Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Phyllo Cigars

Sweet Potato Phyllo Cigars

My time off, so far, isn’t spawning any brilliance or creativity. In fact, I am further behind now than I was while I was regularly blogging! If that isn’t bad enough, we lost an hour yesterday with Daylight Savings. There is no way I’m catching up with anything.

Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Roll-2

How is everyone doing? Is anyone having a leisurely time of it? Or are we all as hectic as each other in our respective routines? I have been working on some projects however, and once they get going I will tell you all about them. 

Sweet Potato Phyllo and Ground Beef Roll

One productive thing I have done the last few weeks, is finally getting some business cards printed! It only took 3 years but here they are; what do you think? I had my own photographs printed with all my essential information on the back. I love them so much that I don’t want to give any away!


In between my hectic weekdays, we do get a calm weekend and if it’s the weekend my husband is off, it’s incredibly relaxing! We just seem to lounge the day away. On one of these relaxing weekends when I wasn’t running around with my head chopped off, and had a bit of time, I made these Moroccan spiced and Harissa laced Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Phyllo Cigars for a lunch time snack.

Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Roll

I had cooked and mashed the potatoes a day before and also had leftover spiced ground beef from dinner, so these were put together quite quickly. Of course, if you’re not adept at tackling phyllo dough, it may take you longer. I find phyllo dough totally frustrating and so, usually buy the #10 thicker sheets. This time however, I had the #4 thinner sheets and yes, they drove me crazy.

Sweet Potato Phyllo and Ground Beef Rolls

When you’re finally biting into the crunchy, flaky pastry you forget the torment it caused you and relish the tasty morsels; enticingly exotic from the ras el hanout and deliciously spicy from the Harissa. I alway think that something creamy inside the crispy pastry is a great combination. The sweet potatoes add the perfect creaminess with the ground beef and the flaky pastry.

I haven’t included the rolling tutorial but if you need help, please check out my earlier posts on phyllo pastry: Kale, Feta and Potato Phyllo Rolls or Kunafah Rolls

Sweet Potato Phyllo Cigar

Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Phyllo Cigars

Serves: 24

Calories: 2677

Fat: 167g

Crisp phyllo pastry rolls filled with creamy sweet potatoes and spicy ground beef.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, medium chunks, boiled till tender
  • 1 tablespoon or to taste, Harissa paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • salt to taste
Spiced Ground Beef
  • 1 lb/455g lean ground beef/chicken
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoon ras el hanout spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
Phyllo Rolls
  • 12 sheets phyllo, cut in half
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  1. Mash the sweet potatoes until no big lumps exist.
  2. You want the mash to be fairly lump free and smooth.
  3. Add the Harissa paste, cumin, coriander and salt.
  4. Check the seasonings and adjust as desired.
  5. Add more Harissa if you'd like it more spicy.
Spiced Ground Beef
  1. In a large fry pan, heat the oil on medium and add the chopped onions.
  2. Cook until lightly browned and add the garlic and ras el hanout.
  3. When the garlic and spices are fragrant, add the ground beef or chicken,
  4. Cook until the ground meat is no longer pink and fairly dry.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Add the mint and cilantro.
Rolling The Phyllo
  1. Add the milk to the melted butter and keep aside.
  2. Unpack the phyllo sheets from the box and plastic wrap and lay on a tray and cover with a damp towel.
  3. Take a sheet of phyllo dough and lay on the counter or chopping board and carefully cut in half if not done already.
  4. Make sure the rest of the phyllo sheets are covered back up with the wet towel.
  5. Brush liberally with the melted butter and milk mixture.
  6. Lay a couple of teaspoons or so of mashed sweet potato and a teaspoon of ground meat in a log shape at one end of the phyllo sheet.
  7. Now, gently roll up the edges into an egg roll shape.
  8. Brushing with more butter and milk if needed to keep the roll moist and able to stick.
  9. Place on a baking sheet until you finish rolling the rest.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the sheets.
  11. Bake 12 rolls on a tray and space them apart.
  12. If you want to bake them immediately, preheat the oven to 375℉.
  13. Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
I chose to do North African spices, but these can be any spice you want. Try an Indian version or Middle Eastern.

Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Cigars

I hope there are signs of spring like weather where you are and it’s bringing you great inspiration and promise of sunnier days (though I like the not so sunny days) We’ve had some great days lately and this weekend was wonderful, albeit a little windy. Trace and I drove with a couple of the kids up by Longs Peak and Estes Park with hopes of maybe getting in a hike. It was so windy we couldn’t stand up straight! The weather was beautiful though with just the right amount of sun to make Lake Estes glimmer beautifully. The wind however, was having a blast blowing snow off the mountain tops.

Lake Estes and The RMNP

Estes park

Today, we’re expecting snow again, and my weather app says its 3 snowflakes worth…which I think means, it’s a lot 🙂

  1. I love these phyllo morsels though I feel your pain as far as the time & work involved. I once made samosas and trying to make a lighter version, I used phyllo instead of puff pastry like my friend did. It was a lot of work trying to shape those triangles and just working with the thin phyllo. Worth the effort…once in a while. I really like the sound of sweet potatoes & beef. And those recipe cards are really lovely.
    Monica recently posted..Unexplained cravings for a cinnamon rollMy Profile

    • Thank you, Monica! Phyllo is tricky but if you can find the slightly thicker sheets, they are much easier to handle. Good luck!

  2. I didn’t even know there were different thicknesses of filo pastry?! Perhaps they just don’t sell different types here. I don’t find it too bad to use… you just have to be careful. Once everything is safely encased and you can concentrate on rolling then it comes together well.

    These look positively lovely – best they have a gorgeous flavour and are just the right size that would make me keep reaching for the plate. If I was preparing them I’d probably end up eating 50% of them before I even served them! 😀
    Charles recently posted..Beetroot Muffins, a.k.a how to trick kids into eating vegetables!My Profile

    • Try the ME stores, Charles. At regular supermarkets they only send one kind and usually its the annoying thin sheets. I have a great market here that sells ME and Eastern European stuff so I can find the different sizes.

    • Thanks Lea Ann! I like your new logo and your new site. Looks very “clean” and organised 🙂

  3. I am terribly behind things too, drowning between assignments and book editing, plus the weather outside is so lovely, hard to concentrate. I like your business cards, I’ve did mine the same way, have you used moo to print them?

    • Thanks Gintare! Yes, I did use Moo. I’ve been looking at their site for months but never got around to doing my cards. They had the best deal and they can do so much with your photographs. Thanks for your comment!

    • It’s a date Abbe. Let me know when you’re back and let’s plan something. And Arash actually sells the different phyllo! You have to check the package, I’ll show you when we meet 🙂

    • Thank you Mireya! No, I had this company called Moo do them. They’re excellent and I recommend them!

  4. These look really delicious as do your photos. Have you got a new lens as they look much closer up than the pics you took before. I’ve been really busy, cooking and home stuff so I’ve got a bit behind on some of my commenting and social media. Time to catch up! Weathers looking up here, people were out in Tshirts and shorts – It’s March!!!! GG xx
    glamorous glutton recently posted..Sous Vide Supreme – Hints Tips And BBQ Flavour Lamb Shank BagelMy Profile

    • Hi GG! Thank you. No, I am using the same lens but lately I haven’t been putting it on a tripod. Hand holding it allows me to get closer but man, do my hand shake! It’s so hard to maintain this sucker sometimes, I don’t think people realise before they start one!

  5. Nazneen, This is my first time to your beautiful blog! Your photos are gorgeous! This recipe intrigues me, I am of Lebanese descent and these actually look like something my grandmother would have made! They look wonderfully delicious!

    • Thank you so much, Kathy and welcome! I have a great fondness for Lebanese people and food 🙂

    • Thanks Krista! They’re a bit messy though with the flakes! Good for projects outside like wood burning 🙂

  6. These looks so temtping and beautiful photography! We love any dish with sweet potato and working with phyllo dough has always been a good experience for me.. I would love to have this recipe tried sometime in my kitchen but with substituting beef…
    Deepti recently posted..Onion PakodaMy Profile

  7. Great looking business cards! And wonderful looking dish. I use phyllo dough occasionally, but it usually gives me a bit of trouble. Largely because I use it so seldom I’ve really never developed proficiency in handling it. Maybe I should make these lovely “cigars” every week until I master it? 😉 Really nice — thanks.
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..Irish Potato CandyMy Profile

    • Thank you, Taruna! It’s funny how you like the first photo, I submitted that one to food gawker and they rejected it! Apparently, its underexposed, hmmm. Let’s not get into what is accepted there, I swear it’s a new rule every time 🙂

  8. Love, love, love your new business cards what a great idea. I didn’t realise you could get different thicknesses of filo pastry though that’s a new one for me.
    These cigars are the sort of thing I’d order off a menu and hubbie would wish I made at home!
    nancy@jamjnr recently posted..Panfried parsnips and bamboo shootsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Nancy! I keep hearing that from many other bloggers about the different thicknesses. I think if you go to a run of the mill grocery store, you will find only one. Go to a ME store, or an Eastern European place, you will find a fridge full of phyllo pastry boxes, in different shapes and sizes.

  9. I love your new business cards Nanzeen. Live is crazy here as well. When ever I get one thing taken care of another 5 new urgent tasks need to be completed. I think your little cigars are perfect little easy nibbles for when life just is too busy. Enjoy your time off as that is what it is your time. Take a break from blogging to rest and you will feel refreshed and renewed. Take Care, BAM
    Bam’s Kitchen recently posted..Spicy Shrimp Salad with Cilantro Lime DressingMy Profile

    • Thanks Bobbi!, I think I’m done with my break 🙂 It’s hectic either way so I will just continue! I may scale back to one post a week though.

  10. Oh, Nazneen! I can so sympathize with your plight. I took the month of January off and have yet to catch up. Sometimes I think I should have just kept blogging. Hang in there. You’ll work out a schedule that will better suit you.
    I love the idea of these cigars. What a great snack, though I do appreciate the phyllo-related problems. It can be so frustrating but, once everything is made and your enjoying them, all is forgotten — until next time. Your business cards look great! Love the pictures you’ve chosen. Have a great week. 🙂
    ChgoJohn recently posted..This Pork Tenderloin is Plum TastyMy Profile

    • Thanks John! Yep, I know, I remember we discussed this in a FB conversation! I think there is no catching up, you just get on with it. Eventually, you get a break somewhere down the road :)Stick with it John. I for one love your visits and your recipes.

  11. I love the look of your cigars and they would be the perfect party appetiser. I’m sure Spring is just around the corner. I love your new business cards – they look great. You’ve reminded me that I need to order some for Hotly Spiced. I’ve also been blogging three years now and with now cards – hopeless! xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..A Family LunchMy Profile

    • Thanks Charlie! It’s one of those things that you mean to do but it never seems important until you’re telling someone about the blog and they ask you. Then you wish that you had just ordered them!! This time, I did it 🙂 I’m also picking up some catering jobs so I kinda needed them.

  12. I like anything phyllo … sweet, sour, salty, tangy almost anything stuffed in this heavenly dough I can chomp on it all day long 🙂 yours look so nice. Your photos are really so nice.

    • JAK, Amira! Yes, I love phyllo too, just hate working with it. Even having used it for years, it still annoys me endlessly!

    • Thank you Mary Frances! They do look a bit like Polaroids! I like how they turned out, but my next order I’ll try another look 🙂

    • Thanks Margherita! I hope you like them. You are getting to be an expert with phyllo dough so you’d have no problem rolling these up!

  13. Do you have ANY idea of how I am salivating right now? And I don’t even eat beef. These are gorgeous, and while your photography tips the other day were worth a million bucks, I still have miles to travel before I reach anywhere close to these gorgeous clicks you have achieved. Ahhhhsome!!
    Minnie@thelady8home recently posted..Chocolate Truffles #InaFridaysMy Profile

    • Replace the beef with chicken or mutton. The sweet potato is the major component. Thanks for the kind words :). Your photos on your last post were beautiful.

  14. Nazneen: These are the only cigars that I would happily try in my life… They look beyond delish! I loved your idea to print business card with appetizing pictures in the front and your info in the back…Definitely an intelligent way to spread the word and attract business. Success!!!!
    Denise Browning@From Brazil To You recently posted..Quick Feijoada SaladMy Profile

    • Thank you, Denise! They turned out really nice and I’m going to try an different look next order, still using my photos though 🙂

  15. Your business cards are so beautiful! I can easily see wanting to hoard them for yourself… And these cigars look like such a perfect treat. I don’t often work with phyllo, either, and until this post I never knew it came in different thicknesses! I think I have to get brave and try these on your recommendation. The use of sweet potatoes is inspired! Thanks for a beautiful post! And, by the way, I love your blue plate with the red swirls in it! Gorgeous.
    David recently posted..Fashionable FoodMy Profile

    • Thanks, David! The thing is, I do work with phyllo a lot! But every time I use it, I get totally frustrated. I remember the very first time I used it, I think I cried 🙂 The different thicknesses of phyllo can only be found in specialised ME or Eastern European stores. I’ve never seen them in regular shops.Thank goodness they exist, since the country style thicker phyllo is so much easier to use 🙂

  16. Nazneen – your photos are MARVELOUS! WOW!
    And these “cigars” sound so good! Not to mention look absolutely delish!
    Those snow covered mountains make me shiver – we had a couple of nice mid 70 degree days here in Georgia, but today I heard the weather is gonna be cold again – I cannot wait for spring! The first full week of 70 degree weather, I am gonna have to “roll” me some of these “cigars” 🙂
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com recently posted..Spinach & Cheese PancakesMy Profile

    • Thank you Shashi, you are very kind 🙂 Yes, springtime can be quite an erratic season; cold and hot all in one day sometimes. But I like it like that 🙂

  17. Oh, Nazneen … these are just gorgeous! Beautiful photos!!! I sure can’t tell by looking that you had a big-time wrestling match with the phyllo – it looks like it just fell happily right into shape! I can only imagine how wonderful these must taste, with the ground beef playing off the sweet potatoes and mingling with all those lovely spices – just delicious! Love the pics of the mountains, too – although we’ve got snow aplenty here in Ohio, we surely don’t have peaks like that to show it off! Stay warm, friend … spring has GOT to be near! 😀
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens recently posted..Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!)My Profile

    • Thank you so much Shelley! I have no problem working with phyllo, I know the trick now but still, it can be so frustrating! I remember driving through Ohio one winter, I’ll never forget my temp gauge on the car it read -6. By the time it was 9am, we had gone up all the way to -2 :), and at that time we lived in Texas so it was a shack to our system. My sister lives in Columbus and we had the chance to visit her a couple years ago. I like Ohio, its like Texas but colder and hillier. I love Colorado and purely for the landscape, the Rockies are amazing.

  18. Salaam Nazneen!
    Try not to get down too hard on yourself. I can understand feeling like you haven’t gotten anything done and that you’re so behind (hellloooo motherhood LOL!). Honestly, it’s been a productive day if you can even can 1 thing checked off of your to-do list.
    These sigaras look amazing! Have you tried using Yufka pastry? It’s much easier to handle than phyllo.

    • wasalam Henna! Thank you for the lovely comment!I have used yufka but I didn’t like that it has to be fried. I baked it like phyllo but I didn’t like how the rolls turned out. Yufka is better fried, and I hate frying 🙂

  19. Sweet potato and beef are such a gorgeous combination with the addition of warm spices. I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with phyllo but I still prefer puff pastry. Your cigars have held their shape perfectly which is not always the case with me. These would be huge crowd pleasers.
    We are inching towards winter and I don’t look forward to it. But I love the snow capped mountains in your pictures. And the business cards are fabulous…I wouldn’t want to give them away either:-)
    Sugar et al recently posted..Irish Cream Layered PavlovaMy Profile

    • Puff pastry and phyllo are great in their own right. Phyllo has no butter content and it’s flakiness is different to puff pastry. I like them both. Many ME desserts are made with the phyllo kind so I think I actually use phyllo more than puff. Lower on calorie too 🙂

  20. Dear Nazneen, I love working with phyllo dough – it took me a while to find really good one that I can work with but now that I have, I like to try out different recipes with it and your potato and ground beef cigars look perfect for our family. We really enjoy sweet potatoes and ground beef is always a winner at our house too. And I love making exactly these kinds of “snack-type foods” – thanks for sharing this recipe and your amazing pictures!
    Hope you are enjoying your “time off” and taking really good care of yourself – looking at your landscape pictures I should tell you that we had a summerlike week, 20 degress Celsius warm and people are sitting outside sipping their coffees – way too warm for this time of year but enjoyable nonetheless.
    All the best – by the way, your busines cards are very pretty! I would like one, please!
    TheKitchenLioness recently posted..FFwD – Two Tartines from La Croix-RougeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Andrea my dear. I can’t believe you like woking with phyllo! I rather just eat than work with it 🙂 I use it a lot too but it annoys me every time 🙂