Made with a creamy coconut milk sauce and topped with oat pecan streusel, this sweet carrot casserole is a delicious and simple recipe! It’s a great vegan option for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, but you can make it at any time of year.
If you’re a veggie enthusiast like me, then you probably agree that the side dishes are the best part about holiday meals! Growing up, my favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table was (and still is) my mom’s sweet potato casserole. It has the BEST pecan brown sugar topping. I can’t wait to eat it in a few weeks!
When brainstorming some veggie-forward recipes for the upcoming season, I thought about that casserole as inspiration. Instead of sweet potatoes, I wondered how carrots would taste in a sweet dish. Then my mind went to coconut milk and finally landed back on chopped pecan streusel.
This sweet carrot casserole is the culmination of my brainstorming process. The carrots are coated in a luscious coconut milk sauce, spiked with cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla, and topped with a combo of oats, pecans, coconut oil, and brown sugar. Can you say YUM? I hope you love this fun twist for a holiday side dish as much as I do! If you love carrot dishes, be sure to check out the Spiced Carrots and Dates for another option.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Carrots: You’ll need 2 pounds, sliced into ½-inch coins. If you wanted to cut back on prep time, I imagine using baby carrots instead would work.
- Coconut milk: Use the unsweetened, full-fat kind that you find in a can (not a carton). I love the Thai kitchen brand. If you wanted to cut back on the fat content, use lite canned coconut milk.
- Coconut oil: To make the roux for the sauce, you’ll combine coconut oil instead of butter with flour. I used virgin/unrefined coconut oil, which has a stronger coconut flavor compared to refined coconut oil. You can use either though.
- Dried cinnamon, dried ginger, salt, and vanilla extract: If you need a substitution, try pumpkin pie spice in lieu of cinnamon and ginger. You could also add a pinch of nutmeg for some extra flavor.
- All-purpose flour: You can use a gluten-free flour if you need the dish to be gluten-free.
- Old fashioned oats: Also known as rolled oats. Look for certified gluten-free if you need them.
- Light brown sugar: YUM.
- Chopped pecans: You could substitute pepitas for a nut-free version if needed.
If you’re looking for the full recipe card for sweet carrot casserole with ingredient quantities and steps, scroll down to the bottom of the post. Here’s a preview of the process to help guide you in the kitchen.
Make the sauce. Whisk together melted coconut oil and flour in a saucepan, then slowly whisk in the coconut milk. Stir in the vanilla and spices.
Combine the rest of the melted coconut oil with the oats, chopped pecans, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir with a fork until clump forms.
Start assembling the casserole by spreading the cooked carrots into a 9×13 baking dish.
Pour the sauce over the carrots. Top with the pecan streusel.
Bake until the carrots and sauce are bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Make Ahead, Storage, and Reheating
You can prep sweet carrot casserole ahead of time a few different ways. If you want to make it a day before you need it, prepare all of the components of the casserole, and combine the steamed carrots and sauce in a baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and keep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. Also prepare the pecan topping, but keep it in a separate container and add to the casserole just before baking.
If you want to make the casserole the morning of a holiday meal or a couple hours ahead of time, you can fully bake it at that point. After removing from the oven, cover with foil and transfer to the refrigerator.
To reheat a pre-baked carrot casserole, place in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F until warmed through. You may want to leave it covered with foil to prevent the pecans from burning.
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Sweet Carrot Casserole
- 9×13 baking dish
For the casserole
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Steam or boil the carrots. If you have a steamer basket, fill a pot with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the steamer basket in the pot, add the carrots, cover, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, you can boil the carrots in a pot of water for 4 to 5 minutes. You want the carrots to be fairly soft but not overly tender. They should still have a little bite to them, since they will finish cooking the oven.
- Make the coconut sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the flour and whisk it with the oil to make a roux. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, whisking the entire time. Continue whisking until the ingredients are well-combined and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, salt, and vanilla. Remove from heat
- In a mixing bowl, add topping ingredients: flour, rolled oats, chopped pecans, packed brown sugar, and melted coconut oil. Add a pinch of salt. Stir together with a fork until it all clumps together.
- Assemble the casserole. Spread the steamed carrots into a 9×13 baking dish. Pour the coconut sauce over the carrots, and mix until coated. Top the casserole with the streusel.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the carrots and sauce are bubbling and the streusel is golden brown.
- Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Prep ahead instructions:
- If you want to prep the casserole the day before/24 hours in advance, prepare all of the components. Assemble the steamed carrots and coconut sauce in the baking dish. Cover with foil and keep in the refrigerator. Put the prepared topping in a separate container. Add the topping just before baking.
- If you want to make the casserole the morning of/a couple hours before a meal, follow all of the instructions and fully bake the casserole. Cover with foil and keep in the refrigerator. To reheat, put in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. You may want to keep the foil on for part of the reheating so that the pecans don’t burn.
- Leftovers will last 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.