Sweet Potato Crumble Bars (gluten-free, vegan)

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Hi there! Did American readers have a good Thanksgiving weekend? Mine was fantastic, spent with family and friends eating wonderful food, laughing a lot, and crocheting my brains out.

Our family Thanksgiving feast was quite incredible this year, boasting 25 people. My mom is now avoiding gluten and dairy as well (GO MOM!!!!), and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of great stuff to eat that others would enjoy too. Between what we cooked and what everyone else brought, the quantity of food that sat upon the two buffet tables is almost embarassing in its bounty.  Rather than listing everything present that day, I'll share the allergy-friendly, gluten-free foods that made an appearance and had everyone smiling...

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  • Cashew Pumpkin Seed "Cheese" with Apple-Cranberry Sauce and Sesmark Brown Rice Crackers
  • crudités with red pepper hummus
  • smoked turkey from Neuske's
  • roasted turkey with flourless gravy (gravy made the same way as this one)
  • beef tenderloin with mushrooms and onions
  • mashed rutabaga and parsnips
  • Rutabaga Apple Salad
  • umeboshi plum vinegar quick-pickled beets
  • pan-seared green beans with lemon oil
  • wild rice and vegetable pilaf
  • more Apple-Cranberry Sauce (I love cranberry sauce....)
  • Sweet Potato Crumble Bars 

Are we lucky, or what?  My plate was bursting. I haven't eaten this well at Thanksgiving in YEARS.  Even before I went gluten-free I didn't enjoy Thanksgiving this much. The meal was almost as awesome as my Thanksgiving dinner headpiece.  I think it is rather like Carmen Miranda gone harvest-time, don't you? 

harvest portrait

To share the bounty of my beautiful Thanksgiving feast, I'm posting three of these recipes with you this week: Cashew Pumpkin Seed "Cheese", Apple-Cranberry Sauce, and Sweet Potato Crumble Bars. All of these dishes were devoured at the meal, especially by my grandparents, who asked for leftovers!

I'm kicking it off with the Sweet Potato Crumble Bars. Not only will these bars be perfect for any of your wintertime get-togethers, they also fit the rules for this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, which features  none other than my favorite orange root this month.  These bars, which are, quite truthfully, like little nuggets of heaven.  They are a truly whole foods dessert that you can feel good about eating - and they even pack a ton of protein with each bite!

And by the way, if you're a sucker for sweet potato desserts, you might also like my Sweet Potato Pie with Seedy Amaranth Crust.

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Sweet Potato Spice Crumble Bars

yield 1 9"x13" pan

Crumble

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • optional: 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • pinch salt
  • optional: 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, or other liquid sweetener

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch/flour
  • 6 Tbsp cold coconut oil or butter
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ice cold water

Filling

  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups sweet potato puree (from 4 large, baked sweet potatoes, about 3 1/2 - 4 pounds)
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (yes, beans - trust me)
  • 8 pitted and chopped medjool dates, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened hemp milk this time, but have used coconut, rice, and cashew also. Any non-dairy milk should work)
  • stevia liquid, to taste (I think I used between 40 and 50 drops)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract or flavoring
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Bake the potatoes

Prick each potato a few times and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350º F, until soft. Remove from oven and let cool while making crust.  Leave oven on.

HINT: soak dates now if you haven't already!

Prepare the crumble and the crust

Lightly toast 3/4 cashews in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, and remove from heat. Then toast 2 cups of oats, and remove from Heat. Set aside until cooled slightly.

Make the crumble first by placing 1/4 cup oats and 1/4 cup cashews and in the food processor/Vitamix and lightly chop, leaving coarse "crumbly" chunks. Mix in a bowl with remaining 1/4 oats and other crumble ingredients, and set aside.  

To make the crust, place remaining cashews and oats in food processor/Vitamix and grind until fine, like flour. It's okay if there are still a few chunks. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining dry crust ingredients. Then cut in cold oil, until you have a course, dry, crumbly dough. Add water and mix until just sticky. Pat evenly into the bottom of a lightly oiled 9"x13" pan.  Rinse out the food processor/vitamix.

Make the filling

Peel the cooled potatoes and place in the food processor/vitamix. Process until smooth, scraping sides as needed.  Remove excess potato puree, and then add remaining filling ingredients and puree until totally smooth. 

Bake!

Spread the filling over the crust and bake in the preheated 350º F oven for 40 minutes.   Then sprinkle crumble over surface and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Let cool completely before eating; filling will thicken. Store in the refrigerator. I like these best after they are cooled completely in the fridge, then allowed to sit out for about 30 minutes before eating.  Slice and serve. Best eaten with a fork.  

NOvember SOS Kitchen CHallenge Submissions: Sweet Potatoes

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