Sweet Potato Casserole
Nov 23, 2016 | by Lisa Reynoso
Sweet potato casserole is one of those dessert-like entrees that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and full of holiday cheer. But it’s fully of dairy… what’s a plant-based person supposed to do? Make this healthier version! Of course, this is not a low-calorie food; it’s not something you would want to eat every day. But if you’re looking for something to impress your carnivore relatives that eating plant based is nothing like eating cardboard, this recipe is sure to impress! Great for dessert in a pinch, too!
2 to 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 to 5 medium)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or whole milk or cream)
2 to 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup chopped walnuts or more
¼ cup brown sugar (optional)
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a sharp knife. Place them on the baking sheet and roast until tender and a knife easily pricks through, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Set aside to cool until cool enough to handle. Halve the potatoes lengthwise, scoop of the flesh, and mash the flesh in a large bowl with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla, a few dashes of cinnamon, and a generous pinch of salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
4. Add the warmed milk mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, into the potatoes, and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth and fluffy. (You may not use all of the milk mixture.)
5. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more sugar, cinnamon, or salt as needed. Garnish with chopped walnuts mixed with brown sugar, if using. Serve immediately (if you can–it’s also good at room temperature).
Chef’s note 1: Sweet potatoes can be baked without piercing–they will make less of a mess in the oven if you do. I also usually bake them on the rack at 400, but you can experiment with different methods. The goal is to have nice, soft, easily-mashable sweet potatoes to start the recipe. Putting aluminum foil under the potatoes does help with keeping the mess at a minimum. If you did not pierce them before baking, they will drip less; once they start to drip, they are usually done, but check first. The biggest ones tend to be firm in the middle even after they start dripping.
Chef’s note 2: Allergy ideas: My son is allergic to coconut, so I made an almond cream by blending almonds in water with a 1:2 ratio, then straining out with a muslin cloth (cheesecloth is too porous, creating a fiber-filled cream). If soy isn’t an issue, you could use soy cream. He is also allergic to walnuts, so I made a vegan marshmallow cream to put on half of the casserole. Be creative! This recipe is very forgiving.