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!
Chai-Spiced Vegan Sweet Potato Pie (Paleo)
Sweet Potato Pie Filling:
- 1 large sweet potato roasted or steamed
- 3 tablespoons tapioca flour*
- 2/3 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup**
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Prepare the Coconut Flour Crust:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Stir together all of the ingredients for the crust in a mixing bowl until well combined (Note: the crust mixture will be crumbly and sticky).
Pour the crust mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan, creating an even layer.
Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
Prepare the Sweet Potato Filling:
Place the sweet potato in a large saucepan and cover with water. Cover with a lid, and bring to a full boil on the stove top. Cook until potato is very tender when poked with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the potato to a plate or cutting board and allow it to cool (Note: You can also wrap the potato in foil and roast it at 400 degrees F for 60 to 90 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Once cool enough to handle, peel the potato skin and the first layer of flesh off of the potato and transfer the soft flesh to a high-powered blender.
Add the remaining ingredients for the sweet potato filling to the blender and blend until completely smooth.
Pour the sweet potato filling mixture into the prepared pie crust and spread into an even layer.
Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center of the pie has set up. Allow pie to cool 30 minutes before covering and chilling in the refrigerator at least 8 hours.
Slice pie and serve with coconut whipped cream
*You can replace the tapioca flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch if you’re fine with the recipe not being paleo
**You can also use agave nectar, coconut nectar, or honey. If using honey, keep a close watch on the pie, as honey burns at a lower temperature than other liquid sweeteners.