A lightened Up Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole topped with a crunchy ginger glazed pecan topping. A Thanksgiving side dish that is so easy to make and delicious that you’ll see it doesn’t need to be reserved for the holiday dinner only. You’ll want to make this all winter long!
Sweet Potato Casserole isn’t really a thing here in Canada. But I know it is a huge deal when whenever I think about American Thanksgiving (remember we have ours in early October) I think of two things. Football and Sweet Potato Casserole. Scratch that … and deep-frying a turkey. Another not commonly Canadian thing to do.
When I think about sweet potato casserole I always picture it with heaps of toasted marshmallows and while that may look amazing and for some taste just as good I think that would be just a little too sweet for me.
So I did some research on the topic because a reader challenged me with making a healthier version of this Thanksgiving dish and found that there is another less known tradition and that is putting pecans on top. Pecans… sweet on their own like sweet potatoes so no need to add loads of sugar. Perfect!
What makes this sweet potato casserole healthy?
- No processed sugars. This recipe is sweetened only a few tablespoons of good old maple syrup. Or you could use honey if you prefer
- It features pecan topping versus toasted marshmallows which not only gives it a bit of crunch but also adds some healthy fats and protein
- The recipe is 100% gluten-free
- Almond milk versus heavy cream makes the sweet potatoes just as creamy and smooth without all the extra fat
All the yumminess but less sugar and fat… Hallelujah!
Can you make sweet potato casserole ahead of time?
You can certainly make the sweet potato part ahead of time by roasting the potatoes and making the mash. The pecan topping though is best left till the end. Make the mash then cover sealed and place in the fridge for up to 3 days ahead of time. About an hour before dinner preheat the oven and while the oven is preheating make the pecan topping which only takes a few minutes. Then top the sweet potato mash with the glazed pecan mixture and roast in the oven for half an hour. If the pecan topping is put in the fridge they tend to lose their crunch.
How can I make this sweet potato casserole Vegan?
It is as easy as omitting the egg and swapping out the butter for coconut oil or vegan butter.
Can you freeze sweet potato casserole?
You can actually make the entire Sweet Potato Casserole pecan topping and all and freeze it. Why? Because nuts when frozen don’t lose their crunch, in fact, this is the best way to store nuts. I always keep my pecans and pistachios in the freezer because they are expensive and I don’t eat them often. There is less humidity in the freezer than a fridge. Nuts stored in the fridge will absorb the moisture and lose their crunch.
To store in the freezer cover the casserole with tin foil and then wrap tightly with a layer or two of saran wrap. The casserole will be good in the freezer for up to two months. When ready to bake defrost in the fridge overnight and then bake according to directions. The pecans will not get soggy unthawing overnight and will crisp up in the oven.
More Thanksgiving dinner side dishes to try
- The Ultimate Baked Acorn Squash
- Cranberry & Apple Brussel Sprout Salad
- Roasted Kale & Nappa Cabbage
- Parsnip Pureé
- Tuscan Kale & Fennel Bread Dressing
- Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Leeks
How to make healthy sweet potato casserole
Even though mashed potatoes and gravy are the Canadian staples at Thanksgiving I am adding this Healthy Sweet Potato dish to the tradition hands down form now on. I mean it is Thanksgiving after all which is all about eating till you are stuffed like a turkey so bring on all the potatoes!
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3-quart oven-safe casserole dish
- Baking Sheet
- Tin Foil
- Large Bowl
- Medium bowl
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- 5 lbs sweet potatoes 5-6 medium
- 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/1/4 cup pecan halves
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a fork can be inserted to the centre easily. Remove from the oven.
- Lower oven temperature to 375F.
- Let the potatoes cool for about 15 minutes. Then cut them in half and using a spoon scoop out the cooked sweet potato into a large bowl.
- To the large bowl with the sweet potatoes add the almond milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, sea salt and melted butter. Mash and mix well until sweet potato filling become smooth.
- Place the sweet potato mash into the 3-quart casserole dish and smooth evenly across the bottom of the dish. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl add pecans, maple syrup, melted butter, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Mix well till all the pecans are well coated.
- Spoon the pecan mixture evenly over the sweet potato mash gently smoothing out the pecan layer. Cover casserole dish with tin foil and bake at 375F for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.