Crispy Purple Yam Tots and a breakfast salad bowl?


I’ve been a proponent for salads as breakfast fare and was craving one lately. While watching Trisha Yearwood making Garth’s breakfast bowl on her Food Network show Trisha’s Southern Cooking, I suddenly had a craving for a breakfast bowl too. So, that lightbulb thought sparked in my head to combine the two cravings into a breakfast salad bowl with tots, of course. This time crispy purple yam tots for a nod to my Filipino roots. Why would you want salad for breakfast? Try this recipe, tweaking this to your taste if you like, and see for yourself. 😀


Purple yam/ube (Dioscorea alata) is common in many Asian cuisines. I grew up eating it in desserts and other sweet applications, but my mom is such a fan that she even puts it in savory dishes such as pinakbet, a vegetable stew similar to the French ratatouille. The taste of this yam is similar to the familiar orange-fleshed yam and lighter colored sweet potato. My mom uses them interchangeably and for Thanksgiving she makes candied yams using both, a colorful purple and orange side dish to the turkey.


For the tots, I used Cook’s Country‘s recipe as a guide. Instead of a food processor, I manually grated the ube using the small grate side and squeezing some lemon juice to prevent oxidation and darkening. I think that a food processor would be much better and produce a lighter-textured tot that you get with the potato version. Yams tend to be dense compared to white potatoes, but if you like yams or sweet potatoes, it’s not a problem in this recipe. The ube is partially cooked using the microwave and then the flour and seasonings are added.


Here is the mix after cooking and the other ingredients added. It is ready to be finished shaping and either baked or fried. Either cooking method makes tasty crispy tots. Your choice. You could also choose to bread them to turn them into croquettes. Just moisten with water and roll in breadcrumbs (with some grated parmesan if you want!) or even crushed French-fried onions. How purple! I would bring cooked ube to school for lunch and the other kids thought I was eating purple play doh. Whatever, I still like ube! LOL 😀


Fried ube tots on the left and baked ube tots/croquettes on the right. The color is funny and a bit weird, but you get used to them because the taste is so similar to sweet potatoes or yams. I like the purple color.


Gobble them up with a favorite condiment such as spicy ketchup or in a breakfast bowl!


If you make the tots ahead of time (overnight or a couple of days before, stored in a container in the fridge) and crisp them up in the oven or toaster oven, this breakfast salad bowl is easy to prepare, which helps out on those busy mornings. Just toss the purple yam tots with shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, diced onions, shredded cheese (I used raw milk gruyere), some seasonings, squeeze of lemon juice (or lime juice), and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. For the seasonings I used salt, pepper, chili flakes, and parsley. Mix all those together for a refreshing, yet filling breakfast. Add some meat if you like or nix the cheese. Really yummy with salsa and chopped avocado too. Beats cereal any day, for me at least. I get hungry hours before lunch when I eat sweet or bread-y breakfast foods. So I prefer savory breakfasts that allow me to pile on the hot sauce 🙂


While making the breakfast salad bowl, my dad made some bacon. It is good in moderation. In fact, Dr. K, an osteopathic doctor (a superb one) that I know who specializes in holistic and alternative medicine (national and international lecturer too!) suggests fat as a nutritious breakfast component in addition to protein, fiber, as well as minerals and antioxidants. Thus, I don’t hesitate to have a piece of good quality bacon. We don’t skimp on bacon quality. Protein and fat–good for breakfasts. Yay for bacon, a nice companion to tots!


Purple Yam (Ube) Tots

adapted from Cook’s Country

~ 4 dozen tots


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 and a 1/2 pounds purple yam (ube), peeled and cut into 1 and a 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular gluten-containing unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)
  • For croquette topping:  breadcrumbs (with or without added grated parmesan), crushed corn flakes (or other not too sweet cereal), crushed crackers, or crushed French fried onions
  1. Whisk together the water and salt. Place half of this water mixture in a food processor with half of the ube. Pulse 10-12 times until coarsely ground. Place in fine mesh strainer to drain. Repeat with remaining water mixture and ube, then place in the strainer. Using a rubber spatula or your hand, press out about 1.5 cups liquid, discard.
  2. Place the drained potatoes in a microwave-save container, preferably a glass bowl. Microwave for 8-10 minutes, uncovered. Stir halfway between the microwave time or as needed. The ube will dry out a bit and become sticky. Let cool for about 10 minutes
  3. Mix and combine the flour, pepper and parmesan with the ube. Spread this tot mixture on a foil or parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze for about 30 minutes.
  4. Cut into square/rectangular shapes or form into cylinders. Can turn them into croquettes by moistening with water and rolling in bread crumbs, crushed French-fried onion or other toppings.
  5. For baked version:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place the tots on a greased wire rack over a sheet pan. Bake for 20-35 or until crispy and browned. Turn half way  into baking time or as needed.
  6. For deep fried version:  Heat oil to 375 degrees F.  Fry 6-7 minutes until crispy and browned.
  7. Serve with ketchup, as a breakfast bowl, in a casserole, salad, or any way you want!


This breakfast salad bowl fills me up to tackle the day and keeps the hunger pangs at bay until it actually is time for lunch. It’s a breakfast that makes me feel good–inside and out, which is excellent when you have a big day or special occasion and you have to dress up fancy. Good mood food that makes you feel slim, LOL. If it were up to me, breakfast salads would be the new it thing, along with recent and seemingly crazed rise to fame of kale, green smoothies, and quinoa.


22 thoughts on “Crispy Purple Yam Tots and a breakfast salad bowl?

  1. well, I never! This is bizarre, Sam, and I LOVE it. Homemade sweet potato tots on a salad for breakfast. Wow. You eat some amazing and delicious food. Your stories are always good, too.Dad looks like he knows what he’s doing with that bacon 🙂

    and p.s.–fun to see you at foodforfun’s Happy Hour. Thanks for coming!

  2. Yessss Samantha Ube is amazing! (I’m over the moon for Ube ice cream and the ube shakes at jollibee). And I especially love tots. What an awesome combination 🙂

  3. I just saw Cook’s Country this past Saturday when they made potato tots. I have to say that yours look so much prettier and yummier!! A salad breakfast is a great idea, one I had never thought of. Thanks Samantha!

    • Aw thanks 🙂 I prefer the cylindrical shape over the rectangular or square ones on the Cook’s Country original recipe. Salad breakfast–I wonder if it will ever catch on. 😀

    • LOL, thank you. I was visiting my parents and they didn’t have a food processor so I had to use a grater. I think that a food processor would make it lighter in texture and the grated one a bit dense. So I would prefer the food processor.

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