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Eat Well Nov. 21. 2014
Desserts

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Nov. 21. 2014
Desserts
McKel Hill

McKel Hill

MS, RDN, LDN, Dietitian

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie. My whole food version of pecan pie. I’ll let that soak in for a minute…

I’ll be the first to say, growing up in Ohio, my dad’s side of the family LOVED pecan pie. We’d always have it at both Thanksgiving and Christmas as far back as I can remember, yet I never liked it. Actually, I avoided it like the plague- the thought of eating pecans turned me off, but also visually it was full of neutral brown colors and it was not very appealing to the eye, let alone my stomach. Looking back now, I’m glad I didn’t make eating pecan pie a “thing” of mine, it’s loaded with refined sugars, hydrogenated fats and oils and in researching traditional pecan pies for this recipe and talking with my mom and family I realized one thing. Y’all, it’s literally a pie pan full of butter and sugar topped with pecans.

 

Picking on pecan pie. Now that I’m living in the south, in Nashville, pecan pie and sweet potato pie or casserole seem to be a staple dessert. I immediately was up for the challenge, to take something so notorious for being one of the highest in calorie and most refined (i.e. processed ingredients) desserts to grace tables, and make it into my whole food version. Oh, and gluten free and vegan taboot for all you wondering. The secret, not so secret, to making this filling creamy, sweet, and reminiscent of it’s traditional counterpart is using coconut oil, maple syrup, dates, sweet potatoes, and crushed pecans. All of these blended together with warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom create a filling that rivals…meh…beats traditional pecan pie. I might be talking a lot of smack here and being bold, but seriously you guys, this pie is ridiculously good with the addition of sweet potato.

This pie is also great to serve a crowd because a little slices goes a longgggg way. It’s incredibly rich, dense, and filling from all those healthy fats from both pecans, almonds, and coconut oil, and filling from the fiber found in the sweet potatoes, dates, and nuts/seeds used. Speaking of the nuts and seeds used, I wanted to expand beyond just using pecans for this pie and use hemp seeds for an easy way to add protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and an unbeatable texture to the crust. I used one of my new favorite brands of hemp seeds from the folks at Just Hemp Foods who were generous to sponsor this recipe I’m sharing. If you’re keen on learning more about hemp seeds and why I use them almost daily (!) read about them here.

Adding a baked sweet potato to the filling is an easy way to increase the volume without having to rely on adding more healthy yet high calorie add ons like dates, maple syrup, and crushed nuts. The mixture of maple syrup, dates, and coconut oil is a perfect way to bind all the ingredients together. An option for the filling for those of you who eat eggs, is to add in 1 egg white and simply bake the pie for an additional 30 minutes or until set firm. I wanted to present this recipe in a vegan form since so many of you all practice that lifestyle- I’m all about flexibility here so both of these options are suitable and make a great pie in the end!

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
Recipe Type: dessert
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16+
A healthy twist on a traditional high calorie pecan pie, made gluten free and vegan using hemp seeds as a filling and crust option. GF VGN
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1 cup of rolled oat flour
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (I used
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • FILLING
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1/4 of a cup of water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 7 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 large (6 ounces) sweet potato, baked and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • TOPPING
  • 1 cup pecans
  • dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. CRUST:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and hemp seeds to a ground texture (not as fine as a flour). Add oat flour.
  3. Slowly add in honey, dates, seasonings, and coconut oil. Mix until combined, you’ll be left with a sticky mixture.
  4. In a well greased (with coconut oil) baking pie dish, pour the crust mixture and evenly spread to coat the bottom, gently pressing to form the crust to the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes or until just golden brown and nuts are fragrant. In the meantime…
  6. FILLING:
  7. In a high-speed blender or food processor, pulse pecans to get ground texture, follow with baked sweet potato (without skin), coconut oil, maple syrup, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and water.
  8. The texture should be very thick, creamy, and sweet- adjust seasonings here to taste.
  9. ASSEMBLY:
  10. Take the hardened and baked pie crust out of the oven, pour the filling into the crust, and arrange whole pecans evenly on top, drizzle with remaining maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. Enjoy warm!
Notes
VEGAN: to make completely vegan use maple syrup instead of honey and don’t use egg. The vegan version will be more dense and moist and is best served warm or right out of the fridge.

Make note. Just because this Pecan Pie is a much better option in terms of the ingredients- all are whole food ingredients – it still is calorically dense and way too easy to eat! Just be mindful of that and watch the portion 😉

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored recipe post with Just Hemp Foods, meaning I was compensated for this recipe and post, my opinions of this product and how it’s used are 100% of my own- I only share the best of the best that I truly enjoy and would find beneficial to you all as well! Find out more about Just Hemp foods on their website and Facebook

I hope you all love this one as much as I do and I’m so grateful for those of you making my recipes to share with your family, there’s nothing more I completely geek out over than seeing pictures that you all take of those scenes. Enjoy this one… not that I really need to “tell” you to, it’s ridiculously good. Show me when you make yours! #NutritionStripped

xo McKel

The Recipe

Serves 16+

Print

Ingredients:

  • CRUST
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1 cup of rolled oat flour
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (I used
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • FILLING
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1/4 of a cup of water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 7 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 large (6 ounces) sweet potato, baked and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • TOPPING
  • 1 cup pecans
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. CRUST:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and hemp seeds to a ground texture (not as fine as a flour). Add oat flour.
  3. Slowly add in honey, dates, seasonings, and coconut oil. Mix until combined, you’ll be left with a sticky mixture.
  4. In a well greased (with coconut oil) baking pie dish, pour the crust mixture and evenly spread to coat the bottom, gently pressing to form the crust to the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes or until just golden brown and nuts are fragrant. In the meantime…
  6. FILLING:
  7. In a high-speed blender or food processor, pulse pecans to get ground texture, follow with baked sweet potato (without skin), coconut oil, maple syrup, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and water.
  8. The texture should be very thick, creamy, and sweet- adjust seasonings here to taste.
  9. ASSEMBLY:
  10. Take the hardened and baked pie crust out of the oven, pour the filling into the crust, and arrange whole pecans evenly on top, drizzle with remaining maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. Enjoy warm!

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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • Oh my Gosh. That’s perfect! I rarely find sweet potatoes here, but I’ll used kabocha squash instead 🙂 Really thanks for this recipe!!!

    • Awesome, yes you can totally use another squash if that’s all is available to you where you live. Thanks for sharing xo

  • Oh man, this looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Pinning now.

  • ooh my goodness this sounds amazing!

  • merilyn

    this looks delicious mckel!
    thankyou for sharing these nutritious recipes!
    cheers m:)X

  • This looks and sounds FanTASTYc! I just don’T see this serving 16+ people especially since it’s made with such nutritious ingredients!
    Will definitely Share this and give it a whirl!

    • Hope you enjoy it! It serves that many because it’s calorically dense and very rich! Noted in the blog 😉 You can have larger slices just be mindful!

  • This looks beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  • rae

    mmm this looks and sounds amazing. I see that the eggwhite is optional – how different does this pie turn out (taste, texture) when the eggwhite is not used?

    rae of love from berlin

  • Oh god this pecan pie looks delicious. Craving a slice right now!

  • Hi there! Can’t wait to try this! I can’t eat dates because of their high sugar content. Any suggestions for a replacement?

    • This is a recipe using natural sweeteners and isn’t low-sugar both the dates and maple syrup help bind the crust and filling!

  • Steph

    This looks amazing!! I just bought all of the ingredients and found out my cousin has a tree nut allergy…do you think it will taste just as good with all almonds? Or is there another alternative (knowing it is pecan pie hehe!)

  • Steph

    I should mention, he is not allergic to almonds!

  • It’s a beautiful pie and a very interesting recipe 🙂

  • This is amazing! An actual pie-looking pie without wheat, eggs or sugar! I was already thinking that my only feasible pie options are raw, but this is a very welcome change 🙂

  • Leyanie

    Is there anything I can replace the hemp seeds with in case I can’t buy them?

  • Emily

    Would this be good with canned pumpkin instead of sweet potato? Thank you!

    • If that’s all you have then you can try to use that! Just be mindful of the liquid, pumpkin puree can be a lot thinner than the sweet potato 🙂

  • Christina

    My husband is allergic to oats, any substitute to the oat flour?

    Thanks!

  • Cari

    I know I should have stopped earlier in the week to get the oat flour but I didn’t and now it is just madness out there…. Do I dare enter the store the day before Thanksgiving or can I use whole wheat flour?

  • Lis

    Hi! I am so excited to try this … the store didn’t have rolled out flour. Do you think Bob’s Red Mill gluten Ffee All Purpose baking flour will suffice?

  • I made this just in time for Thanksgiving tomorrow and it came out beautifully! It is so delicious and the fact that it is gluten and dairy free makes it all the more better! So grateful for this recipe and your blog in general, McKel – have a lovely holiday!

    • I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving as well and thank you so much for your kind words! Enjoy 🙂

  • Aimee

    This sweet potato pecan pie looks lovely and I always like to try a new dessert for Thanksgiving. I don’t have enough dates on hand, but was wondering if the crust was necessary for the pie? Can a regular or graham cracker type pie crust work, or is the sweetness in the crust necessary to complement the minimal sweetness in the pie filling? Thanks!

    • Yes, the dates are needed to bind the crust together! If you don’t have any use dried fruit like raisins or something. Using a store bought crust would kind of defeat the purpose of this being whole foods! 😉

  • sam

    I baked the crust for 5 minutes but it’s very squishy still. ..is that how it should be?

  • Ruth

    I made this for our Thanksgiving guests. It was very easy to make and just as yummy.

  • Mandy

    This will be my new go-to pie recipe! I promised a coworker pumpkin pie on black Friday (we were the lucky two in our office that had to be there in case of emergency), so I gave her a slice of this. She’s a picky eater, doesn’t like nuts, and hesitant to try new things, so I told her it was pumpkin and she loved it.

  • Laura

    I made this for thanksgiving and it was a hit! even among my family who does not always eat the healthies 🙂 I also loved that I could eat dessert and not feel guilty!!

    • That’s wonderful Laura, thank you so much for sharing it with your family and sharing the kind words 🙂

  • Jay

    FYI Honey and egg whites are not vegan ingredients! This is not a vegan recipe!

    • It is if you read that those are optional and in the blog post I mention how to make it vegan 😉

  • Samantha

    My husband really dislikes the taste of coconut so we usually use avocado oil or ghee when cooking. Could either of these be used in replacement of coconut oil for this recipe?

    • He’ll never know coconut oil is in it- it doesn’t have a flavor and they’re are specific reasons it’s used, the binding, the healthy fats, and the texture!

  • Mandy

    Sounds delicious! Can I use a flour called Perfect Flour Blend? The ingredients include:
    Sweet brown rice flour
    tapioca starch
    arrowroot powder
    sorghum flour
    xanthan gum

  • Amber

    This was a big hit at Christmas – thank you! On a sad note, the beetroot coconut cookies were not as successful. Any tips on how to make those cookies taste less “beety”?

    • Wonderful! They shouldn’t be too strong of a beet flavor, but definitely taste like a beet! Only option is to use less I suppose 🙂

  • Janet Paula

    When you say 6 oz. baked potatoes do you mean that is the weight before baking or afterwards, after removing the skin? If it is afterwards, what is the weight of the baked sweet potatoe that is used in the pie? I’m asking because I happen to have some baked sweet potatoes in my refrigerator. Thanks.

    • Thankfully this recipe is very forgiving, but I use 6 oz potato, then baked. Hope it helps!

  • Jaimee B

    THANK YOU for this recipe! I made it for Thanksgiving, and it was divine. I cheated and used the Pillsbury gluten-free crust. I also didn’t use ginger or salt but DID use some bourbon vanilla spice that I had. It was a hit! I will definitely keep this in my short list of favorites. 🙂

  • Sandra

    What size pie dish do you use?

    • McKel Hill

      I used a 8-9 inch!

      • Sandra

        Thanks! I thought so from the picture but wasn’t sure.

  • Isabelle

    Going to make this for Thanksgiving tomorrow–can’t wait! Are deglet dates fine instead of medjool? Also do you have a guideline for how much your 6 large medjool dates weighs?

  • Farnaz

    I have hemp seed with the shell one Is it ok to use?, i look forward to make this for tomorrow thanks giving, thanks for sharing the recipe, we are allergic to glutton & dairy & cant wait to eat this treat

  • Farnaz

    I have hemp seed with the shell one Is it ok to use?, i look forward to make this for tomorrow thanks giving, thanks for sharing the recipe, we are allergic to glutton & dairy & cant wait to eat this treat

  • Farnaz

    I have hemp seed with the shell one Is it ok to use?, i look forward to make this for tomorrow thanks giving, thanks for sharing the recipe, we are allergic to glutton & dairy & cant wait to eat this treat

  • Renee

    Hello, this looks amazing! If I made it ahead and froze it, then thawed and heated in the oven… would that work?

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