Paleo + vegan + refined sugar-free = a guilt-free Thanksgiving.
As much as we try to deny it, sugar really is terrible for our bodies. Think about if we grew all of our own food and hunted for or raised our own meat. How often would we eat sugar? We would eat fruit, yes (which we personally don’t limit in our own diets). But we wouldn’t have access to sugar all that often. Honey is protected by bees, maple syrup takes quite a bit of work to harvest, and even sugar cane wouldn’t be a priority if you were using the land to provide for your family’s real needs.
I know it sounds farfetched to think about it in those terms when we live in a drastically different world than that. But often if we just think about our bodies and nutrition logically, it takes the guess work out of it and helps us to make decisions that are best for our bodies.
My point in saying all that is that around the holidays, it gets harder to limit our “treats” because they’re EVERYWHERE. But I don’t plan on giving up my favorite things, and you shouldn’t have to either! My goal is to help you discover new ways to make those things so you aren’t left all bloated and miserable.
Let’s start with dessert.
Sweet Potato Souffle / Casserole / Pie is pretty much a holiday staple in any Southern home. I don’t have a specific preference, since they all taste similar (and are arguably basically the same thing).
Regardless of which one you make, the most important component is the sweet potatoes. You could boil them. But think about it like oven-roasted vegetables vs. steamed vegetables. There’s a crazy flavor difference! So I always bake my sweet potatoes. They create their own amazing syrup and get all caramelized, which is the first step in creating a beautiful, flavorful dessert.
Aren’t they pretty?
The skin comes off super easily too, because you bake them until they’re gooey soft. After that, its time to mash it all up!
Coconut oil is used in place of butter, maple syrup is your paleo & vegan sweetener, and the vanilla extract and cinnamon give it that holiday flavor.
You can eat it just like this, but you’ll be missing the crunch and texture from the topping. So I like to spread it out in a baking dish and top it with a mixture of pecans, coconut oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon. It’ll add another layer of flavor and remind you that even with “healthy” substitutions, this dessert can be super bangin’!
Bake it up for a bit to get those nuts all toasty, then serve it up hot with some whipped topping or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. SO YUM.
Paleo & Vegan Sweet Potato Souffle Recipe
- 2 lbs organic sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
- 1/4 cup organic pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecans (halves or pieces)
- 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
- 2 tbsp organic maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp organic ground cinnamon
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes well and dry them. Using a knife, carefully stab 8-10 holes in each one. Place them on a lined baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 45 minutes, or until completely soft. Larger potatoes may take closer to 60 minutes to bake.
While they bake, make the topping. Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The coconut may still be solid at this point, but will melt in the oven.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Once cooled a bit, peel the skin off of each potato and place them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mash the potatoes and mix all the ingredients well.
Scoop the sweet potato mixture into a baking dish and crumble the pecan mixture over the top. Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the topping is slightly browned. Be careful not to let it burn! Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or creamy whipped topping.