Sweet potatoes are delicious all year round, but when the fall weather makes it cool enough to turn on the oven, there’s nothing tastier than roasted sweet potatoes. All by themselves, with just a pinch of salt and some butter or olive oil, they are luscious. As the main ingredient in this pudding, their natural sweetness is set off by rich coconut milk and tangy orange juice.
If you like easy desserts, that don’t involve flour or anything rising, then this one is for you. I’d like to call it a “no-bake dessert,” but technically the sweet potatoes are baked. After that, though, it’s just a matter of putting everything in a food processor and making it into a puree.
Sweet potatoes are a good ingredient to have on hand, not only because of their versatile flavor and texture—they can bulk out a stew, add heft to cakes and muffins, and make a colorful side dish—but also because they’re chock full of wholesome goodness. They’re high in iron, vitamin D, and that orange color means they’re rich in beta-carotene, too. They’re sweet, as their name implies, but their sugar is released slowly into the blood stream, so there’s no spike and crash, which over time can do real damage to the body.
The healthy profile of this dessert gets a boost from vitamin C-rich orange juice, and from coconut milk, a rich source of iron and potassium. Pomegranates are in season now until February or March, so they make a perfectly tart and juicy topping that’s full of antioxidants. There’s a minimal amount of processed sugar in this dessert, but you can eliminate the sugar altogether and use a packet of the plant-based sugar substitute stevia, instead.
Make sure the pudding is chilled thoroughly before eating. If you have time to make this dessert the day before, it’s even better, as the flavors have a chance to deepen while it sits in the refrigerator overnight. The pudding will thicken as it chills.
Sweet Potato Pudding
Makes 2 1/2 cups of pudding
1 large sweet potato, weighing about 1 pound
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a 14-ounce can of coconut milk)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar, or to taste
Grated zest of 1 large orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
Preheat the oven to 375°F, and lightly grease a baking dish.
Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise, and place on the prepared baking dish cut side down. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender. Cool to room temperature, and scoop out the flesh.
Place the sweet potato in the bowl of a food processor. Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously, then measure out 1 cup and add it to the food processor, along with the sugar, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar and salt if desired.
Place the pudding in an airtight container and chill thoroughly before serving. Portion into glasses or bowls, and top generously with pomegranate seeds before serving.
Looking for more healthful dishes? Try these:
Louisa Shafia is the author of The New Persian Kitchen, a book of healthy Mediterranean and Silk Road-inspired recipes, and Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, a collection of seasonal recipes and eco-friendly kitchen tips. See Louisa’s cooking videos and her schedule of upcoming events at lucidfood.com.