Nikki's Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Before we get into the double-baked, coconut and macadamia nut-crusted sweet potato recipe my friend Nikki shared with me, I wanted to mention that I've posted my favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes as well as my favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes last week. This recipe is going on both lists, but I can't take credit for it. Nikki sent it to me - the same Nikki who took my site by storm when I posted her Healthy Cookie recipe over the summer. The same Nikki I've been friends with since she showed up in my sixth grade class, fresh from L.A., wearing a Swatch watch and white Reebok hi-tops. Both things I'd never seen before. And now, even though we're on opposite sides of the country, I love exchanging emails about recent cooking ideas and adventures with her - it's one of my favorite reasons to check my emails. Nikki described these sweet potatoes to me as a sweet potato mash, but with a twist - they get creaminess from a generous splash of coconut milk, crunch from toasted coconut and macadamias, and a kick from freshly grated ginger.
I think she hit the nail on the head when she told me she paired it with lots of garlicky, sauteed greens. She served it with grilled chicken, but you could certainly go the marinated tofu or tempeh route which is what I did. Delicious.
Nikki's Sweet Potato Recipe
If you'd like to prepare part of this recipe in advance you can certainly bake the sweet potatoes a day or two in advance and save the mashed sweet potatoes in the refrigerator until you are ready to move forward with the remaining steps. Also, you can make these vegan by using olive oil and not butter.
2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, a rack in the upper third. Butter or oil 6 ramekins or a single medium-sized casserole dish.
Wrap each sweet potato in foil, pierce numerous times with the tines of a fork and place in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes - in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. In a large bowl mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. If my sweet potatoes are on the fibrous side, l take a hand blender to them for a minute or so (alternately you could use a food processor). Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste - adjust the seasoning if you need to - this is your chance to get the right amount of salt and ginger in the sweet potatoes before they go in the oven.
Spoon the sweet potato mixture into individual baking dishes (or single larger baking dish), sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 30 - 40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts.
Serves about 6.