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Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy and casserole. Are those two words allowed to be said in the same sentence? Is that blasphemy? I dunno. But I am so going there. 

This is not your grandma’s or your Aunt Bev’s or even your mom’s sweet potato casserole. Nope. This casserole is grown up, souped up, and kicked up. 

No dairy, no cheese, no eggs, no brown sugar, no nuts – just tons of flavor, a hint of spice, lots of protein, and healthy carbs. 

sweet potato casserole side by side

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

As winter slowly releases its grip, recipes like this are getting fewer and far between. I’m craving salads and smoothies and I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

But I had the idea for this recipe a couple of weeks ago and and by no means am I reserving it comfort food season/the holidays. If you’re not in the mood for a casserole right now, just pin this bad boy for a later date.

I can rest easy knowing that I have a dish to bring that will please everybody when that time of year rolls around. And it’s a dish that isn’t going to fatten you up for winter – unless you decide to eat the whole thing by yourself, of course. 

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Layer after layer of oven-roasted sweet potatoes and quinoa combine with a creamy, spicy sauce in this healthy take on a familiar classic.
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (red or white)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water (or a mix of the two)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • ½ head of cauliflower
  • 2 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce from can
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup of water (saved from boiling cauliflower)
  1. Wash cauliflower and chop into smaller florets.
  2. Preheat oven to 415º and line two baking sheets with foil.
  3. Peel sweet potatoes and use a mandolin [or knife] to chop into round slices ¼" thick. Toss with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2-3 teaspoons each of sea salt and pepper until well-coated. Spread sweet potatoes between 2 baking sheets and put them into the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. This is where things get serious – If you play your cards right, you can knock out the prep for the 3 main components of this casserole simultaneously, in under 25 minutes. Boom. You with me?
  5. Add quinoa and broth (or water) to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Decrease to a simmer and stir occasionally, cooking for 20-25 minutes.
  6. In a larger pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add cauliflower florets. Boil for 10-15 minutes until tender.
  7. Add cauliflower florets to blender, along with 2 chipotle peppers, 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from the can, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup of water and blend until smooth. If necessary, add more water to achieve a creamy consistency.
  8. Once sweet potatoes and quinoa are finished cooking, decrease oven temperature to 350º.
  9. Spray an 8"x8" baking dish with olive oil.
  1. Line the bottom with a layer of sweet potatoes.
  2. Add a layer of quinoa.
  3. Add a thin layer of cauliflower sauce, saving plenty for the top layer.
  4. Add another layer of sweet potatoes.
  5. Add another layer of quinoa.
  6. Add a final layer of sweet potatoes.
  7. Pour remaining sauce over top.
  8. Bake 10-15 minutes until heated throughout.




  1. Estelle 18 April, 2015 at 07:23 Reply

    Hi, please tell me what is “adobo” sauce, what can I substitute in the recipe for the sauce as we do not have it in SA?

    • thefitchen 20 April, 2015 at 10:46 Reply

      We use a type of canned chipotle peppers that come in adobo sauce. It is quite easy to find in most grocery stores in the US, I’m not sure where you could find them in South America. You could also puree fresh peppers along with tomatoes, but I would recommend a milder pepper like red bells. In this recipe, the chipotle pepper with adobo adds a nice smoky flavor to the dish.

  2. Scott 29 April, 2015 at 18:09 Reply

    Hello! It looks wonderful. In the steps you mention “broth” with the Quinoa but can water also just be used?


    • thefitchen 4 May, 2015 at 14:48 Reply

      Hi Scott –

      Yep! You can use water instead. The broth just adds some more flavor to the quinoa.

  3. Allison 9 June, 2015 at 03:52 Reply

    You mention reducing the oven temp to 350 degrees but if it’s at 350 to begin with that doesn’t make much sense. Did you mean 450 initially?

    • thefitchen 9 June, 2015 at 05:36 Reply

      Hi Allison –
      You’re right, that doesn’t make much sense! The oven should be at 415 to cook the sweet potatoes, initially. Sorry about the confusion!

    • thefitchen 17 May, 2016 at 13:59 Reply

      Hi Kathleen –

      Instead of adobo and chipotle peppers, you could certainly try roasted red bell peppers and use some of the liquid from the jar. Those wouldn’t be spicy at all!

  4. Holly 23 September, 2015 at 19:41 Reply

    I made this for dinner tonight.

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the abodo
    Cauliflower sauce. My sauce didn’t look as creamy as yours. It grew on me but the flavour was a little weird.

    I’m glad I read the comments because the recipe had a lot of errors. I got this recipe from Pinterest and it would be awesome if the recipe was corrected. Maybe my sauce was different because of a missing ingredient.

    • thefitchen 25 September, 2015 at 14:37 Reply

      Hi Holly –

      I’m so sorry about that. I’ve got all the corrections added in and everything should be correct now. I reviewed the written recipe and realized I mixed a few things up. So, so sorry! As for the adobo flavor, you can definitely leave that out. I’m a fan of spicy and I love that chipotle flavor. You could just use the creamy cauliflower sauce and it would be delicious as well.

  5. Aimee B. 19 October, 2015 at 16:54 Reply

    This looks delicious! I have a question though. The recipe states 2 cups of cooked quinoa, but then requires 4 cups of broth or water, so should it be 2 cups of uncooked quinoa? Thanks!

    • thefitchen 19 October, 2015 at 21:55 Reply

      Hi Aimee –

      Sorry for the confusion! You only need 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and 2 cups of broth or water. When we first published the recipe, there was some confusion with the cooking process of quinoa. The recipe should now read correctly. And no nutritional yeast is used in the recipe.

  6. Aimee B. 19 October, 2015 at 16:57 Reply

    Sorry, I also forgot to ask, how much nutritional yeast is used? I saw someone mention it in the comments, but I don’s see it listed as an ingredient.

  7. Jeff 19 October, 2015 at 21:15 Reply

    I’m confused…someone mentioned nutritional yeast missing and I still don’t see it in the recipe, even though you said that it was updated.

    • thefitchen 19 October, 2015 at 21:52 Reply

      Hi Jeff –

      Mistakenly, the nutritional yeast was accidentally mentioned in the recipe upon first publication. It is not an ingredient in this recipe at all, so you can completely disregard it. Sorry for any confusion!

  8. Vanessa 24 December, 2015 at 15:48 Reply

    Merry Christmas! I just made this for Christmas tomorrow and I had to tell you this is delicious! I’m so happy I found this. I added lentils with the quinoa to add more protein and texture and it was a nice addition. My husband and I love spicy food so this sauce is perfect for us. Delicious!

    • thefitchen 26 December, 2015 at 14:52 Reply

      Hi Vanessa –

      A fellow spice lover in the house – woop!! Nice idea with the lentils… I love them. Merry Christmas to you guys!

  9. Julie 18 January, 2016 at 11:36 Reply

    Yum! Just had a small serving, and it’s so filling.I like Vanessa’s lentil idea. That extra texture would add to it. I love the sauce. I’m thinking of all I can drizzle it on. It would be delish on a black bean burger with avocado.

  10. Kathara 18 February, 2016 at 19:44 Reply

    Has anybody tried this with broccoli instead of cauliflower? I just can’t stand cauliflower, I made one of those cauliflower pizza crusts and it tasted horrible, but I eat broccoli all the time.

    Thanks for sharing,

  11. Veronica 14 April, 2016 at 17:22 Reply

    I made this last night and absolutely loved it! It’s the first thing I’ve seen from y’all and it was so good I’m going to have to try something else!

    • thefitchen 17 May, 2016 at 13:56 Reply

      Hi Veronica –

      I’m so glad you liked the casserole! Definitely dig around on our site – you’ll find plenty more good ideas!

    • thefitchen 22 April, 2016 at 14:14 Reply

      Hi Kristin – I haven’t tried to freeze this casserole, but I assume that would be just fine. I would recommend setting it out to thaw prior to baking.

  12. ELIZABETH 25 April, 2016 at 16:23 Reply

    Made this for lunch today! It was absolutely delicious!! I liked the idea someone had about adding lentils for additional texture. I will try that next time, but it’s so yummy “as is.” Thanks for a great recipe! I ended up using the extra chipotle peppers in my homemade hummus :)

    • thefitchen 25 April, 2016 at 16:33 Reply

      Hi Elizabeth – So glad you liked this recipe! I haven’t tried adding lentils yet but I agree, I bet it’s great. Good idea for using up leftover peppers!

    • thefitchen 17 May, 2016 at 13:49 Reply

      Hi Elizabeth –

      Yay! I’m pumped to hear that you liked the casserole. Thanks for letting us know! Good idea for those leftover peppers. ;)

  13. Debbie 23 August, 2016 at 01:59 Reply

    Just made this for my family and they loved it! I added some meatless crumble to the quinoa mixture and instead of Chile adobo I used pickled jalapenos. Came out sooo good! Thanks for the recipe!

    • thefitchen 25 August, 2016 at 13:54 Reply

      Hi Debbie – Adding the crumble is a great idea to amp up the protein! Thrilled to hear that you and the whole family liked this recipe! :)

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