Canadian Thanksgiving: (Vegan/ Gluten-Free) Curried Coconut Yam Casserole

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Another treat from our Canadian Thanksgiving feast.  Again, this vegetable accompaniment is a staple for large gatherings in our home.  Actually, this dish extends well beyond our dinner table as it is my go-to dish when asked to bring something to my Aunt’s family meals.  You may recall that my aunt is one hardcore host, and that the meals she crafts are bar none.  In my family, once married along with your nuptials comes the responsibility of bringing an item to the table to share.  One best bring their A-game if they want to fit in with the rest of the exceptionally talented family members whose food never ceases to amaze.  On my first married Christmas Eve, I was asked to bring yam casserole. It seemed easy enough.  Although, I am not a very conventional girl so I didn’t want my dish to merely be the standard marshmallow topped, overly sweet, candy-esque variation of this dish.  So I began playing around with flavors and spices.  Truth be told my first version of this side dish had orange juice and it was thoroughly underwhelming.  It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either.  However, by the time Easter rolled around I had refined my recipe and this truly awesome vegan, gluten and sugar-free casserole was born.  So enjoy the fruits of my labour and have a happy celebration with those you love most.

Curried Coconut Yam Casserole

Makes 1 casserole

INGREDIENTS:

  •  4 lb of sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp of curry paste
  • 1 tbsp of agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup unsalted walnuts (or pecans)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2.  Peirce the yams with a fork all over, and arrange on a baking sheet.  Roast for about 45 minutes or until yams are completely cooked through and soft.
  3. Remove yams from oven and allow to cool.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the coconut milk, cardamom, curry paste, agave nectar, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
  5. Cut open yams and scoop flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard (or eat) the skins.
  6. Add the coconut milk mixture to the yams. Stir and mash the entire mixture until smooth and no chunks remain (this can be done by hand, using an electric hand mixer or with a stand-up mixer)
  7. Transfer to a 9 x 9-inch baking dish and press down and smooth the top with a spatula.
  8. Sprinkle walnuts or pecans evenly over sweet potato mixture to cover completely
  9. Now you have to options, either cover and store in the fridge until it is needed (can be over night) or bake right away.
    1. Once ready to bake place into a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.
  10. Serve and enjoy!
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