chard. That and when cooked properly they are tender and buttery and practically melt in your mouth.

How often can that be said about a leafy green?

Sweet Potato Greens in Coconut Cream

We’ve been talking about adding a recurring feature here on Love & Olive Oil for some time now, called “New to Us” or something along those lines, featuring new and unusual ingredients that we have never cooked with before. Consider this the very first installment, and a double one at that. What else is new to us? Fresh turmeric. We found some at Whole Foods alongside the ginger, and knowing we were making this recipe, couldn’t resist trying it out. Fresh turmeric basically looks like little orange ginger roots. Or, you know, mummified baby carrots. You peel and grate it (wear gloves if you don’t want your fingers to turn yellow), and add it to your dish. It’s got a fantastic color and flavor more subtle and refined than the dried stuff (but that’ll work too, in a pinch).

Fresh Turmeric Root

The turmeric, combined with lemongrass, shallot, ginger, and chili in a rich bath of coconut milk becomes something akin to a mild curry. It’s not overly spiced or overly spicy, but rather smooth and luxurious – a perfect compliment to these unique greens.

The bummer about this recipe is sweet potato greens aren’t exactly something you can go to the grocery store and buy. But maybe you have a garden, or a friend with a garden, or know of a local farm that grows sweet potatoes and can bum some tips off of them. I think the closest substitute here would be fresh spinach, perhaps swiss chard although it has a bit more bite to it and may need to be cooked slightly longer.

Sweet Potato Greens in Coconut Cream

Yield: 4 side servings

Total Time: 20 minutes


1 large bunch sweet potato greens
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root (from a 1/2-inch piece)
2 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric root, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 red thai chili, finely sliced
2-inch lemon grass stalk, trimmed and finely sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
1 cup coconut cream plus 1 cup water (or substitute 2 cups light or regular coconut milk)
2 to 3 teaspoons raw or brown sugar, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Trim off any thick stems from greens. Add to boiling water and blanch for 60 seconds, then immediately transfer greens to a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.

Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili, and lemongrass and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Add coconut cream and water (or coconut milk) and bring to a simmer. Add blanched greens and return to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and serve with rice.

Recipe from

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32 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 8:38 am

    What a fun and unique recipe! I’ve never seen sweet potato greens before.


  2. 2
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I have never had sweet potato greens! You’ve intrigue me with this wonderful recipe to try them:-D


  3. 3
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Oh jeez. Yes. Just yes.


  4. 4
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:09 am

    How fabulous! I too, have never heard of sweet potato greens OR fresh tumeric (guess I always assumed it just “came” in powdered form–I must be a spoiled American :) ). Love the spices in this recipe!


  5. 5
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

    This looks amazing- I’ve never seen sweet potato greens but hope they come in my CSA basket today!


  6. 6
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I’ve never even heard of sweet potato greens so love that you’re giving them a go and sharing with the rest of us. Maybe Whole Foods will have them. I’m a total geek about curry, my fave! And yes, love the new segment, keep it coming.


  7. 7
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I never tried nor used sweet potato greens im my life, is that weird?
    Time to make that up…will definitely try your recipe asap!


  8. 8
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I’ve never heard of sweet potato greens! I’ll have to keep an eye out for them.


  9. 9
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I haven’t heard of them either. Always good to learn something new!


  10. 10
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

    We make pickles out of fresh turmeric and ginger. is a post I wrote about it earlier this year when my parents were visiting from India.

    They are super-easy to make and so pretty to look at… :)



  11. 11
    Caity @ Southern Living
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

    That looks like a perfect meal for this hungry vegetarian right here. Yum!


  12. 12
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I’m moving into downtown Chicago this winter and my biggest regret at the moment is that I didn’t take advantage of my suburban yard to plant vegetables while I’ve lived here. I’m trying to convince my parents to do it, though, so I can harvest some good stuff when I come to visit :)


  13. 13
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I had no idea you could eat sweet potato greens. Super interesting!


  14. 14
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I haven’t seen sweet potato greens before. They look delish!


  15. 15
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    That coconut cream broth with the brown sugar, lemongrass, chili, ginger…I just want a huge bowl of that! Seriously sounds awesome!


  16. 16
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Too bad my ornamental sweet potato plants won’t work-theyre taking over one of my flower beds. Note to self, plant the real thing next spring….


  17. 17
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    This looks SO good!



  18. 18
    Posted On September 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Lindsay! Would you believe these are two of the things we grow best in our little Brisbane garden? Fresh turmeric, dug out of a pot, and heaps of sweet potato greens vining across the garden beds. Tomatoes? Nope. But turmeric and sweet potato leaves, oh yes. Love that this recipe includes both! :)


  19. 19
    Posted On September 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

    This is the perfect way to save on Thai takeout! It looks amazing and I’ve never cooked with sweet potato greens but can’t wait to give them a go.


  20. 20
    Posted On September 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Back in India we used to always have fresh cut turmeric in winters. The way my mom made it was to peel and make thin slices of them and then put them in a bottle. She put salt, asofoedita, and lime juice and then let that rest for 2-3 days. This was served every night during dinner and was supposed to help in digestion and also keep the cold/cough away :)


  21. 21
    Posted On September 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    What a great combination of ingredients! I would love to experiment with some fresh turmeric :)


  22. 22
    Posted On September 26, 2012 at 5:20 am

    What a interesting combination! I’ve never tried something like that! Sounds good!


  23. 23
    Posted On September 26, 2012 at 6:43 am

    This looks so yummy :-)


  24. 24
    Posted On October 2, 2012 at 3:23 am

    what a wonderful recipe, you can be sure I will try it!!!


  25. 25
    Posted On October 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    OH my goodness YES ! Ive been eating sweetpot greens for a year now and looking for recipes….this is great …the greens are the EASIEST to grow and grow abundantly ! ..vining all up my fence ! Ive reduced my grocery bill and when you cut those leaves and milk oozes ! you KNOW youve got it FRESH and full of nutrients !!


  26. 26
    Posted On July 30, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I Googled sweet potato greens recipes and found yours! We received sweet potato greens in local food delivery basket and make this last night. It was so good! Thank you for this recipe!!!!


  27. 27
    Posted On September 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Just got some sweet potato greens in my CSA box today. These will be a first for me. Everywhere I’ve read says they’re pretty mild, so I think I’ll try them first in a green smoothie tomorrow morning. I’ll definitely save some to cook up, too. Thanks for the recipe!


  28. 28
    Posted On August 15, 2015 at 6:34 am

    What a wonderful recipe. I’ve sweet potato green for years. They are my favorite in the summer season. It’s easy to find them in Asian grocery store during the season. I usually sauté them with garlic, kosher salt and olive oil. I will try that this week as I got a big bunch from friend’s garden. This a very surprising twisted of flovor. Thanks for the recipe!


  29. 29
    Posted On November 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I found them at the Asian Market in our city – and they are fairly inexpensive too!


  30. 30
    Posted On December 9, 2015 at 4:09 am

    We grow sweet potato  and just tried this out for dinner.  Already have requests for it again.  Best of all, apart from shallots, I grow all the fresh ingredients at home. Love it, thanks. 


  31. 31
    Posted On January 20, 2016 at 7:55 am

    I came across sweet potato leaves at the market and was looking for a tasty and simple way to cook them. This was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing.


  32. 32
    Posted On August 27, 2016 at 11:26 am

    We ate these in Liberia while in the Peace Corps. Happy to say we found them in our wonderful Farmers’ Market this morning and will have them for lunch!


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