This savory sweet potato casserole will delight your taste buds and bring something a little bit different to your holiday table! Made with a layer of silky roasted sweet potato puree, a layer of caramelized onions, and finally topped with crispy herbed walnut “breadcrumbs”, it’s a unique and memorable dish.
I’ve never bothered trying to make a vegan version of classic sweet potato casserole (southern style) because if I can be quite frank, it’s never something that sounds appealing to eat. I like my desserts to be desserts and my savory food to be savory!
Therefore, I’ve come up with a marshmallow-free, umami sweet potato bake that has Thanksgiving-y comfort but isn’t sweet. Bonus: things won’t get weird if you get a little vegan gravy on it!
This savory vegan sweet potato casserole consists of a few components:
Sweet potato puree, made simply by blending oven-roasted sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Non-dairy milk/cream and stabilizing ingredients are truly not necessary and will only dilute the flavor. I prefer the silky texture of this method to mashed sweet potatoes, which can sometimes be stringy.
Caramelized shallots or onions (choose your adventure), which you can have going on the stove while your sweet potatoes are roasting.
Walnut “breadcrumbs”, very similar to the ones that top my baked farro. These are made by grinding walnuts with fresh herbs, a dash of olive oil, lemon zest, and nutritional yeast if you have it on hand.
Those three layers combined create a magical bite of food that you’ll want to keep on eating!
This healthy sweet potato casserole recipe is naturally vegan, gluten-free, and a little bird tells me that it’s paleo too. It can be made ahead and crisped up in the oven on Thanksgiving day (or any day) to delicious results! Hope you enjoy and please share in the comments if you make it!
Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
This vegan, savory sweet potato casserole is unique and delicious! Silky sweet potato puree is topped with caramelized onions and walnut "breadcrumbs" for a memorable, comforting dish.
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 1 and 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallot or onion (about 4 shallots or 1 large onion)
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided, plus more to coat potatoes
For the walnut crumb topping:
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a fork to poke holes all over the whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes. Rub them in a very light coating of olive oil and place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Roast until completely tender, about 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, caramelize the onion or shallot: warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a wide skillet, and add the sliced onion when hot. Continue to cook over medium-low to low heat, stirring occasionally, until deeply golden and tender, about 40 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
You can also make the walnut crumb topping while the sweet potato and onions cook. Add all of the ingredients for the topping to a food processor, plus 2 tbsp of olive oil, and pulse until crumbly. Set the crumb topping aside and rinse out the food processor (you'll use it one more time).
Once the sweet potato is removed from the oven and cooled, remove the peel, then add it to the food processor with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Puree until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking dish (pictured is a nonstandard 7x11 inch dish, which is about the same surface area). Transfer the pureed sweet potato into the dish and smooth it out. Spread the caramelized onion evenly on top. Finally, sprinkle the walnut crumb topping in an even layer.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit, or until the topping is evenly browned. Be careful, the walnuts can burn quickly - start checking on the casserole at around the 10-15 minute mark. Serve warm, or make ahead and reheat!