Warmly-spiced vegan sweet potato pie with grain-free pie crust. A healthful plaeo-friendly holiday dessert.
Thanksgiving week, friends. How the heck are you? I’m curious to know what condition you’re in. Strong? Surly? Stressed? Psyched? Some other state of being I don’t even know about, or doesn’t begin with an S (slash S sound)? I hope that wherever you stand – positive, negative, or indifferent – you find nourishment in the holidays in every sense of the word.
Can you tell I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately? It’s true, hot yoga is one of my small miracles when it comes to relieving stress in general, and I find it particularly therapeutic during the holidays. Sweating out those toxins? Raising your heart rate, focusing on breathing, and getting the blood flowing to all the right places? It’s number one in my holiday survival kit. Booze is number two in case you were wondering. Number three? Let’s keep this PG.
Truthfully, I’m no guru of holiday survival, but when it comes to just getting through, my mantra is to remember where you stand during all the hubbub and not get caught up in someone else’s (or society’s) vision on how your resources (time, money, energy) should be spent. Even if your vision of a nourishing holiday looks like eating a whole pie to your onesie. No shame. No judgement. No crumb left behind.
For my root-loving mind-body-soul trifecta, sweet potato pie is one of the most comforting desserts this time of year. Plus, when made homemade with replacements for the traditional butter, cream, and sugar, it can also be healthful. Hence the reason I wouldn’t stop you from eating a good portion of the pie to yourself. On the grand scheme of things, it may just be one of the smartest things you’ve done in months. Especially if you’re planning on running a marathon the day after Thanksgiving, because ohhh momma, this is fuel.
Removing the eggs and dairy from a pumpkin or sweet potato pie to make it vegan is just the easiest thing. All we do is replace the eggs with a starch, like tapioca flour, and substitute full-fat coconut milk for the cream. The result is the same thick and smooth texture – I guarantee even the most discerning of pie aficionados won’t miss the eggs. If you have no interest in acquiring tapioca flour, never fear: you can use cornstarch – it will do the trick just as well, it’s just not my top choice when it comes to baking starches.
I use pure maple syrup to sweeten this treat naturally and give it a nice fall-like flavor. The crust? Made from coconut flour, red palm oil (you can use coconut oil, too), and more pure maple syrup. If you’re more of a nut crust kind of human, you can prepare the almond crust from my No-Bake Vegan Banana Cream Pie recipe or the walnut crust from my Paleo Pumpkin Pie post. Or, if you prefer almond flour, make the almond flour crust from the Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe I showed you a few weeks ago.
Essentially, we’ve got crust options.
Moving right along.
I chai spiced the crap out of this sweet potato, because I love all-things cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves. For those of you who prefer a less spicy experience, feel free to scale the spices way down, or even omit some of them. Just be sure to serve the pie with homemade coconut milk whipped cream to land the deal on the whole shebang.
Tips to keep in mind when preparing this recipe:
- My biggest piece of advice when preparing this pie well in advance of your Thanksgiving feast – I’d advise at least 1 day before, if not 3 days ahead of time. The longer it sits, the tastier it gets. Plus, you’ll want to serve it chilled for maximum flavor, so be sure to do some planning in advance for this beauty.
- For the silkiest, smoothest sweet potato pie, peel the skin and the first layer of flesh off of the sweet potato once it has finished cooking. If cut a cooked sweet potato in half and look at the round cut, you’ll notice a thin layer of skin and a thicker layer of flesh just underneath the skin. When you go to peel the potato using your fingers, you’ll notice this layer around the skin will want to peel off too. It’s a small detail, but getting rid of it will ensure you end up with the smoothest sweet potato pie ever!
- Sweet potatoes take quite a while to roast in the oven, so the quickest way to cook it is to boil it (or steam it) in a pot. You can cook the potato up to 2 days ahead of time if you’re preparing this recipe in steps.
- Rather than using cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves, you can use store-bought Chai Spice to replace all of those spices. Start with 1-1/2 teaspoons of chai spice, taste the sweet potato mixture, and add more to taste.
- Feel free to cut down on the amount of pure maple syrup for a less sweet pie.
- You can use agave, coconut nectar, or honey to replace the pure maple syrup. Note that if you use honey, you’ll want to keep a close watch on the pie, as it burns at a lower temperature than other liquid sweeteners.
Side note to my regular readers: I’ll be posting another Thanksgiving-oriented recipe on Wednesday in case you’re scrambling for more last-minute ideas. Be sure to check out my 20 Healthy Holiday Side Dishes for inspiration on your savory recipes, and hit up my desserts section for all your carb-load needs.
And now…not yo momma’s sweet potato pie!