I really, really wanted to make “Paleo Mac n’ Cheese”. Really. Then I went to the market and of course, they were all out of spaghetti squash. Luckily, my brain sprang into problem-solver mode and I thought, “What about shredded sweet potatoes?” I think the end result came out better than spaghetti squash ever would have, though you could surely make the sauce and pair it with pre-roasted squash. The sweet potatoes got crispy on top, while the bottom was creamy and bubbling with yummy sauce. Serious comfort food and it’s dairy-free.
The hardest part about making this dish is getting the consistency of the sauce just right. Too thick and it’ll be gummy or leave the dish too dry. Too thin and it’ll be a runny mess. I used three techniques to thicken my sauce: 1) reduction – slowly simmering the sauce until some of the water was driven off from the coconut milk; 2) arrowroot powder – a similar thickening agent to cornstarch; and 3) cold butter added at the end. If you don’t eat butter, just leave it out.
This dish is definitely a once in a while treat since it’s pretty calorically dense, but it really hit the spot!
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 45 min Makes: 13″ x 9″ dish
- 1-2 large yellow sweet potatoes (~5 cups shredded)
- 13.5 oz (400 mL) can of full fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp minced shallot (or onion)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1 Tbsp butter, optional
- 2-3 Tbsp ground almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with coconut oil or your fat of choice. Set aside.
- Peel and shred the sweet potatoes using a food processor with shredder blade or a box grater. Set aside.
- Mince the shallot very finely. You can use onion if you cannot find shallots.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium low heat, combine the coconut milk and shallots. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the coconut milk starts to reduce.
- Whisk in the nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt and paprika. Then add the arrowroot powder and whisk well until combined and slightly more thickened. Finish by whisking in about a tablespoon of cold butter (optional). Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Add the potatoes to the baking dish and pour the sauce on top. Stir to combine. Top with ground almonds.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is bubbly. Turn on the broiler to high. Broil for about 5 minutes until the very top of the potatoes gets a bit crisp and browned – watch them so they don’t burn though!