I scouted out white sweet potatoes for this recipe, but I think it would have been even better with purple sweet potatoes. Purple sweet potatoes are taking over the blogosphere! In any case, without the typical orange hue, you may have a hard time believing this is a sweet potato pie but it is.
The white-fleshed sweet potato is combined with coconut milk, spices and a but of agar to hold it perfectly together (no jello consistency here). It sits atop a crunchy, cookie-like crust, sweet and flavourful by itself. The panko really made this a crunchy crust. If you have the inclination, I am sure this would be lovely with a dollop of coconut whipped cream, too.
It has been pleasantly mild for mid-November, but it wasn’t so long that we were grilling up a storm over our BBQ this summer. That was when I enjoyed experimenting with Carla Kelly’s cookbook Vegan al Fresco. Understandably, I was excited when I heard she had a new cookbook focusing on root vegetables. The publisher was considering naming the cookbook Ugly Vegetables, but I am glad they went with True to Your Roots: Vegan Recipes to Comfort and Nourish You. It took me a while to warm up to the recipes, or rather allow the weather to cool down before I jumped into the creative comfort-type foods. She highlights new ways to use your favourite root vegetables – think carrot, potato and beet – as well as those you might not know how to cook as much, including kohlrabi, rutabaga, jicama and lotus root.
Carla likes her recipes to be similar to you, yet with a root veggie twist. Her breakfast recipes are unique and include Turnip, Ginger and Pecan Toffee Scones, Fermented Potato Bread and Carrot and Herb Sausages. Her innovative juice recipes include ones with sweet potato, parsnip, celeriac and rutabaga (not all in one, though). The appetizers include Sunchoke and Spinach Pakoras, Rutabaga Samosas and Roasted Garlic and Celeriac Hummus.
Her comforting soups make you want to head to your kitchen to make Drunken Turnip Soup or Yuca and Tropical Yam Peanut Soup. Root vegetables are not forgotten in the salads, such as Rutabaga and Pumpkin Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Parsnip Tabbouleh and Burdock and Bok Choy Udon Noodle Salad. The entrees are equally enticing – Celeriac-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Lotus Root Thai Green Curry and Yuca Empanadas with Avocado, Plantain and Black Beans.
If the other recipes intimidate you, the sides are more approachable and simple, e.g., Stovetop Roasted Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts, Sweet and Heat Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Seasoned Yuca Fries.
As you can see here, desserts are well represented. Again, the offerings are creative. Salted Almond and Potato Macaroons, Jicama and Asian Pear Tart and a Turnip Rum Raisin Cake.
This would be a great cookbook for a cook who likes root vegetables, unique recipes or anyone who would like to enjoy delicious vegan foods.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me which root vegetable you like the most and how you like to eat it. The winner will be selected at random on December 4, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from True to Your Roots spotted elsewhere:
Kalecannon and Avocado (with another giveaway, too)
PS. I am sharing this with Vegetable Palette for white vegetables.
Coconut Sweet Potato Pie
Reprinted, with permission, from True to Your Roots: Vegan Recipes to Comfort and Nourish You by Carla Kelly. Published by Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015.
Author’s note: With a not-too-sweet-creamy filling and a crisp I-wish-this-was-a-cookie crust, this decadent pie with Lemon-Infused Vegan Whipcream makes an ordinary day seem like a holiday.
Best if prepared a day before serving.
1 cup (250 mL) panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (125 mL) ground almonds
1/2 cup (125 mL) ground pecans
1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) softened (not melted) coconut oil
3 cups (750 mL) peeled and finely grated white-fleshed sweet potatoes
2 cups (500 mL) full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) pitted Medjool dates, about 5
1/4 cup (60 mL) agave syrup
1 3-in (8-cm) length cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp agar powder
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Oil a 9-in (23-cm) pie plate.
2. In a large bowl, mix together panko, ground almonds and pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well. Add coconut oil to well and rub in to combine well. With dampened hands, press into base and sides of prepared pie plate.
3. Bake for 10 minutes until edges are browned and crust is fragrant and a little puffy. Remove from oven and, using the back of a spoon, press puffy crust back into sides and base of pie plate. Let cool as you prepare filling.
1. In a large saucepan, combine grated sweet potatoes, coconut milk, dates, syrup, cinnamon stick, cloves, sumac, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender and dates plumped, about 12 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together agar powder with 2 tbsp water until smooth. Into agar water, whisk 2 tbsp cooked mixture from saucepan. Once combined, transfer agar mixture into saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until thickened.
3. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour filling onto cooled pie crust. Cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to fully set.
Makes 8–10 servings.
PHOTO CREDIT: photo by Tracey Kusiewicz | Foodie Photography
Note: I was given a copy of the cookbook from the publisher. I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Contest Rules: No purchase necessary. Contest period begins Saturday, November 21, 2015 and ends Friday, December 4, 2015. For US and Canadian residents only. Approximate retail value $26.95. Enter by writing a comment answering the prompt for a chance to win. Entrants must supply a valid email address. Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours.