Healthy Holiday Sides with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

Carrot souffle and sweet potato bake that are grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free? Yes, please!

Now, before you head to the recipes, I have to say one quick thing. I know it’s a pain when you are looking for a recipe and the blogger spends all this time with the description and build up and pictures and you’re like, “Just get to the dang ingredients, Karen!”

But after I say this I’ll be done – and you can go on your merry way to try out these recipes.

I get annoyed with the phrase “healthy” in regards to food choices during the holidays. Holidays are celebratory, and if you’re stressing out about whether something is “healthy” or not, and you’re panicked about every ingredient in your meal, you’re less likely to be able to digest the nutrients from that meal.

Stressing about food is the opposite of health, in my opinion.

That being said, it seems to me that every year I get busier with celebrations. We have countless parties, and all of them feature lots of food and lots of alcohol. Because monitoring my mental health is always priority for me, and I will do whatever I can to fight seasonal depression, eating loads of sugar and drinking sugary alcoholic beverages can be taxing on my mental stability.

Consuming lots of sweet treats and drinking alcohol frequently during the month of December will throw off my sleep, make me less well-rested the following day, and then cause my cravings to skyrocket – perpetuating the cycle. So while I don’t want to stress about my food, I do want to be MINDFUL about what I’m choosing and how those choices will make me feel afterward. (For more on eating for mental health and my thoughts on that, check out the Sparking Wholeness podcast episode 10.)

Which leads me to the recipes.

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Years ago, when visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving for the first time, I was introduced to the wonders of carrot souffle and sweet potato casserole. They were so delicious, so indulgent, and so unlike anything I had consumed with my own family at any of our holiday celebrations. I never knew you could turn vegetables into a dessert for a side dish!

But here’s the thing – it really was like having dessert with my meal and then dessert again AFTER the meal (because trust me, you don’t want to turn down my mother-in-law’s chocolate pecan pie). As I began to restore balance to my body and listen to it, I realized it was way too much for me.

Carrots and sweet potatoes are so naturally sweet, they don’t need an extra cup of sugar. So instead of sugar, I subbed in a quarter cup of organic maple syrup. And because I was making this dish for a few dairy sensitive people, I subbed in coconut oil instead of butter. Personally, I’d be down with using grass fed butter, so if you handle butter okay then go for it! Last, because we try to stay away from added folic acid in my house and we prefer lightening the gluten load for gut health reasons, I took out the enriched flour and added a little coconut flour instead.

The changes resulted in two delicious sides that can be brought to a holiday gathering, or just enjoyed during your typical dinner to shake your normal veggie routine up a bit.

Bonus – they’re super easy to assemble by throwing everything in a food processor. Double bonus – my kids loved them and thought they were having dessert.


Carrot Souffle

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds carrots
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, room temp

Directions:

  1. Heat oven at 350.
  2. Boil carrots until tender, then drain.
  3. Put all the ingredients except eggs in a food processor and blend.
  4. Slowly add each egg, one by one.
  5. Pour in a greased 1 quart casserole dish (I used a round one).
  6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until top is brown and the center is set and not super jiggly.

     

*Note – I don’t have a picture of this because it really doesn’t look that pretty in a picture. I made it for two different events this year and both times it was consumed before I could take one anyway.


Sweet Potato Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in small pieces (about 4 small sweet potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, room temp

Topping (optional)

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Heat oven at 350.
  2. Boil carrots until tender, then drain.
  3. Put all the ingredients (except for eggs and topping) in a food processor and blend.
  4. Slowly add each egg, one by one.
  5. Pour in a small greased casserole dish (9 x 9 inch works, or I used 8 x 11)
  6. Spoon the topping on the sweet potatoes. It won’t completely cover it but that’s okay.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, until topping is crispy and the center is set.

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