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Sweet Potato Quesadillas


My aunt’s friend, Meg, passed along this recipe to me. The sautéed sweet potato filling can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for days. If you have extra grated uncooked sweet potatoes, store them in a bag in the fridge.


  • If I have cilantro, I like to add a chopped handful to the sweet potatoes when they finish cooking.
  • You do not have to serve these with salsa. Fresh lime and sour cream are more than enough, though salsa is always nice. If you have any watermelon radishes in your vegetable bin, you can turn them into a salsa by finely dicing them and mixing them with finely diced onion, jalapeno, lime, cilantro, salt, and a splash of olive oil and vinegar.
  • Finally, I think the key here is “less is more” — a thin layer of the sweet potato filling is best.


  • 1½ cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons neutral oil such as olive, grapeseed or canola
  • 4 cups grated peeled sweet potato
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • generous pinch of cayenne
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • a cup or more of finely minced cilantro, optional
  • fresh lime juice to taste
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
  • 8 tortillas (8 to 10 inch — I like soft corn tortillas, which I find at Whole Foods)
  • sour cream for serving


  1. In a large pan set over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in 3 tablespoons of the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the grated sweet potatoes, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook, covered — covering is important to prevent sticking — for about 8-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. When the sweet potato is tender, add salt and pepper to taste and remove the filling from the heat. Add the cilantro, if using. Squeeze 1/2 a lime over the sweet potatoes, mix, taste, and adjust with more lime and salt to taste.
  2. To bake the quesadillas, do as follows: Spread one-eighth of the filling and 2 tablespoons of the cheese on each tortilla. Bake in a 350ºF oven until the cheese is fully melted and quesadillas are hot, approximately 15 minutes.
  3. To cook the quesadillas stovetop, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Fill tortillas lightly — less is more — with sweet potato filling and some cheese. Fold them in half. Cook two at a time until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip. Cook until golden, about 2 more minutes. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese, filling, adding more oil as needed.
  4. Serve with more fresh lime, sour cream, and salsa if you have it.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes