Naked Holiday Recipe: Grain-free Sweet Potato Pie

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Photo taken from our kitchen! (What can I say, we’re food people, not camera people. . . )

This holiday recipe is a little variation on the traditional pumpkin pie. For one, it’s made with sweet potatoes (well, officially they’re yams but many stores mistakenly label them as sweet potatoes and most of us think of them as such). For another, we’ve made this with a nut crust, rather than your typical pie crust. This solves the gluten problem and also makes the recipe a synch to make. It’s also got far less sugar than your average pie, and we’ve used maple syrup as our sweetener.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!


  • 2 cups raw almonds (even better, soak and dehydrate them first)
  • 2 cups raw pecans (again, even better: soak and dehydratethem first)
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon butter
  • 3 dates, pitted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups pre-cooked and peeled sweet potatoes/yams (we bake them in an oven at 375° for 30-35 minutes – this is something you can do a few days before while you’re making another meal that uses the oven)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons grade B or C maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 350°

Nut Pie Crust

2. Combine almonds, pecans, 1 tablespoon of the butter, dates, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in the food processor. Pulse several times until well combined.

3. Rub remaining ½ teaspoon of butter onto the pie pan to grease well. Spoon the dough into the pie pan (it will be crumbly – this is very different from working with your normal pie dough) and press into the bottom and sides of the pan using your hands. Cover the pan evenly with dough, keeping the thickness as even as possible. Wetting your fingers makes this much easier.

4. Combine the sweet potato, egg, maple syrup, remaining vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sea salt into the food processor. Pulse until well blended. You may need to pause and scrape down the sides occasionally.

5. When nicely blended, spoon the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Bake in the oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

It’s absolutely delicious served with some real whipped cream made from raw cream.

photo credit


  1. Wendy


    My grain free crusts tend to be sticky on the bottom and burned on the edges. What am I doing wrong?
    Also, the darker “yams” which I have sometimes head called jewel yams seem to be sweeter, therefore needing less sweetener than the lighter colored ones. Am I imagining this? I always thought the dark ones were yams and the light ones sweet potatoes. Are they all yams? Is there no such thing as a sweet potato?

    • Wendy – re: yam vs. sweetpotato – often they’re mislabeled, and now reading Lisa’s comment I’m realizing I often don’t know the difference myself! For the grain free crusts Chef James’ would be best to answer that. What are you using in the crust and how are you baking it? It could be a temperature thing.

  2. Margaret,
    This looks like a great sweetpotato pie, and I can’t wait to try it!
    A quick note: the yam/sweetpotato thing is backwards: all the tubers we get in the supermarkets in the US are really sweetpotatoes. They are often labeled yams, but true yams are very different, and usually only available in urban markets with a wide ethnic diversity of shoppers. Jewel yams, garnet yams… all sweetpotatoes.

    I love that you put out this recipe, and I’ll share it with my readers!

    Lisa, Y’Ambassador

  3. julia


    I concur with Margaret. The sweet potatoes and yams in non-ethnic markets are really all sweet potatoes. There are lighter sweet potatoes and darker sweet potatoes, but all are technically sweet potatoes. I prefer the darker ones, sometimes called garnet yams. Its possible that because they are darker, they are more nutritious. I find them to often be sweeter.

  4. julia


    Oops, I mean, I concur with Lisa. : )

  5. Yeah, it’s a funny thing. They are legally interchangeable terms in the US. So when we get our cases of them for processing, the boxes all say both “yams” and “sweet potatoes” on them.

    As white North Americans, most of us have pretty much never eaten a true yam. I got to once, at a musical thing here for a visiting Cuban band. With all due respect, I don’t need to do it again. This particular version was kinda clear, and gummy, and wet. Small roots, made into a celebrated cultural dish. Others, in African countries (I’ve only seen pictures) can be massive, small, white, yellow, purplish, dry, mucilaginous, grainy… As I understand it, millions of people all over the world rely on this staple. I’m grateful they have it, and… apparently the orange-fleshed sweetpotato as we know it here is being introduced to a lot of African countries as the nutritious powerhouse that it is.

    Myself, I’m an orange-fleshed yammy girl all the way! Love them so much I’m building a business out of them!

    Happy pie season… yum, yum, yum!

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