These Sweet Potato, Kale and Black Bean Patties are an easy way to get picky toddlers to LOVE eating vegetables! This healthy toddler meal idea can be made ahead of time, is freezer friendly, and perfect for baby led weaning. Older kids and adults will love them too!
Healthy meal ideas for babies and toddlers
Parenthood is full of surprises. One of the things that really took me by surprise about being a mom is just how stressful and time consuming feeding a baby and toddler would be. Not only are you short on time, but you have to feed these kids like 3 times a day!! Plus snacks! It’s crazy. Constantly coming up with healthy meal ideas for babies and toddlers is a full time job in itself. That is why I like to have some easy kids meals stashed in the freezer. These Sweet Potato, Kale and Black Bean patties are easy, only have five ingredients, and they freeze and reheat wonderfully.
how to get your picky toddler to eat vegetables
If you follow me on instagram, you may have been following my journey of starting my baby on solids. Although I started him on purees rather than starting with Baby Led Weaning, we switched away from purees as soon as he was able to.
I’ve enjoyed being able to introduce my son to a variety of foods, and he was such a great eater! I was patting myself on the back for raising a child who loved vegetables – and then I read that it is totally normal for babies to love all kinds of foods and suddenly turn into picky eaters around 13 months. Que the sad trombone – waa-waaaaa.
Luckily, I had started making these Sweet Potato, Kale and Black Bean patties when my son was about 10 months old. I make a batch of 8 patties and freeze them. Then when I need a quick dinner for my kid, I just reheat it for 30-60 seconds in the microwave! Bam, healthy, veggie packed dinner in no time flat. Bonus – my toddler LOVES these sweet potato black bean burgers! He eats them right up and hardly throws any of it on the floor 😆 – and I feel good knowing that he ate a good serving of vegetables and protein.
Because I developed this recipe for my young toddler, I don’t add any salt to them. It’s especially important for babies under 1 year old to have very little sodium, so when preparing food for my baby I try to add very little or no salt. But if you want to feed them to adults or older kids, you may prefer to add some salt. I like to serve these with some avocado and cheese for a nutrient packed, healthy lunch or dinner for my one year old.
If you are looking for more make ahead freezer recipes, check out my Make Ahead Meatballs!
Sweet potato, Kale and Black Bean Patties for Babies and Toddlers
- 1 large sweet potato, cooked 1.5-2 cups when cooked and mashed
- 1 cup kale torn and washed
- 1 egg
- 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
To Cook The Sweet Potato:
- (Preferred method) In the instant pot: Place sweet potato in instant pot on a trivet with one cup of water. Cook on manual, high pressure for 16 minutes. Remove skin.
- In the oven: poke holes in sweet potato, bake at 425°F for about 60 minutes or until tender. Remove skin.
- In the microwave: poke holes in the sweet potato. Microwave for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove skin.
To Steam The Kale:
- Place a steamer basket in a pot, fill pot with water just under the bottom of the steamer basket. Add kale to steamer basket and cover. Bring water to a boil, allow kale to steam for 5 minutes or until tender. When cool enough to handle, squeeze excess moisture out of kale.
Make The Sweet Potato Patties:
- Add kale and sweet potatoes to a food processor, blend kale is in tiny pieces and sweet potato is mashed.
- Add sweet potato/kale mixture to a large bowl with egg, bread crumbs, beans, and paprika. Stir until fully mixed. Form the mixture into 8 equal sized patties.
- Heat a large pan over medium/ medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.
- When the oil is hot, add 4 sweet potato patties to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack, repeat with the remaining patties. Patties can be served right away or frozen for later.
To Freeze The Sweet Potato Patties:
- Allow patties to completely cool before storing and freezing. Individually wrap each patty with plastic wrap, then store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, unwrap sweet potato patty and microwave for 30-60 seconds.
This recipe adapted from Sweet Phi
I made these with broccoli instead, because I didn’t have any spinach or kale. All I did was grate the tops off and throw it in the mixture. I also baked them at 350 for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, they turned out great!! And my 10 month old loved them!!!!
I have this 5 stars because I have tried it another way and it turned out perfect. For some reason mine were not holding together in the pan (too much moisture). I finely chopped the spinach, and mashed the sweet potato and spinach and black beans together with a fork, added the egg and then tossed in the Pablo. Once that was done I formed into balls and slightly patted them down onto a baking sheet and that worked better for me
So glad you like it! Thanks for sharing your tips!
These were great! I am going to make another batch to freeze next time for my little one. He is 10 months old and enjoyed this first experience with black bean patties. I served them with a creamy mixture of yogurt and mashed avocado. I didn’t have any kale and instead used spinach, and now that I think about it I forgot to steam it! Still came out great.
I’m so glad they were a hit!
Is there an alternative to oil for this?
Hi, the oil just helps them get browned and crisp up a bit. I have had readers bake them without oil and they seemed to like them!
I would like to attempt these in an air fryer. Any suggestions on how to do so.
Hi Alli – I haven’t tried them in the air fryer! I would spray the basket with cooking spray to make sure they don’t stick.
How would u do this with spinach from a bag?
Hi Christina – I would just sauté the spinach in a little water, then when it is wilted down, squeeze out the excess water. Then add to the recipe in place of the kale.
Would frozen spinach and pinto beans work in place of kale and black beans? I have these on hand and was just wondering!
Hi, yes that will work! You don’t need to cook the spinach, just thaw it out and be sure to squeeze out as much extra liquid as you can before adding it in.
My 9 month old loves these! Love that they make a big batch and freeze well. And so nutritious!
So happy to hear that!
Did you mash the black beans for the 9 month old baby?
Is it just me, or did these turn out 100% green, not orange. I substituted spinach instead of kale, but I would think kale would make them green too… I think the issue is in the step that says “Add kale and sweet potatoes to a food processor, blend kale is in tiny pieces and sweet potato is mashed.”. Food processing the greens with the potato will turn the mixture green. The picture for the recipe looks like the kale is in small flakes, not processed at the same time as the potato. Also I had trouble with them cooking through and not falling apart.
Hi, the spinach does blend into the mixture more than kale does. Kale is much tougher so it stays in bigger pieces. Spinach still works though! But you ae right, it will make them more green.
I made these for my one year old last night and he loved them! I used low sodium black beans and substituted the breadcrumbs for ground oats. I doubled the recipe (mainly because a can of black beans is just about two cups) and made 24 patties. I also baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping half way through. I packed them up and froze them, and will be so easy to take out and heat up as needed. Thank you for a simple and healthy recipe!
So glad to hear that!
How will be the process with frozen kale?
Thanks before hand 😊
Caitlyn Lee says
What can I use instead of egg?
The egg is a binder so they might not stay together without it. You could try more bread crumbs or a flax egg.
Ashley M Vasquez says
Great idea! My 8 month old really enjoyed it. It was soft and kind of fell apart but he still ate a bunch! Didn’t have kale so I substituted it for a bell pepper. I steamed it and peeled the skin off and blended the beans all together to make sure there were no choking hazards. Super yummy.
Ashley Matheson says
Just made these for my 8 month old! I made the patties a bit big. Like hamburger size. How should I serve them to her? As is or should I cut them?
Hi – it kind of depends on what your baby is able to grasp and their ability to chew/work food in their mouth. You could give them the whole patty but it is pretty soft so might fall apart. I would just watch carefully and see what works best for your baby.
Well-done Dear.. you are sharing amazing recipe with healthy ingredients. I will try it definitely…
Is it 1 cup of kale once it’s cooked or before?
Hi Jenny – it’s before cooking.
Does anyone know how I can bake these? Temp and time?
I baked mine for 15 mins at 400 degrees. I checked them half way and flipped. I subbed flax instead of egg and used ground oats in stead of panko though. They turned out great 🙂
Hello! How do I measure the Kale – Is it measured by just crumbling up the kale in a measuring cup prior to steaming the best I can? Or, what is the best method? I never know how to measure greens! ha
Hi, yes that is the best way to do it! I just pack it into a cup after chopping it but before cooking it.
Thanks for the recipe! Baby boy loves these. I’m on my 3rd batch though and I’m still having the same problem of them not binding well. They fall apart in the pan and never seem to cook up into a patty unless I burn them. When he eats them he’s mostly eating handfuls of mash instead of pincer bites. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Ashley – I’m not sure exactly what is going wrong but it sounds like there is too much moisture. It could be that the sweet potato is very large, or that there is still too much moisture in the kale when you add it. Be sure you are squeezing as much excess moisture out of the kale as possible before adding it. You can also try increasing the breadcrumbs (I would try increasing to 3/4 cups to start). Make sure your pan is on medium heat so the patties can cook slowly enough without burning. I hope that helps!
HI Ashley I had the exact same problem!
I increased the panko and it was slightly better.
I tried another batch but baked them in the oven (400F for 20 minutes – flipping halfway through) on an oiled pan (I used olive oil) and they were perfect!
When I tried frying them they would just fall apart in the pan leaving me quite frustrated lol smh. But these turned out glorious once I tried baking them as other people had commented.
Good luck! 🙂
Ashley (maybe it’s just an Ashley thing?? lol)
I made these once before with spinach and my baby girl loved them but I hate pan frying anything/everything. Do you think this would work in an air fryer?
Hi Jen – I haven’t tried it but it would probably work! I know some readers have baked them.
I made these in the air fryer last night for baby boy and they turned out great! It took a bit of trial and error, but I found that putting them in the air fryer at 350*F for 10 minutes, then flipping and doing another 10 minutes worked out well. I also drizzled the olive oil directly on top of the patty before putting it in the air fryer.
What is the substitute for breadcrumbs please?
Hi, I haven’t tried it without breadcrumbs. They bind the patties and help them stick together. I do think one reader left them out and said they still turned out fine.
Do you have to cook the black beans beforehand or just add them as they can be hard if not cooked.
Hi Misha – I use canned black beans which are already cooked. If you are using dry beans they definitely need to be cooked before hand, they will not cook in the patty.
Thales for such a great recipe. I made these for my baby and she loves them! I’ve been sharing the recipe with my mom tribe on the Peanut app in the Baby Led Weaning groups. Feel free to join us on the app just for moms!
Thanks again for such a yummy recipe!
So glad to hear you and baby loved them!
I have made many fritters for my babies and toddler and these are now my favorite. I don’t like kale so I grated a zucchini and let it sit in a colander, pressing a few times with paper towels to squeeze out as much water as I could. I also blended the beans because the mini Cuisinart was already out. Microwaved the sweet potato. They crisped nicely and tasted great (mommy trial version with salt and pepper added). I’m having a hard time not going back and eating more of the ones cooling on the plate for baby.
I’m so glad to hear that Daniele!
Can you use other beans? Why did you leave the beans whole?
Yes, you can use any other kind of beans. Leaving them whole was just how I did it, no reason. Feel free to mash them if you prefer.
These are a big hit with my 9 month old. She has been eating them for a few months as part of baby-led weaning. I love the convenience of being able to pull something out of the freezer whenever I need to round out her meal. It is especially helpful when we go to someone’s house for a meal. I can throw it in her bag and microwave it when we get there.
(P.S. My mother-in-law ate one when she was babysitting and asked for the recipe. She thought they were delicious.)
hi Larissa – yay, I am so happy to hear that! I loved that about them too!
J kim says
Hello – I only have bagged beans (goya), not canned. How should I prep the beans before adding to mixture? Thank you.
Hi J, they need to be fully cooked. You can cook them according to the package instructions. A can of beans is 15 ounces, so you can use 1.5 to two cups of the cooked beans in this recipe. Hope that helps!
Christine Cruz says
I tired making these tonight . Was I supposed to put the mixture in the fridge before making the patties? They didn’t stay bound together very well- it ended up being a big hash. But still smells good!
Hi Christine – No they shouldn’t need to be refrigerated before hand! This can happen if the patties are too wet, like if you used a larger sweet potato, or if there is too much moisture in the kale. If that happens again, just add more breadcrumbs, then they should stay together. Hope that helps!
Can these be oven baked & if so, at what temperature for how long?
Thanks, can’t wait to make these.
Hi Lauren – I haven’t tried baking them so I can’t be sure. I’m sure it would be fine, but I think pan frying them really adds to the flavor and texture because you get a nice crust on the outside. I do seem to recall one reader baked them and was happy with them.
My son is allergic to all beans, what can I replace it with?
Hi Aly, you can make these without the beans.
Can these be made without the egg. Baby is allergic!
The egg is a binder and helps them stay together. I haven’t tried it without the egg, but I have two suggestions – you could try just leaving the egg out and using more breadcrumbs. You could also try using a flax egg (search my site, I have a recipe for one). I haven’t tried either of these things so I can’t be sure how they work, but that would be where I would start!
They worked well with extra bread crumbs and no egg 🙂
Great! I’m so happy they worked!
Could I make this without the kale? I don’t have any kale or spinach.
Hi Brittany – Yes, I do that often!
Delicious! Turned out great. I used spinach instead of kale and I think I blended it too long, so it was a little more green than orange, but it still tasted great.
So glad you loved them Jen!
Do you think this would work with spinach over kale? Looks like a great recipe, can’t wait to try.
Hi Jen – Yes, I think that would be fine! Just remember that spinach will steam much faster than kale, and it will wilt down more. It will probably steam in 1-2 minutes I would guess?