Last year was the best Thanksgiving ever. I had just given birth to my son two months prior and my maternity jeans had not yet been stashed away. All those years of ‘joking’ about wearing elastic-waist pants for Thanksgiving dinner – that was my chance. You know you’ve become ridiculously uncool when you walk in wearing your maternity jeans, Tom’s shoes, and act like you’re strolling in the club with 50 Cent behind you singing,“Go shorty, it’s Turkey Day”…
So this year may be different. I might have to wear real clothes for the first time in 14 months. I may have have to un-button my pants when no one is watching. I may have to focus on getting my son fed before I fall face first in a pile of turkey and cranberry sauce. That kid always gets in the way of my pigging-out sessions.
Since my maternity jeans are folded and stored, I think it means I should make a healthy side dish for our Thanksgiving get-together this year. Healthy and Thanksgiving is an oxymoron, but you know I wouldn’t leave you debating between happy indulging or hungry self-control. That’s why I created THIS! Whole30 scalloped sweet potatoes. A grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free side dish that has THE most decadent creamy layers you’ve ever shoved in your mouth.
We live thousands of miles from our families (sigh, the life of the military), so Thanksgiving with new friends has been the standard. Inevitably, there is always one or all of the following at our Thanksgiving get-togethers: the vegan, the paleo eater, and the “just give me FOOD” (usually in the form of a man) chowhound. This vegan, paleo, Whole30 scalloped sweet potatoes side dish will SATISFY THEM ALL!
A dairy-free scalloped sweet potato recipe you ask? Um yeaaaah! Only five ingredients? Double yeaaaah! You won’t believe how amazing sweet potatoes taste with a rich cinnamon date cashew cream and crunchy pecans.
The best part is, it’s ridiculously simple to make. No no, the best part is that the creamy sauce tastes like heaven. Ok, start over, the best part is this will be a hit at your Thanksgiving dinner AND you don’t have to feel bad eating it AND it makes amazing leftovers AND you’ll probably make it your signature side dish. That’s a lot of AND’s. Which means this recipe is legit.
When I created this recipe I had a nirvana moment that I’ll share with you at the end. You won’t want to miss it. So keep scrolling my friend…
To start, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin of two large sweet potatoes, then cut them thinly (1/8” thickness). In order to get uniformity, I used the thin slice attachment on my mandoline slicer.
Now it’s time for the sauce. Soak 1/2 cup cashews in water overnight, drain and place in a blender and add 1 cup coconut milk. Go for the stuff at the top of the can for a rich cream. Then add 2 dates to the blender and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Blend until well combined.
Grease the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish (or line with parchment paper) and start to layer the sliced sweet potatoes on the bottom. Drizzle about a fourth of the cream mixture on top. Continue to layer the potatoes and the cream until you have about four layers. Drizzle the remaining cream on top then place in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Garnish with pecans if desired.
You can make this dish a few hours or even a day ahead of time. Just let cool then refrigerate. When ready to serve, place back in the oven at 250 degrees for a half hour or so, just enough to warm throughout.
Ok as promised, here was my nirvana moment. Once I blended the cream, it took all the willpower in the world not to literally drink it straight from the measuring cup! Which can only mean one thing – it would taste amazing as a coffee creamer. So go ahead, double the recipe. Your mornings will never be the same again!
Time Saver Tip
Peel and slice the sweet potatoes ahead of time and store in an airtight center in the refrigerator. You can make the cream ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, but be sure to bring back to room temp (or warm slightly in the microwave) before you assemble the dish, as the coconut milk might solidify a bit once chilled.
Curious to try The Whole30 or eat a week’s worth of healthy, real-food meals? Check out my Whole30 meal planning guide filled prep tips, recipes, and a coinciding grocery list!
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (the cream at the top of the can)
- 2 dates
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- *Optional - pecans to garnish
- Cover ½ cup of cashews in water and let sit overnight to soften
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into ⅛" thick slices
- Add drained cashews, coconut milk, dates, and cinnamon to a blender or food processor. Blend a few minutes until creamy
- Layer sweet potato slices on the bottom of a greased 8x8 baking dish. Drizzle a fourth of the cream mixture on top
- Continue layering the sweet potato and cream mixture until you have about four layers. Top with the remaining cream
- Bake for one hour
- Let cool slightly and garnish with pecans if desired
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