Sweet Potato “Crostini” for The Ultimate Vegan Thanksgiving Feast
I am so excited to announce that I have collaborated with Jocelynne of @jocelynneflor, Krystal Anne of @the.compassionate.life and Jane of @plantbasedjane for THE ULTIMATE VEGAN THANKSGIVING FEAST! We will be sharing recipes all week long in celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving. We’ve been busy in our kitchens veganizing traditional holiday dishes, to bring you recipes that you can feel good about serving since they are 100% cruelty-free and equally delicious! Today, we will be sharing our appetizer and side dish recipes to start your Vegan Thanksgiving Feast on the right foot. Check back this Wednesday for our main dishes and Friday for dessert.
Be sure to check out the yummy recipes that were shared today as part of this collaboration:
I know that it can be tough if you're the only vegan at the table, but in my experience bringing a dish or two to share is a great strategy. Not only will you have something to eat, but you can also show your friends and family that vegan food can be delicious and satisfying. Preparing a dish to share is also a friendly, non-threatening way give non-vegans a taste - pun intended - of how great vegan food can truly be!
Today I am sharing my recipe for Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Avocado-Pesto and Pomegranate. I have received requests for oil-free recipes and so I am very excited to share this one as absolutely no oil is needed. This recipe is so easy to put together, and you can even make everything the day before and assemble when you're ready to serve.
sweet potato toast
#SweetPotatoToast has been on trend lately. You can literally "toast" the slices in a standard toaster, or in a toaster oven. I have seen so many variations of toppings, from sweet jams, banana slices and nut butters, to savoury salsas and spreads - the options are virtually endless. I was inspired to try out this trend, however, my toaster is on the smaller size, so for this recipe I simply baked my sweet potato slices in the oven, without oil. My oven did the trick and they came out nice and "toasty".
I love the idea of swapping sweet potatoes in place of bread, as it makes for a gluten and grain free option that is packed with nutrition. You might be surprised to learn that sweet potatoes are actually unrelated to the common potato, and are instead part of the morning glory family and grow on vines. They are also much more nutritious and are an excellent source of antioxidants. The more orange, the more abundant the beta carotene, which is the plant form of vitamin A - beneficial for the skin, eyes and lungs. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system. The sugars in the potatoes are easily digestible, making them good for any inflammation in the gut, and also makes for a good source of energy.*
You could really serve the sweet potato "crostini" rounds in my recipe below with any topping that you’d similarly serve on top of crostini. I’ve paired these “crostini” rounds with an avocado-pesto that’s super easy to whip up and you can even customize the spices to your preference.
For many years herbs have been used to help preserve foods, to protect them from microbial contamination. Research has shown that herbs can help us too as they contain chemicals that fight off infectious microbes. Eugenol and apigenin, which is found in basil, parsley and rosemary, have anti-inflammatory properties.*
For the basil pesto in this recipe, I've used fresh basil from my organic garden. Alternatively, you can use 1 to 2 tablespoons of Sunflower Kitchen's Basil Pesto in place of the fresh basil. The pesto is made with sunflower oil, so it's not oil free, however, it is super tasty and made with clean ingredients. As a side note, Sunflower Kitchen also makes, in my opinion, the best hummus in the city!
Pomegranates are an antioxidant-rich superfood containing super high amounts of punicalagin. You’ll often see pomegranate in beauty products for their healing properties, boasting benefits including skin cell regeneration, protecting against free radical damage (think sun damage, cancer and sunburn), combating dry skin, aid in the repair of tissues, healing wounds and encouraging circulation to skin which is healing.
Consuming pomegranate also provides your whole body with these healing, antioxidant healthful benefits. It has been found to protect cardiovascular health - consuming pomegranate juice can act as a blood thinner and helps to remove plaque from the arteries. Research has found that consuming pomegranate juice can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol!
Removing the arils from a pomegranate can be messy business, especially if you’re wearing a light coloured shirt. A quick tip for removing the arils is to cut the pomegranate in half, fill a big bowl with cold water and remove the arils while you submerge half of a pomegranate under the water. The pith will float to the top and you will avoid splashing juice everywhere too.
Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Avocado-Pesto + Pomegranate
3 medium sweet potatoes
For the Avocado-Pesto:
2 ripe avocados
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup fresh basil (or 1 to 2 tablespoons of Sunflower Kitchen's Basil Pesto)
1 to 2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes)
Pink Himalayan salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Pomegranate arils for garnish
(use organic ingredients)
1. Preheat oven to 400 °F (200°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper. For this recipe I used compostable Parchment Baking Sheets from If You Care.
2. Throughly wash sweet potatoes and thinly slice into rounds of about 1/4” (about 1/2 cm) thickness, being mindful not to cut the rounds too thin. Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets.
3. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip and return to oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the rounds are golden on the outside, while still tender on the inside.
4. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, prepare the avocado-pesto. In a food processor, combine the avocado, lemon juice, fresh basil, garlic, cayenne pepper, Pink Himalayan salt and fresh cracked pepper. Blend until smooth, scrape down the sides of the processor container to ensure that everything is well combined.
Note: If you're using a pre-made vegan pesto you will not need to use a food processor, instead mix the above listed ingredients in a bowl and adjust the spices as necessary, as the pesto may already include a lot of spice.
5. To assemble the crostini, top each sweet potato with a dollop of avocado-pesto and garnish with pomegranate arils.
Happy Vegan Thanksgiving!
This is not a sponsored post. The parchment paper from If You Care was kindly gifted for recipe development. Any of the products mentioned in this post are unpaid endorsements. I only share products that I personally use and that are made with the highest integrity.
To work with Avra and Love Wild Live Free on collaborations, sponsored posts and reviews please get in touch on the Contact page!
*Savona, Natalie. Wonderfoods: The Best Nutrition and Recipes for Optimum Health. London: Quadrille Limited, 2006. Print.