These vegan sweet potato spelt garlic knots are soft, pillowy, and comforting. They bake up warm and puffy, and their knotted exteriors are slathered with garlic-infused, parsley-flecked olive oil.
These garlic knots make a flavorful accompaniment to a dinner spread but will satisfy just the same all on their own.
In a pinch, they can even be sliced in half and put to use as the flavorful bookends in your favorite veggie sandwich.
Other than the patience needed to endure a bit of inactive wait time (sweet potato steaming, rise time) and a bit of dough knotting, they demand little in the way of effort. Plus, they require just 9 ingredients total (salt, water, and olive oil included).
Just be sure to prepare ahead of time—because of the inactive steaming and rising time required, they take about 2 ½ hours from start to finish.
To make these vegan sweet potato garlic knots, you'll start by steaming 1 ¼ cups of peeled sweet potato. Once the sweet potato is fork-tender, transfer it to a food processor and purée it.
In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, pure maple syrup, and yeast. Once a foam develops on the surface, add the mixture to the food processor along with the spelt flour, a bit of olive oil, and a generous pinch of sea salt.
Pulse the mixture several times and then process for 15 seconds, or until the dough begins to form a loose ball on one side of the food processor.
Then, turn the dough out onto a clean, flour-dusted work surface, and knead it for 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes, or until it's smooth and springy. Just be careful not to over-knead—spelt's fragile gluten structure means it requires less kneading (yay). However, over-kneading spelt-based dough will yield dry, crumbly baked goods (nay).
Moral of the spelt story: go easy on the stuff and you'll be rewarded with pillowy soft rolls.
Once you've finishing kneading, transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, loosely cover, and allow it to rise in a warm and cozy place for one hour.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured surface, divide it into three equal pieces, and gently knead each for a few seconds.
Roll each piece into a rectangle and divide into strips like so...
Then, one at a time, roll each strip into a rope, and gently tie it in a knot.
Repeat, transferring the dough knots to a lined baking sheet like so...
Loosely cover the knots with parchment paper and allow them to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Then, bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the rolls have golden-brown bottoms and are just beginning to turn golden on top.
Meanwhile, prepare the garlic-parsley oil. Add a bit of olive oil, four cloves minced garlic, a handful of minced parsley, and a bit of sea salt to a saucepan.
Heat over low for a few minutes, or until the garlic mellows and softens.
Finally, brush the tops of the baked knots with as much of the garlic-parsley oil as desired and enjoy.
These vegan sweet potato spelt garlic knots are best served fresh from the oven, but can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated, too.
Vegan Sweet Potato Spelt Garlic Knots
- 1 ¼ cups (7.5oz or 212g) peeled and small-diced (⅓-inch cubes) sweet potato
- ¾ cup warm water (105˚F to 115˚F)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 3 ¼ to 3 ½ cups white spelt flour, plus more as needed and for dusting*
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing and brushing
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ to ⅓ cup flatleaf parsley, minced
- The sweet potato needs to be measured precisely, so go by weight or ensure you have exactly 1 ¼ cups of small-cubed potato.
- Steam the diced sweet potatoes in a steamer or steamer basket for 30 minutes, or until fall-apart tender. (Do not steam them in the microwave, because it will dry out the sweet potatoes out rather than infusing them it with moisture.)
- Add the steamed sweet potatoes to a food processor and process for 1 minute, or until puréed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- In a small bowl, gently whisk together the warm water, maple syrup, and yeast. Let it stand for 5 minutes, or until a foam develops on the surface.
- Meanwhile, lightly grease a large glass mixing bowl with olive oil.
- Add the yeast mixture, plus 3 ¼ cups of the spelt flour, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and ¾ teaspoon of the sea salt to the sweet potato purée in the food processor. Pulse five 5 times, and then process for 15 seconds, or until the dough begins to roll into a loosely formed ball. The dough should be soft, sticky, slightly shaggy, and pulled together in a soft ball on the side of the food processor. If it's too loose or too wet, add the remaining ¼ cup of spelt flour (plus more if needed), and pulse until the desired texture is reached. Alternatively, if it’ is too dry or dense, add more warm water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and pulse until the desired texture is reached.
- Pull the dough from the food processor and turn out onto a clean work surface that's been generously dusted with spelt flour. Knead for 1 ½ to 2–2 ½ minutes (set a timer), or until the dough is smooth and springy. You’ll know the dough is ready when it begins to hold its shape and springs back, slightly but not completely, when pressed. (The gluten in spelt is delicate, so be careful not to over-knead or you’ll end up with dry, crumbly bread.)
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or doubled in size. (Simple test for readiness: poke a finger tip about 1 inch into the dough. If the dough retains the indentation, it's good to go.)
- When the dough has just a few minutes left to rise, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a clean, generously floured work surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces, knead for just a few seconds, and roll each piece out into a rectangle that's approximately 5 inches wide by 10 inches long.
- Slice each rectangle widthwise into 1 ½- to 2-inch-thick strips (you want about 5 to 6 strips per rectangle). One at a time, roll each piece into a rope, dusting any sticky bits with flour, and gently tie it in a knot. Place on the lined pan and repeat, leaving a few inches of space between each knot.
- Lightly brush the tops of the knots with olive oil and loosely cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Let the knots rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- About halfway through the knots' rise time, preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 10 to 14 minutes, or until golden-brown on the bottom and just beginning to turn golden on top. They should have a soft hollow sound when gently tapped. Transfer the pan to an oven-safe cooling rack and cool for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus the garlic, parsley, and remaining ¾ teaspoon sea salt in a small sauté pan over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic mellows and softens. Brush the tops of the baked knots with as much of the garlic-parsley oil as desired and serve.
- The knots are best served warm from the oven but can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month and reheated.