Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

A few years back, the phrase “sweet potato pie” would’ve made me pull a face and retch theatrically. I became a sweet potato fan in my mid-twenties after side-eying them dubiously for much of my life. (That ol’ sweet-when-it-should-be-savory distaste again!) But after going vegan and encouraging myself to try foods I thought I didn’t care for, I found that with the proper preparation, even previously off-limits ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes could be — shocker — quite enjoyable.

So today I’m bringing a beautiful toasty orange color into rainbow week with a creamy sweet potato pie ensconced in a nutty pecan crust. Sweetened by dates and maple syrup, this pie elevates the humble sweet potato to Thanksgiving dessert status. If time isn’t on your side or you’ve got someone with a nut allergy at the table, feel free to substitute your favorite regular ol’ pie crust. (And pardon my cake tin in the photos below — I didn’t have a “real” pie pan when I first developed this recipe!)

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

This pie comes together surprisingly easily after you’ve measured out the ingredients and pitted the dates. You actually won’t need any mixing bowls: the crust ingredients are whizzed up in the food processor, while the pie filling gets combined right in your blender. The hardest part is probably waiting for it to cool! But make sure you do; you want it to solidify so it cuts well and doesn’t melt onto your plate.

Bonus: Assuming your oats and cornstarch are certified gluten-free, you’re on your way towards making a beautiful vegan, gluten-free sweet potato pie sure to please everyone.

Serve with your favorite vegan whipped cream (coconut, aquafaba, Soyatoo) for a decadent treat. <3

Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust

For the crust
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 16 dates)
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 T coconut oil (solid)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the pie
  • 2 cups sweet potato, baked and mashed (measure after baking)
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp ginger (depending on how much of a kick you like)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cloves

Method

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

First, make the crust. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until crumbly. The mixture should hold together if you scoop it into a ball and press it between your hands; add a few more pecans if it’s too soft. Prepare a pie pan by spraying liberally with oil, then use your hands to press the crust into the pan, pushing it up the sides by 1/2″ to 3/4″.

Next, prepare the filling by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender. (A regular one will likely work, but I’d recommend soaking the dates first.) Pour filling into the crust and use a spatula to spread evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is set. Chill for at least three hours before serving.

Notes

  • If maple syrup breaks the budget, feel free to substitute agave nectar instead. Brown sugar would also likely work, though I haven’t tried it.
  • I recommend baking the potatoes a day in advance to save time. Just put them in the oven alongside anything else you’re cooking, then on the day you make the pie, they’ll be cool and easy to pop out of the skins. Baking is crucial to get a really caramelized, sweet flavor; don’t try to steam the sweet potatoes as a shortcut!
  • I got the idea to use aquafaba from another blogger who made a pumpkin pie using it, but I can’t recall who it is. Thanks for the tip!

PIN IT

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

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Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

LVV MoFo 2014 main

In just a couple days, S and I devoured all the Apricot Buckwheat Bites I made earlier this week. I’m surprised they lasted longer than a day, to be honest!

“Mmm. I really like these,” S said when he tried the first one. And then, a few bites later, “You should make a chocolate version.”

A chocolate version. Once the idea was in my head, it wouldn’t leave. I had to make it happen.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites
Makes 25 balls about 1.25″ in diameter

  • 1 C raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 C raw buckwheat groats
  • 18-20 raw Medjool dates
  • 2 T raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 1/3 C chocolate chips
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add the hazelnuts, buckwheat groats, the hemp seeds, and about 15 dates to a food processor and process until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, maple syrup, and sea salt and process for 10-15 seconds. Check the mixture—if it’s not holding together at all, add a few dates, process, and check again. Add more dates if necessary until the mixture is sticky but holds together.

Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1.25″ in diameter. Store in the refrigerator for best results.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

Between the chocolate chips and the crunchy buckwheat, these little bites taste more like candy than anything else. But five balls give you 20% of your daily value of iron, along with 9 grams of protein, 7% of your daily value of calcium, and a decent dose of fiber. Sweet!

Apricot Buckwheat Bites

LVV MoFo 2014 mainOne of the best parts of MoFo this year has been discovering new and unexpected nutrition sources. The internet is full of top-ten lists, touting the best ways to get various nutrients on a vegetarian/vegan/paleo/gluten-free/whatever diet. But those lists only take you so far—I’ve found plenty of great protein and iron sources simply by rifling through my pantry. Today’s mostly raw recipe combines a few surprising sources of iron into a super satisfying snack.

Apricot Buckwheat Bites

Apricot Buckwheat Bites
Makes 20 balls about 1.5″ in diameter

  • 1/3 cup raw whole hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup raw buckwheat groats, divided
  • 8-10 medjool dates, pitted and halved
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (measure before chopping)
  • 2 T raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash sea salt

Add the hazelnuts and half the buckwheat groats to a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the dates (start with 8), apricots, and vanilla extract and process until all ingredients are combined—the mixture will be a little sticky, but it should hold together. If it’s too dry, add the remaining dates. Add the remaining groats, hemp seeds, and sea salt and pulse a few more times until all new ingredients are incorporated.

Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1.5″ in diameter. Store in the refrigerator for best results.

Note: Vanilla bean seeds would work great here, but I couldn’t find mine… so, vanilla extract it was.

Apricot Buckwheat BitesThese little bites have a satisfying crunch to them thanks to the raw buckwheat groats. If you’ve never used raw buckwheat, do yourself a favor and try it. Just be careful not to buy toasted buckwheat accidentally—that satisfying crunch will be much less satisfying and a little more unpleasant in that case. (Toasted buckwheat is also called kasha, and it makes a nutty replacement for your favorite cooked grain.) Raw buckwheat is—surprise!—a great source of iron, as are the apricots, dates, and hemp seeds. Four of these bites will give you 13% of your daily value of iron, along with 4 grams of protein and 6.4% of your daily value of calcium. Impressive!

Have you tried raw buckwheat groats? How do you like to use them?