Oh, Balls!

Every year, the Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Vegetarian Friday in my stepdad's family. His aunt and niece host a huge potluck dinner in which not one morsel of meat is consumed. It's been so much fun trying everyone's different dishes every year, but the star of the show is always the vegetable gateau made from dozens of layers of crepes and alternating veggies... the whole spread is really remarkable!


My contribution to vegetarian Friday was something new this year. Last year was our rehearsal dinner, and so I missed vegetarian Friday. The year before I think I made corn pudding, and the year before... I don't remember. This year though, I made balls.

Not these balls.

Or these balls.

I made these balls:


What exactly are these balls?

These are Sweet Potato Hush Puppies.

These were known by the entire party as "the balls" and they were, in a word, fantastic.


I made the recipe to serve about 30 people, which worked out to about 2 balls a person, but this could very easily be halved to make fewer balls. Also, I deep fried them, but they could easily be baked at 375 for about 20 minutes.


Sweet Potato Hush Puppies

Makes about 60 pups


  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 cups cornbread mix (I used an organic one from Whole Foods, Jiffy would work just fine)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • oil for frying


Cut the sweet potatoes into small chunks. Steam or boil until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Place cooked potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Puree the potatoes with a stick blender. Stir in the cornbread mix and spices. Mix well and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Heat the oil to 350* and using a small scoop or spoon, drop two-bite sized amounts of dough into the oil and cook for 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with honey mustard.


Yes, I took glamour shots of the balls.

People went gaga over them, and I was so proud to be able to say I'd made up the recipe myself. Now, have other people made sweet potato hush puppies before? Sure.

I'm sure you could substitute in your favorite cornbread dry ingredients for the mix that I used and they'd work just fine. I'm eager to try these baked instead of fried,

You've got to try these, and soon. Trust me, they're worth it!



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22 Responses to Oh, Balls!

  1. oh yum! I’ve never made anything like this but LOVE a hush puppy! Thanks for the ‘baking’ idea – I want to try these!!
    fittingbackin´s last blog post ..New Gameday Recipes- Chill Weekend- New Recipes – coming soon!

  2. Becky says:

    what a creative idea to make sweet potato hush puppies, Or “balls”. they look so good, and I bet that they’re just as good baked.

    I’ve an award for you (The Versatile Blogger Award), please come and pick it up when you’re free.
    Becky´s last blog post ..Post Thanksgiving Post-Things that Im thankful for

  3. Angie says:

    Wow! These look great! I will definitely try this!
    Angie´s last blog post ..RAW Taco Salad

  4. mom says:

    i am so proud that my daughter has such pretty balls!

  5. Carmen says:

    Yes, please! I’m definitely making these. In fact, I think I have everything I would need to make them tomorrow! Thanks for posting the recipe. 🙂

  6. You are pure genius, my dear!!! Making these NOW! 🙂
    Amanda @ Vegacious´s last blog post ..Thanksgiving 2010 – Part II

  7. omg yum?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? and i love the idea of no meat after thanksgiving!! that’s so cool!
    Melissa @ TryingToHeal´s last blog post ..Slaughterhouse

  8. Mara, I loved how many times you said “balls” in one post! Very clever recipe and I’m sure I would like the fried vs. baked ones.

    What a great tradition!
    Jenn@slim-shoppin´s last blog post ..BBQ chicken pizza

  9. Diana says:

    Your balls look amazing! Yum! 🙂
    Diana´s last blog post ..Guglhupf Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

  10. Freakin’ genius! I will definitely be trying these!
    Andrea of Care to Eat´s last blog post ..So- what will it be

  11. cupcake says:

    2 balls per person? I could do six of those easily! Delicious…
    cupcake´s last blog post ..bobby flays mac &amp cheese cooking contest

  12. Biz says:

    I just love how many times you said “balls” in this post! I don’t even like sweet potatoes, but I think I would love those. 😀
    Biz´s last blog post ..Reuben Quiche and My Favorite Snowman

  13. Those balls look gorgeous and so pop-able. YUM!
    Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)´s last blog post ..A Post Holiday Beer Monday

  14. ok, love the title. and i love that they’re sweet potato. and i love that they’re fried 🙂
    Heather (Heather’s Dish)´s last blog post ..Me Against the Christmas Tree

  15. Roz says:

    Those are good looking balls!!!!!!
    PS: LOVE the photo collages!!!!!
    Roz´s last blog post ..Sunday in Victoria

  16. hello awesomeness! totally want to try these baked!!
    natalie (the sweets life)´s last blog post ..Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Scones

  17. Holly says:

    holy balls mara…i NEED these in my life. yeah you heard me – NEED, not want.

    have a happy day lady 🙂

  18. Amy says:

    Mara – These look amazing. Love hush puppies, love sweet tatties… they look fab!
    Amy´s last blog post ..Mulligatawny Soup

  19. Marianne says:

    This may be a silly question – but what exactly makes a hush puppy a hush puppy? Is it like a fritter, but ball shaped? They sound delicious. I’d totally give a baked version a go, mostly because I fear doing any deep fat frying myself. LOL.
    Marianne´s last blog post ..It’s Amazing!

  20. Sarah says:

    These were delicious! I baked the sweet potatoes in oven at 350 for an hour. Mixed them up as directed but also added 2t garlic powder. Baked balls 20-25 mins at 400. Used silicone baking mats on cookie sheets and dropped the balls using a cookie scoop. Easy and delicious!

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