No Thanksgiving table is complete without potatoes.
This year I tried a variation—sweet potatoes puréed with
vanilla-infused cream—on an old favorite.

I am confident that this dish will have a regular occurrence at my Thanksgiving table for years to come. With their golden-orange color and subtly sweet flavor, here, sweet potatoes are excellent mashed with a deliciously warm and zesty addition of vanilla and orange zest. The result is a beautiful, creamy, fragrant filled puréed potato that everyone will fall for at your holiday (Thanksgiving or Christmas) table. The potatoes were served with a drizzle of Autumn Spice Oil, a heady mix of spices including star anise, juniper berries and cardamom, toasted, ground, and infused in oil. When my husband tried it he said, “it tastes like Christmas!

The recipe comes from the cookbook Artisanal Cooking, by Terrance Brennan. I’ve adapted it to make it vegan, using coconut milk or cashew cream and coconut oil.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family and I do!

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potato
Slightly adapted from Artisanal Cooking

Serves 4

1½ pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned and left a bit damp
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons plant milk (coconut milk, hemp, cashew cream, etc.)
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature
salt, to taste (optional)
freshly ground white pepper  (optional)
Autumn Spice Oil (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Meanwhile, pour the coconut milk or cashew cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest and set it over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use tongs to remove and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor (of high speed blender like a Vitamix) and add the coconut oil.

Purée the potato mixture until smooth. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper, or to taste. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.

Autumn Spice Oil (optional)
4 star anise
1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 medium cinnamon stick, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 pieces dried orange peel, optional
1 cup oil (It appears that the amount and type of oil to use in this recipe was mistakenly left out. Based on other infused oils in this book, I used 1 cup of olive oil. However you could try sunflower or canola oil, if you prefer).

Put the star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in an 8-inch sauté pan and toast over medium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Transfer the spices to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse for a few seconds.

Transfer the spices to a bowl, add the vanilla bean and orange peel, if using, and set aside.

Pour the oil into a small pot and heat it over medium-low heat until warm. Pour the oil over the spices and vanilla. Cover and let infuse at room temperature for 24 hours, periodically mixing the bowl. Cover and keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

For other Thanksgiving holiday recipes, visit The Vegetable Feast.

9 thoughts on “Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  1. Sounds SOOOOO Christmas indeed! When you scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, do you use them in the oil or discard them? I wasn’t sure if you used both the bean and seeds or just the bean (and discard the seeds). Thanks, Martine!

    1. Hi Josephine, I definitely use the seeds as well! I scraped the seeds into the oil, with the shell. I’m trying to come up with other uses for the oil.I have ideas but haven’t tried them yet. Will share any good ideas!

  2. Indeed – one must have potatoes (yams, yes please!) for Thanksgiving. Yours look velvety and perfectly balanced. Oh, the photo shows how creamy, smooth and whipped they are. Delicious. They scream out for a bit of cranberry chutney or sauce – they belong on every Thanksgiving table. Best, Shanna

    1. Hi Shanna, thank you. I really enjoyed this recipe. It was a great find and I was excited to share. Cranberry chutney sounds delicious! I haven’t made it before and the fresh cranberry relish recipe I posted was the first cranberry relish I ever made. My husband really like that and it was great with the tofu. This is a great season to try all sorts of interesting foods! 🙂

      1. Martine –
        I agree. There are so many dishes to try. It is probably my favorite cooking season, though summer is also nice. Enjoy your weekend! Your family sure is lucky to have such happy tummies. Warmly, Shanna

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