This vegan sweet potato casserole is practically a dessert rather than side dish, with a delicious topping of candied pecans on top.
I’m going to be honest with you and admit that I’m not a big fan of holidays. Stressing over some arbitrary date on the calendar–to cook certain foods, travel long distances, buy token gifts, and so on–has never been my idea of fun.
For a long time, I felt the same way about the traditional holiday meals, too. Every year when I was growing up, I’d beg my mother, “Why do we have to have turkey? Can’t we have spaghetti instead?” I wasn’t a vegetarian back then, just a budding iconoclast who never did care for traditions–or turkey. (Today, I get the same argument from E., though she’s arguing to substitute lasagna for dressing. I’m sure my mother is happy to see me get a dose of my own rebellion.)
Something strange happened, and as I became older, I developed a real love for some of the traditional dishes of the winter holidays. Maybe without the dead bird as centerpiece, I finally felt free to celebrate the holidays as a sort of Festival of Starches. Let’s face it, what’s not to love? To a carb addict like me, cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are pretty close to the perfect meal!
This vegan sweet potato casserole is one of the highlights of any holiday meal for me. A word of caution, though: In my family, sweet potatoes are dessert, so if you’re expecting a savory side dish, look elsewhere. I always serve this after the meal, along with some coffee to fight off the post-feast sleepiness!
Though my family’s original recipe includes vegan margarine, it may be omitted from the sweet potatoes and replaced with apple sauce in the topping. In this less decadent version, the pecans still contribute a significant amount of fat.
More Vegan Holiday Desserts
For more delicious vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts (because that is what this sweet potato casserole is!), please see my round-up of Favorite Christmas Desserts. For more savory dishes, check out all my Thanksgiving recipes.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping
- 4 large sweet potatoes cooked (I used a pressure cooker) and peeled
- 2 tablespoons vegan margarine (Optional)
- 1/4 cup soy creamer or non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup vegan margarine (replacing with apple sauce may work for a low-fat version)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/3 cup unbleached white flour
- 3/4 cups chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray or quickly wipe with oil (omit if you don't mind the casserole sticking to the sides of the dish.)
- Mash the sweet potatoes (with the margarine, if you’re using it) until smooth. Add the soy creamer, orange juice, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
- Mix the topping ingredients together until well-combined. Spread or sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 45 minutes or until hot throughout.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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