Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

Some like it hot.

My food as a child

I like it really hot.

Spicy often means a craving Mexican food.  Most people think of Mexican as being unhealthy, but it’s actually one of the easiest cuisines to lighten up.  Latin cooking is derives flavors from spices and herbs more so than fats.  A little cumin, peppers, and cilantro can go a long way!

Ideas for ordering at Mexican restaurants

  • Tell your server not to bring chips so the temptation isn’t even on the table
  • Chicken or veggie fajitas, soft tacos, grilled shrimp or chicken, and ceviche are usually safe bets
  • Ask them to go light on the oil and salt
  • Choose soft tacos over chips, hard tacos, or rice; also request corn tortillas if available
  • Use salsa rather than cheese or sour cream to add flavor
  • Order black or pinto beans rather than refried
  • If you must have a margarita (and you know I must), order it with fresh lime juice instead of the sugar-y, processed sour mix

In keeping with my Kitchen Workout guidelines, I decided to satisfy my Mexican craving at home rather than go out to eat.

Spicy tomato sauce and sweet potatoes will forever be a favorite combination.  Those flavors were in my head all day as I thought about how I would attack dinner.

Adding spices is a quick and easy way to make a meal something special   One of my “secrets” to a good tomato sauce is adding a bit of cinnamon.  It lifts the flavors and gives the illusion of a hunt of sweetness.

While this ingredient list may look long, it comes together very quickly.  Make substitutions based on your preferences and what you have on hand.  Just be sure to add small amounts at a time and taste as you go!

This dish makes 6 servings.  I ate 4 over the course of the week and froze the remaining two to take to work.  They have been perfect as homemade frozen lunches.

To make this vegetarian/vegan, use tempeh or TVP in place of the ground chicken.


Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 T dried cilantro
  • 1 T garlic powder
  •  1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 C chopped red pepper
  • 2/3 C chopped baby bellas
  • 2 C diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 C spinach leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown the chicken in a pot with onion and spices.

When chicken is cooked, add peppers, mushrooms, tomato sauce, and water.  Let simmer for 10 mins.

While that mixture is simmering, peel and thinly slice the sweet potato.

Grease a 9×9 baking pan with olive oil.  Layer a quarter of the meat sauce, followed by a layer of sweet potato slices, zucchini slices, and then spinach.  Repeat until you’re out of ingredients, making sure to leave enough sauce to top the dish.

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 mins.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15 mins.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 6 servings.


Writing this made me want a margarita.  Doh.

Do you have any secrets for eating healthy at restaurants?

Do you like food with a little heat?  I find I want it even more in the winter months.


  1. says

    Just saved this recipe.. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    && as much as I agree with you on #1 for your tips.. I can’t ever get myself to pass up chips & salsa @ a mexican restaurant. I mean isn’t that one of the main reasons why you go there?? Ha Ha

  2. says

    Definitely intrigued by this recipe! Sweet potatoes and Mexican? Sounds awesome.

    I’m definitely a spicy-food lover. I’m the person who adds jalapenos to everything, and anytime I’ve had chicken wings in the last couple of years, I go for spicy/suicide.

  3. says

    This looks really good.

    The chips and salsa kill me at Mexican restaurants. I really just like the salsa and the chips are a vehicle for getting it into my mouth. I wish it was acceptable to eat it with a spoon!

  4. Christy says

    Ohhh snap! This is the one I’ve been waiting for :) I love pretty much everything about this recipe, and I CAN’T wait to try it. I think I might add a handful of cilantro for serving; I can’t get enough of that stuff. Nomnomnom.

    If I’m eating Mexican out, honestly, I don’t try to make it healthy. I so rarely have it that I feel okay indulging. Or maybe that’s my way of justifying it in my head :)

    Thanks for the great idea!

  5. says

    Why are you a culinary genius? #youmakemeinsecure #allicandoisusemyfoodprocessor

    YES to cinnamon in tomato-based sauces or soups. I have actually started using allspice instead. You should try that, too. :)

    Another trick for eating out at Mexican restaurants? Eat salsa with a spoon instead of chips, or just pick at the chiplets at the bottom of the basket. They are the best part anyway. (Unless you are watching your sodium levels…like you might be…and then I am sad for you.)

    • Laura says

      Sarah, your hash tags make my day. #hashtaghero

      And YES to the chiplets. I love the crunchies at the bottom. Speaking of… I have an almost-empty cereal box that needs my attention…

  6. says

    I have a spiced tomateo jam and one GIANT sweet potato in my fridge. I know what I’m have for dinner tonight. Along with spicy black beans. thanks girl!

    I usually follow all your mexican guidelines for eating out – esp veggies with salsa/guac. but the fresh lime juice in margarita is a great call!

    At Indian restaurants I try to go for the non-cream sauce dishes. And stick with dals and masalas cooked in tomato sauce.
    And I usually stand by pick either bread basket or dessert – not both.

  7. says

    I love spicy food and this looks amazing! I always am lightening up mexican dishes and totally agree that it’s pretty easy to make it all pretty healthy! Can’t wait to try out this recipe.

  8. says

    I’m the biggest wimp when it comes to hot food, but I absolutely LOVE Mexican… which kind of becomes a problem 😉 And why have I never thought of adding cinnamon to tomato-based sauces? Love the stuff, and always looking for legit ways to get more in – definitely going to try it out!

  9. says

    Awesome. Just awesome.

    Eating clean at restaurants: I always scope out the menu before hand – depending on the program I’m following, I’ll either special order my meals or ask for little adjustments here and there. It’s funny because typically they think I have an allergy or something lol

    • Laura says

      That’s a great tip… and I usually just let them think I have allergies so they actually follow my modifications. 😉

  10. says

    I love the tip about lime juice in a margarita- you’re genius. And I’m adding this to my menu plan for next week. I can’t get enough sweet potatoes (or Mexican food) lately. Can’t wait!

  11. says

    Oh my gosh, I’m actually dying to make this recipe! It looks so amazing! Good thing I just picked up some ground turkey! And I love spicy foods too, how delicious!

  12. says

    this sounds phenomenal… I love the flavors! Jason adds cinnamon to chili, so so good.

    and yes. there will always be margaritas. but I like them fresh, that mix is GAAH.

  13. says

    Holy smokes- seriously I would pay you to come make this for me. Yum yum yum! Dang you and all your marvelous recipes I get sucked into reading late at night. LOL. Hope you are well lady!!!

  14. says

    Yesss..you know I’ve been waiting for this recipe for a while! Love that they’re all ingredients I have on hand- can’t wait to try it! I am a server’s worst nightmare: grilled veggies instead of fries, dressing on the side, extra veggie add-ins…I hope my tipping makes up for it ;)!

  15. says

    Yum, this looks delicious! Thanks for the tips about eating out at Mexican restaurants. I’m always hesitant to say yes when my friends want to grab mexican because I know I’ll crave something but end up ordering a boring salad while I get jealous of the tacos and burritos they’re eating, but these are good ideas. Definitely asking for fresh lime juice next time I order a margarita, I bet it makes it taste a hundred times better too!

  16. says

    I love a little or a lot of spice in my food, and this sweet potato lasagne looks really good and easy enough. Lots of spices, but like you said, it’s a good thing. I’ll, of course, add cheese, but skip the chicken so it almost evens out. The only reason I gave up meat was to allow my cheese addiction to thrive. Of course, I’m super conscious of where my cheese comes from but it’s my true love so I couldn’t neglect it entirely.

  17. says

    So true! Mexican food isn’t unhealthy on it’s own…it’s just the American way to bury it in a pile of cheese! I absolutely hate going to a Mexican restaurant and trying to find a dish that is NOT covered in “cheese sauce”…I mean, I’m not gonna lie, it’s some pretty tasty shiz, but seriously? Do we have to put it on 80% of the frickin’ menu?! I pretty much always order fajitas or fish/shrimp tacos whenever I go out…but they’re still not as good as mine! 😉 And I absolutely love you for introducing me to the fresh lime juice margarita…my world has forever been changed since Cinco de Mayo!

    Now onto this recipe…

    Holy mother of deliciousness! That is one GORGEOUS pie m’dear! I really need to try more savory flavors with my sweet potatoes but I almost always go the sweet route (they’re just too damn good with nut butter and cottage cheese!). And I’m finally coming around to the heat…I had some Cholula on my eggs for lunch yesterday and totally thought of you!

    • Laura says

      I am the same way with sweet potatoes… but they really are good with the savory and heat. Sweet _ spicy, ftw. SO glad you are coming over to the chllula dark side. :)

  18. Katherine Stevens says

    As the new mom who was the lucky recipient of this tasty dish I can say that it hit the spot and was the perfect meal for leftovers! It was a wonderful break from the boring soup and sandwich that I had been making for myself and the best part was getting to visit with my good friend when she brought it over!

    • Laura says

      Thank you so much Katherine!!! Can’t wait to see you again soon. You look amazing and your son is adorable!


  1. […] I ran my sprints like a good kid.  Then I put a Mexican Sweet Potato Pie in the oven to bake.  It only made me wish I made a second one for myself.  This was to take to a […]

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