Sweet Potato Casserole

If there's one thing required at Thanksgiving, it's a heated discussion about politics. And if there's a second thing, it's sweet potatoes. I can't imagine a Thanksgiving table without some sort of sweet potatoes. Or an argument about culture wars, Russia and her emails. Sorry, I still have PTSD from last Thanksgiving. 

If you want to skip my Thanksgiving ramblings, check out the recipe video on Youtube. 

In my more youthful days, I used to make and scarf down the traditional sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top. I suppose I did it because that was "traditional" or whatever, but then I realized that I don't actually like marshmallows and that putting them on top of sweet potatoes was like drizzling maple syrup and chocolate syrup over spaghetti

Like most things in America, this "tradition" of making sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping has its origins in capitalism. In 1917, the Cracker Jack company published a booklet of recipes, including one for sweet potato marshmallow casserole, to encourage Americans to cook with marshmallows. Mind you, this was during World War I, when the federal government was using propaganda to encourage moderate food consumption, but apparently marshmallows were too tasty to be moderated. 

[I hope you enjoyed that brief historical detour and are ready to get back to sweet potatoes! If you need another detour, please go watch my video recipe for this casserole]. 

Rather than marshmallows (which are traditionally made with gelatin, i.e., the collagen from animals' skin and bones), I like to top my casserole with a crunchy crumbly mixture made of delicious and natural ingredients like nuts, oats, and maple syrup.  

This recipe is one of the most simple ideas you can make for Thanksgiving, which is perfect because, if you're anything like me, you'll be running around like a madwoman on Thanksgiving. All you have to do is boil sweet potatoes and mash them up, top them with the crumbly mixture, and bake away. Oh, and in addition to being vegan, it's also gluten-free, if that's your thing. 

I hope you give it a try this holiday!  

Sweet Potato Casserole

Vegan, Gluten-Free

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (can substitute solid coconut oil) 
  • ¼ cup canned coconut cream, refrigerated overnight 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Scant 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper 

Crumble Topping

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts + pecans 
  • ½ cup almond meal or flour 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or vegan butter) 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 2 quart or 9x9 in casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks and place in a large saucepan. Add cold water and bring to a boil, then gently boil for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes.
  3. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, break up the potatoes and begin to mash them. Add in the vegan butter and coconut cream and mix until smooth. 
  4. Add in the vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix until all ingredients are incorporated and potatoes are creamy and smooth. Evenly spread the mashed sweet potatoes into the prepared casserole dish. 
  5. To prepare the crumble topping, mix together in a small bowl the oats, walnuts, pecans almond meal, brown sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then pour in the wet melted coconut oil and maple syrup and fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon. 
  6. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the mashed sweet potatoes. You'll likely have some leftover crumble. Store it in airtight container and enjoy as a granola. 
  7. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the sweet potato mixture starts to pull away from the edges of the pan and the topping is golden brown. Let the casserole to cool and solidify a little bit before serving.