Creamy sweet potatoes with a hint of spice baked to perfection and topped with a crunchy pecan streusel. Perfect for your holiday table or for a special weeknight side dish.
A huge thank you to Braun Household for sponsoring this post. I couldn't have made this epic sweet potato casserole without the help of the MultiQuick 5 Vario Hand Blender! Thank you for supporting the brands that support Abra’s Kitchen.
The BIG food holidays are here my friends! I am jolly and bright and ready to spend hours and hours in the kitchen, whipping up my favorite family recipes for the holidays!
I have been dying to recreate this sweet potato casserole for years, it is an absolute family favorite that was sadly almost voted off the Thanksgiving menu last year. It was my fault, I was being a brat and wanted to include my miso tahini honey nut squash and thought that sweet potatoes were redundant. Well… that did NOT go over well! My youngest sister revolted, pouted, and maybe even cried a little until I finally gave in and said, “Fiiiiiiiiiine we can have 2 orange dishes on the table!”
Sweet potato casserole, it's classic, it's delicious, and if it’s not on your Thanksgiving table at least one family member will cry. I love the traditional version my mom has perfected, but I had to update it. I had to do it. I had to reduce the sugar, increase the nutrients, and maybe even balance out the fat to carbohydrate ratio, just a little.
Friends, I made it better. I just did.
If you come from a “marshmallow + sweet potato” family you will be horrified to learn that this recipe is savory(ish). I used very little sweetener and added a pinch of cayenne because I LOVE playing up the savory flavors of sweet potato.
Naturally sweet, soft and fluffy sweet potatoes with just a hint of heat from cayenne and savory spices topped with a crunchy salty and slightly sweet pecan topping.
This sweet potato casserole will land you directly in the category of side dish domination champion.
Ok, let's get to it!
INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS SAVORY (ISH) SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
- Sweet Potatoes – I used the jewel variety but see below for how to choose the right variety for sweet potato casserole.
- Coconut Milk – Full-fat canned coconut milk
- Spices – A pinch of cayenne for heat, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger
- Maple Syrup – Only 1 tbsp will help to balance out the savory elements in this dish. Many more traditional sweet potato casseroles will use upwards of a 1/2 cup sweetener, too sweet in my opinion.
- Eggs – The eggs increase the fluffy factor.
- Pecans, Almond Flour, Ghee (or butter) – This is your salty, crunchy, and slightly sweet topping
WHAT KIND OF SWEET POTATO IS BEST FOR SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
I was in the market the other day and counted no less than 6 different varieties of sweet potatoes, some with orange flesh, some with white flesh, and even some with purple flesh. I’ve found that the garnet or jewel variety is best for a casserole. Both have bright orange flesh that is juicy moist and perfect for your holiday table.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SWEET POTATO AND A YAM?
In the U.S. the names are used somewhat interchangeably, “sweet potatoes” are referred to as yams and vice versa. However, technically a yam is a completely different root vegetable similar to starchy yuca with tough brown skin, and starchy (not sweet) flesh. The authentic yam is often used in Caribbean or West African dishes.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Begin by roasting about 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes. I prefer roasting over boiling, it brings out the natural sweetness and produces a less watery, more concentrated flavor.
Allow the sweet potatoes to cool slightly and then remove the skin, you should be able to do this quite easily with a pairing knife, or you can cut in half and scoop out the flesh.
Add the sweet potato to a bowl with eggs, spices, and coconut milk.
2. Whip the sweet potato!
You want the sweet potatoes to be super smooth, whipped, almost soufflé like. For this stage of the recipe, I needed some help.
I am always looking for ways to press that easy button in my life, streamline recipes, make them more delicious (healthier) but also easier.
Enter the MultiQuick 5 Vario Hand Blender, which sounds like a super cool name for a robot, a robot that will make your life in the kitchen easier, and the food on your table more delicious. A robot that I happen to love in a big way.
WHY AN IMMERSION BLENDER IS A MUST HAVE TOOL IN YOUR KITCHEN
I have lived in NYC for 20 years (don't do the math… let's just say I moved here when I was 5, k? cool… move on), this means I have worked in a small kitchen for over 20 years. A small kitchen where I have produced catered meals for over 100 people, whipped up personal chef extravaganza meals week after week, a small kitchen where I have tested hundreds of recipes. A small but MIGHTY kitchen!
My secret to working in a small space? Being very selective about what tools and appliances get prime real estate in my cabinets. This is why I adore a multi-tool.
The MultiQuick 5 Vario hand blender is essentially an immersion blender (read: a blender that you “immerse” into your food and blend, as opposed to a standing blender), AND a mini-chop, or a mini-food processor. The MultiQuick 5 Vario also comes with a whisk attachment and a blending beaker.
It is the tool that I use when I want to puree gorgeous veggies into creamy soups. The tool I use to chop up a quick sweet nutty topping, a smaller batch of hummus, or even an individual smoothie.
I can also puree tomatoes into the perfect consistency for a sauce without having tomato splattered across my entire kitchen thanks to the SPLASH control technology that minimizes splashing so your food stays in the bowl or pot. This feature alone makes it feel like the MulitQuick 5 Vario tool was, in fact, a kitchen robot that was made especially for me, the splatter queen of the northeast 🙂
Holiday bonus: the MQ5 Vario Hand Blender is 20% off through 12/3/2019!!!
Ok… back to the recipe:
3. Spread the sweet potato filling into a baking dish
4. Make a pecan crumble topping
Pulse pecans to chop (I used the mini-chopper attachment of the MultiQuick 5 Vario tool for this) mix with almond flour, salt, a pinch of cayenne, and ghee or butter.
5. Add the crumble to the sweet potato
Sprinkle the crumble on top of the whipped sweet potato and then sprinkle a scant tbsp of coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar) on top.
6. Bake and serve
Place in the oven and bake until the topping is browned. Serve to all of your loved ones with a huge smile on your face because you just won the best side dish of Thanksgiving award!
CAN YOU MAKE SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE AHEAD OF TIME?
I am the make-ahead queen, preparing food in advance so as to minimize the crazies on the day of the event.
To prepare in advance simply prepare the sweet potato filling and place it in a baking dish, then cover tightly. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Prepare pecan crumble topping, with everything except the ghee or butter. Store in a separate container in the fridge.
When ready to bake, simply combine the crumble topping with the ghee or butter, sprinkle on the sweet potatoes and bake.
IS THIS SAVORY OR SWEET?
I put this in the category of savory(ish) there is still a hint of sweetness in the form of maple syrup in the sweet potatoes, but very little, and a small sprinkle of coconut palm sugar on the top to help with browning. I also added a hint of cayenne for spice.
This sweet potato casserole is not cloyingly sweet and would definitely not be mistaken for dessert. It is a pleasant departure from the sticky-sweet marshmallow madness.
I hope you love this Sweet Potato Casserole! If you make it be sure to tag me @abrapappa on Instagram so I can see your masterpiece!
Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Wash sweet potatoes and poke with a fork (4-8 pokes per sweet potato), place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake until tender 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the sweet potatoes.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool.
- When cool enough to handle remove the skin from sweet potatoes using a paring knife or by splitting potato in half and scooping out the flesh.
- Place sweet potato flesh in a large bowl, add coconut milk, eggs, maple syrup, and spices.
- Using a MultiQuick 5 Vario hand blender, blend ingredients until light and fluﬀy.
- Add potatoes to a 9x9 baking dish.
- Make the topping by pulsing pecans in the mini-chop attachment of the MultiQuick 5 Vario hand blender, until they are chopped into smaller bits.
- In a small bowl combine pecans, almond flour, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Add 2 tbsp ghee (or melted butter) and using your hands combine until topping resembles small pebbles.
- Cover the sweet potatoes with the crumbly topping, and then sprinkle with 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar).
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until topping is browned. Serve immediately.
MORE HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES YOU WILL LOVE
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