Pumpkin pie is one of the quintessential sweets of the winter holiday season, and synonymous with American Thanksgiving celebrations because pumpkin is one of our native foods. The bright orange member of the gourd family (which includes zucchini, melons, and cucumbers) is versatile and mild in flavor, which is why, when tucking into a rich wedge of pie, what you’re really tasting is the special holiday spice mélange that marries the warming flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
This year, I’m trying something different by substituting sweet potatoes for pumpkin in my Thanksgiving pie. Why mess with tradition, you ask? Well, sweet potatoes offer the same mild flavor and versatility that pumpkins do, only with a more robust nutritional profile. Sweet potatoes have three times the amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium that pumpkins have, and more than twice as much fiber. And unlike sugar pie pumpkins, which are grown seasonally, sweet potatoes are harvested year-round in warm climates, making it easy to opt for a fresh filling over a prefab canned purée.
When it comes to pie recipes, you can substitute sweet potato for pumpkin in equal measure. To add extra depth of flavor to your finished product, try roasting your potatoes in their skins instead of steaming or microwaving them. This brings out their natural sugars and adds a hint of caramel flavor. This favorite VT recipe can be veganized by increasing the liquid to one cup and upping the corn starch to ¼ cup: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/sweet-potato-pie/.