Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Black Walnuts

In my ongoing quest to create real-food Thanksgiving dishes, I have done a number of different variations on a theme with sweet potatoes–honey and orange glazed chunks, my baked version with Cranberry Butter, and any number of varieties of whipped, mashed, and riced dishes.  Marshmallows never enter the picture.  However, this newest version, using Vermont Creamery’s Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche, has an intense vanilla flavor that reminds me of what I like about the marshmallow versions–but with a beautifully creamy texture, and some savory crunch added by butter-toasted black walnuts nestled on the top.  The crème fraîche is loaded with real vanilla bean, and very lightly sweetened with sugar.  Vermont Creamery is also sponsoring a great giveaway of some of their cultured dairy products–details at the end of the post.

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Black Walnuts

This is one of two posts I am doing for the “Keep it Fraîche” campaign, along with fellow bloggers Christine, from Cook The Story, Sam, from Sweet Remedy, and Carey, of Reclaiming Provincial.  Be sure to check out their beauriful recipes! For a couple of years now I have been avoiding all low-fat, non-cultured dairy, but cultured, full-fat dairy is a mainstay in my kitchen.  If you find that you have some lactose issues, you might be like me, and discover that cultured dairy works well with your system.  The culturing process removes most or all of the lactose, depending on the product.  Crème fraîche is a wonderful product to thicken sauces without adding grains, and I use it in soups, sauces, and desserts.

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Black Walnuts
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Creme Fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons Vermont Creamery Lightly Salted Cultured Butter
  • 1/3 cup black walnut pieces
  1. Roast the sweet potatoes until soft. I roast them at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, but the time will depend on the size of the potatoes. When you can easily insert the tip of a knife into the center of a potato, it is ready.
  2. Let the sweet potatoes cool just enough to handle. Remove the skins and cut them into large chunks. Add the chunks to the food processor, along with the salt, vanilla, and creme fraiche. Pulse until the mixture is smooth, and then transfer to a serving bowl. Note: You may also mash or rice the potatoes, if you do not have a food processor.
  3. In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the black walnut pieces and let them warm in the butter, stirring frequently. When the walnuts begin to smell a little toasty, remove from heat and pour them over the sweet potatoes.

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Black Walnuts

Note that if you cannot find the Madagascar Vanilla version, you may substitute plain crème fraîche and add in a tablespoon of honey and the interior seeds from half of a vanilla bean.  Similarly, if you cannot find black walnuts (or do not like them–I realize there are people who do not…) you can substitute pecan or English walnut pieces.  Or, skip them all together and just go for the creamy, vanilla-rich sweet potatoes.

Now, on to the giveaway!

Giveaway has ended!  Congratulations to Angela W., who won the Vermont Creamery gift set.

Vermont Creamery is going to send one lucky reader a gift set of crème fraîche and cultured butter products, including both the plain and Madagascar Vanilla versions.  Also included: some of their really amazing cultured butter (regular, plus the sea salt and maple verion, made with the addition of maple sugar–which I slathered on some of my grain-free sweet potato pancakes), a box of crème fraîche truffles (!!), and a “Keep it Fraîche” shirt.  To enter, follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form.

Disclosure: Vermont Creamery sent me samples of their cultured dairy products to use for recipe testing, and they are providing this reader giveaway.  No other compensation was provided for this post, and all opinions are my own, and genuine.

Thanks for reading,


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  1. What isn’t better with crème fraiche? I’d make a fool with homemade cranberry-orange jam, layered with crème fraiche whipped cream.

    1. That sounds fabulous–and I cannot argue with your logic.

  2. I’ve been trying to convince my husband that cultured, pastured dairy products are better than, say, the pale yellow Land O Lakes butter he likes to buy. It’s an uphill battle.

    1. Oh, you should have him try some of their butter–it is impossibly good. The sea salt maple is to. die. for.

  3. So looking forward to trying this recipe. I am admittedly a crème fraiche novice and this may be the best way for me to get my tastebuds wet!

    1. Oooooo…I think you would love it…

  4. One of My favorite local companies!

    1. I totally envy you Vermont folks.

  5. These sweet potatoes look like they would taste like candy. I want to try them

    1. They are pretty tasty, hope you like!

  6. You know I want to win this….I want to make these yummy potatoes and more!

  7. Who knew sweet potatoes could be so elegant…what a dreamy dish!

    1. Thanks, Bonnie!

  8. I don’t usually like sweet potatoes, but this recipe sounds amazing.

    1. Thanks, Amanda!

  9. I love this twist on the classic casserole. Sweet Potato Casserole is not something that I grew up with in Canada and so I haven’t ever fallen in love with it. But I know I could swoon over this one for sure.

    1. I grew up with the marshmallow-y type, and I have to say I like this better…

  10. […] The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been chosen at random. Congrats to Karen D! Please check your email for further information/instructions about getting your Crème Fraîche prize package! Thanks to everyone who entered. You have more chances to win by entering at Seasonal & Savory on her Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Black Walnuts Post. […]

  11. I would definitely make your cranberry cream tart… it looks so heavenly! Probably a crème fraîche cheesecake as well.

    1. Ooooooh. Cheesecake sounds good.

  12. […] Pig Smokey Sweet Potato Souffle from Noble Pig Sweet Potato Noodle Kugel from Rhubarb and Honey Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Black Walnuts from Seasonal & Savory Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans from The Law Student's Wife […]

  13. I am making these for my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I can’t wait for the guests to be wowed by these! Do you think I can make them a few hours ahead of time and serve them room temperature? Or what would be the best way to rewarm them? Thanks!

    1. Hi Angie: You can definitely make these ahead of time and then just re-heat them (they would work in the microwave). They would be good at room temp, too, but they reheat very well. I hope everyone likes them!

  14. This looks like a great side for anytime of year. I’d love it with spicy grilled salmon.

  15. […] Vanilla Bean Sweet Potatoes with Black Walnuts from Seasonal and Savory […]

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