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Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole

Today is moving day!  We are likely en route right now, between houses, stressing about whether the movers will break our fragile glassware, or whether all the boxes will arrive at their destination, or whether the stove will fit in the space that’s been left for it. 

In any case, I thought I’d leave a little Thanksgiving-based recipe on the site–no photo, but I’ll post one as soon as I have it.  This is for those of you who’ll be celebrating on the 22nd and are looking for a delicious side dish or veggie dish that’s not too heavy, not too sweet, yet festive and delicious.  It’s a perfect way to use sweet potatoes for the holidays, and can take the role of side dish or dessert (great with a dollop of cashew cream on top), or, as I’ve been known to have it in the past, as a speedy breakfast (just re-heat and dig in).

We used to call this kugel (“Ki’-gul,” but can also be pronounced “koo’-gul) in our house. The word is derived from the German word Gugelhupf, and it’s often translated as pudding or casserole.  I use “casserole” because it seems to me the most versatile–a kugel is usually a side dish, a pudding is usually a dessert, but a casserole can be anything you like.  

I’ve adapted this from a recipe my friend B. gave me a few years ago.  As a very lazy cook, I’ve altered the recipe so there’s no grating involved, only processing in a food processor (even using an entire lemon–whole!), which is where the bulk of the ingredients end up.  Processing also helps hold the casserole together by grinding up the raw veggies and allowing the juices to meld more with the rest of the ingredients. Flax and oats also act as binders, as this vegan version is sans eggs, of course.

It’s a moist, tart/sweet, subtly spiced dish that’s rather addictive.  I love eating it, knowing that I’m getting all the goodness of sweet potatoes (could there BE a more delicious root?), along with the traditional carrots and other goodies in here.  Hope you enjoy this one.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Casserole

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup

1/4 cup Sucanat or coconut sugar

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

4 medium carrots, trimmed and washed, cut into chunks

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 whole organic lemon, washed and cut in quarters

2 T coconut butter or organic sunflower oil

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. sea salt, if desired

1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces

1/2 cup raisins (omit for ACD)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray a 9 x 13” pan with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper. 

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, measure the applesauce, then add the water to make a total of one cup liquid.  Add the agave to the cup (for a total of 1-1/4 cups), then add the Sucanat.  Stir the mixture in the cup to blend and allow the Sucanat to begin to dissolve.   

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, blend together the oats and flax seeds until mixture is ground and resembles a coarse meal.  Transfer the dry mixture to a clean, large bowl.   

Without washing the processor bowl, add the carrots and sweet potato and whir until chopped into fine pieces.  Add the lemon and coconut butter, and blend again until the mixture is fairly smooth and almost pureed (there should be no pieces larger than a grain of barley). Sprinkle all the spices on top and pulse once or twice to combine well. 

Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the bowl with the oats, and pour the applesauce-water mixture on top of it all.  Stir well until everything is evenly combined.  Last, stir in the nuts and raisins.  Turn into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for about an hour, until golden and slightly puffed on top, and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into squares.  Makes eight side dish or 6 main course servings.  May be frozen. 

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