Sweet Potato and Apple Kugel

It’s a bit like a casserole, but growing up, we always called it a Kugel (pronounced koogle where the ‘oo’ sounds like the ‘oo’ in book) and never really questioned the oddity of it — the name or what it was. That it makes the perfect gluten-free, vegan side for holidays and dinner parties only dawned on me when I created this clean and lean version.

Kugels show up at every Jewish holiday in one outfit or another. The New Year saw it as a sweet, casserole treat all noodley and cheesy topped with syrupy strawberry sauce. On Passover, it would be whipped up as a savoury dish with onions and Matzo meal. Around Chanuka, the kugel is generally comprised of  potatoes and served with sour cream (because it is not a true Chanukah celebration without at least a half dozen manifestations of the potato).

The first kugels were made from bread and flour. In the 17th century, sugar was added to the mix. In Poland, Jewish women would sprinkle cinnamon and raisins into the recipe while Hungarians took the dessert to the limits and served it up with a hearty serving of sugar and sour cream. Seems to me that people just don’t know what to do with their kugel anymore, and have made it a free-for-all — throwing all optional ‘toppings’ on the table, allowing the arteries to sort out what to do with this sweet, salty, starchy, sour creamy heart attack in the making.

Rumour has it that today it is not uncommon for the bubbies in the kitchen to accessorize their kugel casseroles with corn flakes, graham cracker crumbs, ground gingersnaps or caramelized sugar and layer the dish with sliced pineapples or apricot jam. Oye vey! This cleaned-up version keeps the deliciousness while tossing out the processed yuck.

Sweet Potato Kugel

Category: Breads + Baked GoodsBreakfastDips + SaucesDips and SaucesKitchen TricksSaladSide DishesSnacks
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 7-8 cups grated sweet potato (about 5-6 sweet potatoes)
  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1 cup  goji berries or raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup quinoa flour or almond meal (for non-Passover times, I opt for brown rice flour)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch each of clove and nutmeg
  • 1 cup water

Topping

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut syrup or maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch each of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (omit topping).
  3. Place in 12 x9 baking dish and flatten firmly with the back of a spatula. This will help it hold together.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. While baking, mix together topping ingredients.
  6. At the 30 minute mark, remove kugle from the oven and sprinkle with pecan mix.
  7. Bake for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving so it will keep together.

Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based author, speaker, nutritionist, and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. She is the author of two best-selling, award winning books, UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health and The UnDiet Cookbook. Meghan has been featured in Forbes, was ranked as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada by PROFIT Magazine, and was named Best Holistic Nutritionist in 2017 and 2018 by National Nutrition. With over ten years in the field, Meghan works tirelessly to empower her global community of Certified Culinary Nutrition Experts to become health leaders in the respective communities. Meet this expert

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3 responses to “Sweet Potato and Apple Kugel

  1. Bethany G

    This looks delicious, and I love that it has no added sugar of any kind! I am on an extremely restrictive low FODMAP, non-dairy, gluten-free, sugar free, candida diet. This recipe is one I could actually eat, apart from the apples. Any suggestions for a fruit other than apple? I wondered about pineapple, though it is a lot more wet than apple.

  2. You could definitely try pineapple instead! You may want to use a little less, but apples are fairly watery too. You could also leave the fruit out and add some extra sweet potato. Let us know how it turns out!

    1. Bethany Goff

      Thank you! I’m going to try it with pineapple for Thanksgiving! :-)

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