Love and Olive Oil

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

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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.

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  1. I had this when I was in Zanzibar and have been wanting to make it ever since. This recipe is just as I remember it. I didn’t have turmeric root, but the powder worked well. Thank you.

  2. I ended up here after googling on recipes for sweet potato greens as I have heaps of them in my garden and heard a lot of good things about their nutritional value , I just don’t know how to cook it 😂 so thanks for sharing! X

  3. My sweet potato leaves are purple not green.

  4. I am from W. Africa where sweet potato leaves are called potato greens, and they are fried along with beef and chicken and eaten with rice.

  5. I am from west Africa and we call sweet potato leaves potato greens, and is eaten a lot in West Africa. Typically it is cut into small slices and the dish can have beef or chicken. Potato greens are easy to find in the West african countries.

  6. In France  we often chop up lettuce leaves to add to cooked green peas and lightly sauté the lot with butter and finely chopped onions or whole baby onions.  I did that but with chopped up sweet potatoes greens. Very nice! 

  7. In France  we often chop up lettuce leaves to add to cooked green peas and lightly sauté the lit with butter and finely chopped onions. I did that but with chopped up sweet potatoes greens. Very nice! I have‘Twas! 

  8. This recipe was delicious!!! I also topped it with Tajin, a chili-lime seasoning, which made it POP. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This was easy and absolutely delicious. If there was a place to rate it, I would give it 5 stars. I used a 15 oz (by weight) can of coconut cream, which was about one and a half cups, and added water to make the full two cups. It did not need any sugar. I used sweet potato greens because we had them, but this could easily be adjusted for any greens, just change the blanching time.

  10. I am growing sweet potatoes in my garden, in Temecula, CA.  I happened to say to my husband, “What can we do with all these beautiful sweet potato leaves?”   Then I went to my computer and found your recipe, which sounds divine.
    However, your first ingredient is “a large bunch”.  Can you give me a better, more approximate amount for the leaves?  Thank you!  

    • I do not recall the exact measurement, sorry! A reasonable handful of stems is what I’d say, it’s not an exact amount and the recipe will still work with slightly more/less. :)

  11. How much is a large bunch?

  12. These are delicious ! Highly recommend trying this recipe! Even better, I made mine in my instant pot. Just be sure to cut off enough stem. 

  13. You don’t say what part of the plant is edible? Just the tips or what? By the way. sweet potatoes are very easy and pest free to grow. They need a longish season, sun and room for the vines. I’ll bet you can grow them in a big pot. Starting transplants from a sweet potato in late winter is also lots of easy fun for adults and kids

  14. my husband, who had prostate cancer years ago, went to a monthly group meeting last night and heard about sweet potato leaves as a possible ‘prevention’ of prostate cancer… just thought I would share that very intriguing bit of information.. 
    We are from the south and I’ve never heard of eating the leaves.. we have a garden and will give them a try. This recipe sounds fabulous.

  15. Sweet potato vines have reached out of the bed and smothered about a thousand square feet of the garden, so I made this and it was delicious. They taste sort of like sweet potatoes crossed with spinach, and the spice mix is like a green curry. It’s light so I thought we might be hungry later, but it really stuck. Husband, 3 yo and 5 yo all asked to have it again. My cupboards were not a great fit for the ingredients, so I had to make the following substitutions: lemon juice for lemon grass, whole coconut milk for coconut cream and water, onion for shallot, regular fresh Mexican chili pepper instead of a Thai variety, dried turmeric for fresh. It was fine but just for fun next time I’ll try to make a closer fit.

  16. sweet potato greens are incredibly easy to grow. Just put a grocery store sweet potato on it’s side halfway berried in soil and keep the soil moist. the sweet potato swill start shooting out “slips” which can even be separated(just gently twist off at the base where it connects to the potato) from the sweet potato and re-potted to make new sweet potato plants. I recommend re-potting when there are roots on each slip that are 3-4 inches long, or just put the slip in water after twisting it off and it will shoot out roots, then it can be potted. each slip makes a new plant, and one potato can shoot out up to 50 slips. You can even eat the sweet potato when you feel like you have enough slips for your needs, so you aren’t even wasting a sweet potato root by growing the slips. p.s. sweet potatoes like lots of sun.

  17. Would be nice to include how you “stumbled upon” this dish so readers know how to pair the meal. Potato greens (similar to callaloo) are kind of an every day meal if you grew up in a West African or Caribbean household.

  18. You can buy sweet potato leaves in bunches at Asian supermarkets. In NYC, they can be bought in Chinatown

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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. 

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

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!!!!

  26. 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 !!

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

  28. This looks so yummy :-)

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

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

  31. 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 :)

  32. 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.

  33. 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! :)

  34. This looks SO good!


  35. 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….

    • Ornamental leaves work just as well as the ones from the veggie garden (as long as they’re not sprayed with pesticide). The ornamental tuber, however, doesn’t taste as good as the veggie garden variety, although you can save it over winter for use next season (just treat like Dahlias).

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

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

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

  39. 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 :)

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

  41. 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… :)


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

    • I was looking for new ways to eat sweet potato greens when I ran across this recipe.  It looks very Thai inspired so I will use fish sauce instead of soy and I will add a bit of lime juice.  Thanks for sharing.

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

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

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

  47. 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!

  48. Oh jeez. Yes. Just yes.

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

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

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