Smokey Yam Meatballs

These flavor-packed meatballs are zesty, sweet and savory all rolled into one – and they contain kale! What a delicious way to get your veggies in.

Total Preparation/Cooking time: 1-1 ½ hours
Serves: 9 servings (makes about 36 meatballs, 4 meatballs per serving)


  • 2 medium yams, orange-flesh
  • 1 cup fresh kale (about 3-4 stalks), stalks removed
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder    
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 oz ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (for frying)


  1. Fill a medium sized pot ¾ the way full with water and bring to boil.
  2. Skin and cut yams into medium dice chunks. Add yams to boiling pot of water (make sure all yams are covered in water) and let simmer until the chunks are fork tender (about 20-30 minutes).
  3. Remove yams from water and mash until mostly smooth. Put in the refrigerator to cool. Meanwhile, finely chop the kale.
  4. Mix all seasonings and spices, lemon juice, kale, and mashed yams together.
  5. Fold in the egg and add the ground chicken in pieces, mixing the whole mixture in between each meat addition until everything is combined. Roll about 1 tablespoon worth of the mixture into a ball. Repeat until all of the mixture is used up.
  6. Heat a sauté pan to low-medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. oil to the bottom and pan fry the meatballs (space meatballs about ½ inch apart in the pan) for about 15-20 minutes partially covered (or until fully cooked through). Rotate the meatballs every 2-4 minutes to evenly brown on all sides and ensure even cooking.
  7. NOTE: Cooked meatballs will be very moist and have a crumbly texture. To test for doneness, check with a thermometer (160 degrees F or higher).
  8.  Repeat cooking process until all meatballs have been cooked. Enjoy immediately or cover and save for later.

Nutrition Facts | Smokey Yam Meatballs | GridIron Chef Contest