#Friends-giving: Our Favorite Side Dishes

For our friends-giving potluck, we thought of jazzing up some classic recipes using two of our favorite flavors, coconut and maple. Our tropical sweet potato casserole and maple brussel sprout recipes are gonna knock your socks off, guaranteed. I think the key difference here is every thing is made with the freshest ingredients, and from scratch. No corners were cut here, but it was totally worth it! 

Sweet Potato Casserole with Coconut Marshmallow

What you’ll need to prepare the sweet potatoes:

4 pounds of sweet potatoes*

1 1/2 cup granulated coconut sugar* ( half cup for pecan mixture)

½  cup maple syrup*

2 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract*

2 cups raw pecans*

1/4 cup pink Himalayan sea salt

What you’ll need to prepare the coconut marshmallow topping:

3 packages of unflavored gelatin ( You can use vegan gelatin if you can find it, I didn't even at Wholefoods, but this is a once a year thing. Plus, in my opinion vegan gelatin isn't really much better for your health—at the end of the day neither is a marshmallow.)

1 ½ cup granulated sugar*

1 cup light corn syrup*

¼ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp coconut extract*

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting*

Preheat the oven to 400˚F

Start by peeling the sweet potatoes and cutting them into thick slices.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with coconut oil. Place slices evenly on sheet and bake for about an hour or until tender.

In a food processor combine the tender sweet potatoes, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth, but not too much that it becomes a puree.

In a food processor, pulse chop the pecans, 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and Himalayan sea salt. Then combine the sweet potato mixture by folding in the pecan crumble.

Once combined, cover and set aside until the marshmallow is ready to be placed on top.

Marshmallows are made out of warm and fuzzy feelings, sweet dreams and the following...

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and set aside to allow it to do it’s thing while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240˚ F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. (This will can be a really messy step if you are not careful to keep the candy syrup in the mixing bowl, but warm water dissolves it if you get it all over your counter, clothes, or skin.) Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick— about 10-15 minutes. Add the coconut extract and mix until the mixture is fluffy and white.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Using a spatula dusted with powdered sugar, pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered for 6-8 hours or until the mixture dries.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them into a size that fits the inside of your casserole dish. Dust them with more confectioners' sugar to prevent stickiness.

Place sheets of coconut marshmallow over casserole and bake in the oven at 350˚F for about 10 minutes or until marshmallow is bubbling up. Top with shredded coconut for added a tropical crunch.

Friends-giving dinner was a huge success, and this casserole was such a highly anticipated treat I was unable to snap a picture before it was devoured by my hungry mob of my loved ones! 

Crispy Maple Brussel Sprouts


What you’ll need:

1 pound fresh brussel sprouts

2 shallots

½ white onion*

4 cloves minced garlic*

2 tbsp coconut oil*

1/4 cup maple syrup*

2 tbsp liquid aminos (Bragg brand is the best)

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Start by chopping off the brussel sprout stems, and halving the sprout to expose the layers of tiny leaves.

In a large bowl add in the maple syrup, and liquid aminos to make the marinade. Then toss in the halved brussel sprouts and coat with the yummy marinade. Make sure you get all the leaves that fall off during the chopping process in the bowl— these will crisp up and taste incredible.

Allow a large sauce pan to heat up at about a medium-high setting, place coconut oil and  minced garlic, shallots, and white onion. Cook these until they are tender but be careful not to burn them.  Add the brussel sprouts which should sizzle and pop once they touch the pan. Salt and pepper to taste then mix them around until you have some browning on leaves and the sprouts are sweating out their moisture.

Transfer into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, coat with a little coconut oil if you’d like, and make sure you grab all minced garlic and onion out of the pan and onto the baking sheet. Bake at 350˚F for about 15-20 minutes or until they look caramelized and crispy.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! They were made with lots of love, and grateful hands.