Thanksgiving is a day to gather with family and friends and give thanks for all we have. But Thanksgiving is also known as a time to chow down on traditional favorites. Many families sit down with a turkey meal and various side dishes on Thanksgiving, indulging in a hearty meal before relaxing on the couch and watch some football.

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This year, our Thanksgiving will reign in new recipes: vegan style! One of my favorite Thanksgiving dinner staples is sweet potato casserole. This special sweet potato recipe is my unique take on sweet potatoes — packed with Thanksgiving flavors and all of its sugary qualities.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup margarine, vegan (i.e. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, Original)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk, warmed
  • 1 cup pecan halves (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Put the sweet potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer the sweet potatoes to a blender (in batches, if necessary) and puree until smooth.
  2. Scrape the puree into a large bowl. Add half of the margarine, salt, nutmeg, brown sugar and almond milk and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the surface. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Transfer the pecans to a work surface and coarsely chop them. In a bowl, toss the pecans with the panko crumbs, cinnamon and the remaining melted margarine, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 cup of brown sugar. Season with salt.
  4. Remove the foil from the casserole. Spoon small clumps of the topping all over the sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes longer, until the topping is golden and sizzling. Let the casserole stand for 20 minutes before serving.

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