Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Apples & Crunchy Rosemary Walnuts

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 8 votes

Vegan sweet potato casserole with apples and crunchy rosemary walnuts is a cozy and delicious side dish that's sure to please every one.

Vegan sweet potato casserole with apples and crunchy rosemary walnuts is shown in a white oval baking dish.

This beauty of a vegan sweet potato casserole will get every type of eater at the table excited, I can almost 100% guarantee it. Just as a reminder, I have a page with all of my best vegan holiday recipes for you. This casserole is topped with some maple-y sautéed apples and crunchy rosemary walnuts. It’s creamy, a little bit rich, slightly sweet and tangy from orange juice, and perfectly balanced in terms of texture. It’s soft and creamy with sticky bits of apple and crisp bits of walnut throughout. I love all of the contrasts in this one! Check out even more sweet potato recipes.

Image shows a single serving of sweet potato casserole on a plate.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a vegan sweet potato casserole.
An overhead of chopped and toasted walnuts on top of parchment paper.

November is here, which means it’s GO TIME for all of the cozy, holiday-appropriate recipes. This is my favourite time of year for sharing recipes! The season plays to my strengths for celebratory food hehe.

Classic sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is an absolute holiday table banger! But if you’re looking to shake things up with a more whole food-forward twist, this casserole is here for you. The sweet potatoes are whipped up with orange juice, warm spices, cashew cream/coconut milk, and vegan butter. I don’t cook with vegan butter often (I prefer baking with it and using oil for cooking instead), but around the holidays you just have to sometimes! The butter really adds to the rich and creamy texture of the sweet potatoes.

We top the whole thing with apples that have been sautéed with maple syrup for extra sweetness. Crunchy crumbles of rosemary-flecked walnuts add texture. This vegan sweet potato casserole has a natural sweetness throughout, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with a sugar-y vibe. I think the balance is just right.

Hope you’re all doing great! Excited to share more holiday goodness with you all in the coming weeks (and some weeknight dinners to hold you over on those busy nights too). Fans of this dish may also like my vegan twice baked sweet potatoes with chili and lime and my vegan stuffing recipe.

An overhead shot of roasted and split open sweet potatoes on top of foil.
Image shows puréed sweet potatoes in the bowl of a food processor.
Image shows apple slices being sautéed.
Image shows a hand sprinkling toasted walnuts on top of a sweet potato casserole.
A 3/4 angle of a baked vegan sweet potato casserole in an oval-shaped, white baking dish.

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Apples & Crunchy Rosemary Walnuts

Vegan sweet potato casserole with apples and crunchy rosemary walnuts is a cozy and delicious holiday side dish that's sure to please every kind of eater.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

SWEET POTATOES:

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, about 3 large
  • cup orange juice
  • cup full fat coconut milk OR cashew cream OR non-dairy creamer of choice
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter (or 2 tablespoons oil)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

CRUNCHY ROSEMARY WALNUTS

  • 1 ½ cup walnut halves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (1-2 sprigs)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

APPLES:

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or avocado/olive oil
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored & sliced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Notes

  • This one is deeply inspired by Ina Garten’s smashed sweet potatoes recipe.
  • Make the crunchy rosemary walnuts while your sweet potatoes are baking!
  • I use Miyoko’s vegan butter exclusively.
  • To make cashew cream on the spot for this recipe, combine ¼ cup raw cashews and ⅓ – ½ cup water in a high speed blender. Blend until totally liquified and smooth.
  • You could assemble everything ahead of time with this dish. Top the mashed sweet potatoes with the apples, wrap the casserole tightly and store in the fridge. Store the cooled walnuts separately. When you’re ready to bake, unwrap the casserole and top it with the walnuts. Bake the casserole for 45 minutes (rather than the 30 minutes described in the recipe) if you’re baking it straight from the fridge.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Prick some holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them on the baking sheet. Bake sweet potatoes until very soft, about 1 ½ hours.
  • While sweet potatoes are baking, in a food processor, combine the orange juice, coconut milk, vegan butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper (I go heavy with the salt and pepper). Once the sweet potatoes are cooked and cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add it to the food processor as well. Pulse the sweet potato mixture until totally smooth and evenly combined. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Make the crunchy rosemary walnuts (preferably while the sweet potatoes are baking to save time). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped walnuts out on the baking sheet and toast in the oven (still at 375°F) for about 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown. While walnuts are toasting, in a small bowl, stir together the rosemary, avocado oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
  • As soon as you remove the walnuts from the oven, pour the rosemary mixture over the top and carefully stir it in to combine with all of the chopped walnuts. Spread the rosemary walnuts out in a single layer and allow them to cool thoroughly.
  • Sauté the apples. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the vegan butter in the skillet and spread it around. Add the apples and maple syrup to the pan and stir. Cook the apples for 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned on the edges, stirring here and there. Set aside.
  • Assemble the vegan sweet potato casserole! Lightly grease an oven-safe dish (8×8 or 8×11 will both work) with vegan butter or avocado oil. Scrape all of the sweet potato mixture into the dish and spread it out evenly. Top the sweet potatoes with the sautéed apples in an even layer. Then, top the apples with the crunchy rosemary walnuts. Slide the casserole into the oven and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Enjoy the vegan sweet potato casserole hot!
Vegan sweet potato casserole with apples and crunchy rosemary walnuts


06/11/2019 (Last Updated 01/11/2023)
Posted in: autumn, cashews, coconut milk, creamy, earthy, gluten free, grain-free, holidays, roasted, side dish, sweet, sweet potatoes, vegan, winter

19 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Sissel

    I am making this recipe now. :-) I managed to “burn” the nuts because I had the nuts in the oven a minute or two too long (375 F). Now I “roasted” quickly some nuts and seeds (run out of walnuts) on a skillet. I know I am asking this question too late, but its nice to know for next time: What temperature should we use for baking the whole casserole in the oven? I am afraid of using high temperature because of the nuts.
    Thanks!

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Sissel,
      You do bake the whole casserole at 375 as well. As long as you don’t over-toast the walnuts in the initial step, this should be fine. If you are concerned, tightly cover the entire casserole dish with foil to prevent further browning and only remove it in the last 5 minutes or so to dry out the top a bit.
      -L

  • Dusty

    This looks absolutely fantastic. I’m going to make tomorrow but I don’t have orange juice. OK to skip that? I do have lemons but i know that’s prob too tart? Thank you!

    • Laura Wright

      So sorry to get to your reply this late! A little squeeze of lemon would be great, but you can also leave it out :)
      -L

  • Madison

    Do you think it’d work with butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Madison,
      I think this would taste great with butternut squash! The squash is a bit milder and maybe not as sweet though, so just keep that in mind.
      -L

  • Ali

    5 stars
    The rosemary walnuts are absolutely amazing and could be a nut appetizer on their own! Every part of this is delicious and looking forward to it all coming together today for our Thanksgiving dinner – thanks for the make ahead tips. I saw you share this on your Instagram and immediately wanted to try it. I did use Irish butter as I can have that with my dairy allergy but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Thank you!

  • Elise

    I made this recipe for our mini Thanksgiving celebration, and it was amazingggg! Definitely worth the time investment.
    For the sweet potato blend, I ended up using ~ 1/4C vegan creamer (Forager) and a heaping tbsp of cashew butter, but I’m sure it would be delicious with full fat coconut milk too! 
    I’m definitely making this again :) Thank you, Laura!

  • Megan

    5 stars
    Made this today for thanksgiving and omg!! It was so good and will be a staple every year! 

  • Morgan

    Made it for thanksgiving and the non vegan way. It was incredible and the apples were a great addition. Had kids present so there was a corner we did with just marshmallows not the nuts. No biggie in the oven. Same temp was fine!

  • Elizabeth

    This was the hands down hit of my 2019 10+ dish semi-gourmet vegan spread. I’ve already had two family members demand a repeat for this year (I don’t repeat much). In addition to being delicious, it was super to be able to make the day before – something I do more and more each year so I can actually enjoy some of the day with guests. Highest recommendations. My sister has asked me to double apples so I’ll try that next year for her, but I think the ratio as is is totally solid. Thanks for another hit!

  • Allison

    What a stunning recipe! I love your holiday recipes page- I’m having a hard time deciding what to make for a dinner party tomorrow. It all looks so good and cozy. :)

  • Maude

    Pinned it for later as it sounds just super delicious. Thanks!

  • Anya

    What a stunning recipe!!! Thank you.

  • Aleisha

    This looks so delicious and perfect for the holidays! Where can I find the Miyoko’s vegan butter in a Canada?

    • Laura

      I’ve found it at Loblaws stores and at a local health food store as well.
      -L

  • Dana

    this is stunning, friend.

  • McKenzie

    Bless you. *Drooling.* My favorite Thanksgiving dish is this unusual tomato gravy that my mom has always made. She’s from Kentucky and I wonder if it’s maybe a southern thing, but we always make it with home-grown canned tomatoes. It’s thickened with a starch, slightly sweetened with brown sugar, spiced with holiday spices, and typically has butter and cream…but this year I’m going to try and vegan-ify it. We usually serve it over mashed potatoes and rolls. Thanks for this yummy dish to add to my list!

  • judee

    I can only imagine how good this tastes with the apples and orange juice. Looks like wonderful flavors and colors and perfect for everyone at the Thanksgiving table.