To us, cinnamon rolls are one of those comfort foods. Every Christmas morning the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls would fill the house and in no time we’d be licking the pan clean. So, when the holidays roll around we can’t help but be in the mood for that sweet, cinnamon flavor.
Moods like this lead to experimenting in the kitchen, which is what ensued this past holiday season. Experimenting in the kitchen leads to trial and error and – sometimes – a tasty creation. Luckily, this was the case for these cinnamon rolls filled with sweet potato.
Traditional cinnamon rolls are made with white flour, sugar and butter. These all very much fall in the “non health-promoting” category. 100% whole wheat flour is an easy swap for the white flour. Pure maple syrup replaces the sugar, but not a lot is needed due to the flavor provided by the sweet potato, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Finally, the pureed sweet potato offers a nice creamy goo on the inside. These simple replacements take a typically nutrient-void treat and transform it into a nutrient-packed one!
Feel free to adjust the maple syrup based on your sweetness preference. The dough and filling maple syrup are critical, but drizzling it over the rolls at the end is optional. This offers sweetness and that sticky bun feel, but we enjoy them both with and without this final drizzle.
Sweet potatoes – the star of these rolls – are loaded with nutrients, are budget-friendly, flavorful and they will store in a cool, dry place for weeks. For these reasons, they’re a staple in our kitchens and recipes. We most often use them for savory dishes, but they also shine in sweet dishes. Check out our Sweet-Sweet Potatoes (great for breakfast!) and Loaded Sweet Potato Fries.
We used this food Processor to make the filling (Note this is an affiliate link).
Plant-Based Cinnamon Rolls with a Sweet Potato Filling
- Food Processor
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 cup warm water 105-100 degrees F
- 5 T pure maple syrup, divided
- 1 packet active dry yeast 1/4 oz
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Wash sweet potato and cut in quarters. Add to a medium sauce pan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce temperature to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until sweet potato can easily be poked with a fork. Set aside to let potato and water cool.
- Place 1 cup of warm water and 1 T maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a dough hook. Stir until syrup dissolves. Add active dry yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add whole wheat flour and salt to yeast mixture. Making sure mixer is locked in place, mix using hook for 2 minutes, or until flour is fully incorporated. Remove bowl from stand, drape a clean towel over top of bowl and set aside to let rise for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Add cooked sweet potato (including skin), 1 T of cooking water, 2 T maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon to a food processor. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. If needed, add additional cooking water, 1 T at a time.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper.
- Remove dough from bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick (my rectangle is about 12x18 inches). Spread sweet potato filling evenly over the dough. Starting from the long edge, roll dough into a log. Using a piece of thread, slice log into 1 inch rolls. Transfer rolls to parchment lined pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with the remaining 2 T maple syrup. Enjoy warm.
*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We use the products and ingredients that we link to and recommend them because we believe they are the best choice for you.