This rich holiday side is truly delicious. Starting with baked sweet potatoes, this chestnut stuffed vegan treat is very easy to make, and is a lighter, gluten-free stand-in for a more traditional chestnut stuffing. It is also good Holiday option for those on a bland diet. Although you can boil or roast fresh chestnuts for this, I find that the vacuum-packed work really well and save a lot of fiddly peeling. I do recommend using good extra virgin olive oil to mash into the potatoes as its grassy, peppery flavor adds depth to the sweetness of the potatoes and the richness of the chestnuts.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Grease or line with parchment paper a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish just big enough to hold the potato halves in one layer.
- With a sharp knife, lightly cross–hatch the cut sides of the sweet potatoes. Take 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and with it brush each cut side with oil. Wrap individually in foil and set on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the flesh is soft, and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Raise the heat to 450F.
- Carefully scoop out the flesh from the sweet potatoes into a medium size bowl, making sure not to pierce the skins. Set the skins aside. In a separate bowl mix the breadcrumbs and the rosemary together for the topping. Set aside.
- Tip into the sweet potato flesh the chopped chestnuts, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, a grind or two of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Mash together until well blended. Stuff the reserved skins with this mixture and gently lay them side-by-side in the prepared dish, filling side up. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb topping. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Return to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes or until the topping has colored slightly. Serve.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
If you aren’t on a bland diet, you can mince a medium shallot and sauté it in an extra teaspoon of olive oil and a little salt until just caramelized. Add to the mashed sweet potato along with the chestnuts.
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