Simple Maple Cranberry Yams or Sweet Potatoes 🌱 A simply delicious vegan version of a favorite Thanksgiving holiday candied yam side dish. Made with sweet potatoes (yams) and fresh cranberries baked with a citrusy orange and maple glaze and a hint of nutmeg. Enjoy this delish dish anytime you want!
When I was a kid, my mom spent the better part of a week shopping, preparing and cooking our annual Thanksgiving feast for family & friends.
Every year she made the same dishes without changing a single ingredient. Heaven forbid she should try something new, not that she didn't want to. She just knew how much we looked forward to her scrumptious homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy and perfect pumpkin pies. After all, we couldn't imagine breaking from tradition - particularly one that revolved around food and our beloved family recipes.
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How I made our family recipe even better than before.
When I stopped eating meat and dairy, I didn't want to give up my favorite family dishes, so I learned to 'veganize' my mom's prized recipes.
Traditional candied yam recipes, like my mom's, include a lot of butter, brown sugar and marshmallows (most contain gelatin, definitely not vegan). This new & improved vegan rendition is lighter in fat and brighter in flavor. By using a small amount of non-dairy butter and pure maple syrup instead of processed sugar, the rich texture of the yams/sweet potatoes shine through. The addition of fresh cranberries and citrus combine to make a wonderful balance of sweet and tart. A pinch of ground nutmeg provides that subtle hint of spice that says "Happy Holidays". I know my mom would agree, it's simply delish!
Here's why we love this recipe
- It's simply delicious!
- So easy to prepare
- Lower in fat and sugar than traditional candied yams or sweet potatoes
- Kids love it
- Can be prepared a day in advance
- Looks and smells amazing!
- Perfect for Thanksgiving or any day
Ready to make a batch of the best maple cranberry yams? Let's do this!
🥕See the printable recipe below for quantities & complete details
- Yams - sweet potatoes
- Cranberries - fresh, whole (substitute with dried cranberries)
- Orange juice
- Orange zest - (can be substituted with lemon zest)
- Butter - vegan
- Maple syrup
- Nutmeg - ground (or substitute with pumpkin pie spice)
- Walnuts or pecans - (optional)
This recipe is so simple to prepare and quite flexible. Depending on your tastes and dietary needs of your guests, you can add or subtract ingredients. Here are a few ideas as food for thought.
- Pumpkin spice
- Fresh or canned pineapple cubes
- Vegan marshmallows - I like this brand
- Wash & slice yams into thirds.
2. Place in a 5 quart or larger pot. Cover with water & lid. Boil until tender.
3. Strain yams in colander.
4. Remove peels from yams (they should come off easily). Slice yams into ½" thick rounds.
5. Coat bottom of baking dish with small amount of vegan butter.
6. Arrange ½ of the yam slices in a single layer in bottom of dish.
7. Add a small dab of butter to each.
3. Place cranberries in between yam slices. Sprinkle with a small amount of nutmeg & drizzle with ⅓ of the maple syrup over the yams.
9. Repeat one more layer. Pour orange juice between yams. Sprinkle with orange zest (and chopped walnuts or pecans if desired).
10. Bake at 375ºF for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining maple syrup & sprinkle with orange zest. Bake for 5 additional minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to set for a few minutes.
Oh, the aroma of baked cranberries, orange, nutmeg and maple is amazing!
🥕 Serving Suggestions
This recipe for vegan maple cranberry yams (sweet potatoes) makes the perfect Thanksgiving or holiday side dish. The mellow and lightly sweet maple flavor of the baked yams along with the bright citrusy tang of fresh orange juice and zest combined with tart of cranberries pairs beautifully with savory dishes.
Who wouldn't love to dig into this beautiful plate of the best vegan mushroom seitan Wellington, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, classic green bean casserole, and simple homemade vegan bread stuffing?
You may have noticed I keep referring to yams & sweet potatoes interchangeably. There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. Many of us assume that yams are large, dark reddish-colored tubers with deep orange flesh and sweet potatoes are smaller and lighter in hue. Even the signage in grocery store produce aisles often label the big darker red ones as ‘yams’. I'd never given it much thought until I started a recipe blog. So I googled it and found out that what I've always known as yams are, in fact, sweet potatoes. True yams are starchy, pale, edible roots with rough bark-like skins and not nearly as sweet as sweet potatoes. All I know is I grew up calling them yams and this is one time I'm not breaking with tradition.
Yes they are! According to this article in TIME:
All potatoes are nutrient-dense and healthy for you. But sweet potatoes—the orange, yellow and purple varieties of the root vegetable—are lower in calories and carbohydrates than the average spud. They’re also higher in vitamin A, an antioxidant that boosts immunity and helps you maintain healthy skin and vision. One sweet potato provides far more than 100% of your recommended daily allotment of vitamin A, per the USDA.
Cover baked yams with food grade plastic wrap or in a covered air-tight container and keep cold in a refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave in 30 second increments or in a 300℉ oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.
If you love this recipe ★★★★★ please be sure to rate it below! Sharing your experience lets me know that you enjoyed it and will help other readers decide if they should give the recipe a try too. Thanks a bunch!🥕
Need more ideas for your Thanksgiving menu?
Simple Maple Cranberry Yams or Sweet Potatoes
- 5 qt or larger covered stovetop pot
- strainer or colander
- 9" x 13" rectangular baking dish or large round baking dish
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- ½ cup cranberries whole fresh
- 2 tablespoon non-dairy butter
- 4 tablespoon maple syrup reserve 1 tbsp
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoon orange zest reserve 1 tbsp
- Wash yams (sweet potatoes) and cut into thirds. Leave skins on.
- Place yams in 5 qt. (or larger) pot. Cover with water (about 2" above yams). Cover with lid.
- Place pot on stove over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to med-high, maintaining a steady boil. Allow yams to cook for approx. 15 -18 minutes until just tender. Test by inserting a sharp tip knife.
- Remove from heat. Carefully pour off water and drain yams in a colander or strainer. Allow to cool down for a few minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Once the yams are cool enough to touch, use the tip of a paring knife to cut a very shallow slice down one side of the skins. Pull the skins away from the yams. They should come off very easily.
- Cut yams into ½" rounds.
- Spread a small amount of butter on the bottom of baking dish.
- Place one layer of yam rounds in the bottom of the dish.
- Add a small dab of butter on each yam round.
- Sprinkle a small amount of nutmeg on each.
- Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest on each.
- Place whole fresh cranberries in between each yam round.
- Lightly drizzle about ⅓ of the maple syrup over all.
- Repeat by adding another layer of yams, butter, nutmeg, zest, cranberries & maple syrup.
- Gently pour orange juice over all.
- Cover with foil and bake at 375° for 25 minutes, until juices are bubbling and cranberries are soft. Remove foil.
- Drizzle remaining maple syrup over all and sprinkle with remaining orange zest. Continue baking uncovered for additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
🥕Variations - feel free to substitute or add any of the following
- Fresh cranberries - replace with dried cranberries
- Orange zest - replace with lemon zest
- Cloves (use sparingly, just a pinch - cloves can pack a punch)
- Pumpkin spice
- Chopped walnuts or pecans
- Vegan marshmallows
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.