Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

I grew up on the sort of sweet potato casserole that is topped with marshmallows, and I love the stuff.

One Thanksgiving in California is vividly stamped in my mind — the year we visited my grandparents and I realized for the first time that my grandma cooked almost every dish for Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave. IN THE MICROWAVE! Coming from rather culinary parents, it was a bit of a shock, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t noticed in previous years (I don’t even remember other Thanksgiving dinners at their house; maybe this was a first).

Anyways… this sweet potato casserole is not made in the microwave (do I even need to say that?) and so it’s off to a far superior start already! But it’s also been revised in other ways, calling for less sugar and being topped with crumbly, crispy pecans and oats instead of marshmallows. Because, sugar and marshmallows just don’t leave me feeling my best.

Sweet potatoes are quite sweet as they are, so adding sugar to the filling feels unnecessary (most recipes call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of added sugar). In this version the filling is “natural,” meaning all the sweetness comes from the sweet potatoes, and the topping is made with maple syrup and cinnamon (which has sweet notes of it’s own!).

As Oliver would say, this dish comes out of the oven “smelling sweeter than a plate of yams with extra syrup.”

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Tip: Cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time! You can cook the potatoes up to three days before you’re going to make this casserole. Here are a couple of ways to cook them (affiliate links ahead!):

  • In an Instant Pot: Place whole sweet potatoes in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of water (use a steamer basket if you have one). Use manual mode and set to high for 15 minutes (vent in sealed position). Allow pressure to release naturally, then open pot. Allow potatoes to cool, and then remove skins, which should easily pull off at this point.

  • In an oven: Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and rub with oil (such as coconut oil). Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a sil-pat and bake for 45 minutes.

In both of these methods, the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes will caramelize so that your sweet potato casserole tastes sweet without the added sugar.

Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK. What else are you making? What’s your favorite thing once you sit down at the table?

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Published November 20, 2018 by
   Print This Recipe

Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 4 hours



Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups mashed sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup half and half or canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • For Crumble Topping:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 heaping cup rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup pecan halves

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
    3. Spread sweet potato mixture in an even layer in a 9x9 baking dish.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for crumble topping. Spread crumble topping in an even layer over the sweet potatoes.
    5. Place baking dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Sweet potatoes should be warmed through and pecans on top should be lightly toasted. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

    Comment

    Grain-Free Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan-Crumble Crust

    Grain-Free Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan-Crumble Crust

    There are too many good recipes to share with you all this month! I usually only post two recipes a week, but this month I just couldn't get everything to fit into that schedule. My options were to ditch a recipe or publish an extra, and well, the answer was clear once we had a bite of this butternut squash pie with pecan crumble crust. 

    My good friend had a butternut squash pie making craze last year, and while he seems to now be over that caramelly, cinnamon-y flavor, I'm still stuck on it. 

    What I needed though, to really make the ultimate butternut squash pie, was an alternate crust. I've always been partial to graham cracker crusts (the kind you find on many cheesecakes) but wanted to keep this recipe from-scratch and grain-free.

    Grain-Free Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan-Crumble Crust

    Pondering this crust dilemma brought me to pecans. It wasn't sure pecans would work in place of graham crackers, but I had a hunch. I was nervous about it, putting the pie into the oven. A few friends stopped by and I explained to them it was just an experiment and could go terribly wrong. 

    Out of the oven it came and I was, even then, a little nervous. I took pictures, serving everyone else, and then grabbed the last piece for myself, topping it with an oversized dollop of whipped cream.

    Grain-Free Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan-Crumble Crust

    It was my butternut-pie-making-friend who said it first: a crust made of pecans is like a butternut pie inside of a pecan pie. A custardy filling nestled inside a crunchy, sweet, nutty shell. 

    He was right: it was a butternut squash pie inside of a pecan pie. The butter and sugar caramelized in the oven while the pecans toasted, making something so delicious it stole the show, even from the pie filling itself. 

    In this pie, crust is no longer just a vehicle for transporting filling. It's a part of the experience, as must as every other ingredient. 

    Grain-Free Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan-Crumble Crust

    Grain-Free Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan-Crumble Crust

    Published December 15, 2017 by
       |     Print This Recipe

    Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes



    Ingredients:


      For the crust:
    • 2 cups pecans 
    • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar or coconut sugar
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

    • For the filling:
    • 10 ounces frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar or coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup wildflower honey
    • 2/3 cup half-and-half 
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted 
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

    • To serve:
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease an 9-inch ceramic or glass pie pan .
    2. Put pecans in a food processor and pulse to grind them into a fine crumb. Scrape sides frequently to ensure even chopping. Few larger chunks should remain (several are ok but for the most part you are looking for an even, fine crumb). Scrape pecan crumbs into a bowl, and add sugar and melted butter. Use a spatula to stir until everything is combined and crumb should stick together when squeezed between two fingers. Now, press crumb mixture into prepared pie pan, working it up the sides and into an even layer along the bottom to form a crust. Tip: use the flat bottom of a glass to make a smooth bottom. Make sure there are no gaps or cracks, and then set aside.
    3. In a blender, combine: thawed butternut squash, sugar, honey, half-and-half, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Puree until completely smooth, scraping sides down as needed. Then, allow mixture to rest for 5 minutes so any air bubbles have time to float to the top.
    4. Pour butternut mixture into prepared pie shell, filling it until almost—but not quite- full (shoot for 90-95% full). Place in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, until custard filling jiggles slightly in the middle but not at the edges. Turn heat off, and allow pie to cook in oven with the door open for 10-15 minutes. This super slow cooling method will prevent the custard filling from cracking.
    5. While the pie cools, make the whipped cream. Add heavy cream to a bowl and whip with an electric mixture until it beings to hold peaks. Add vanilla, and beat 30 more seconds.
    6. Serve pie with dollops of whipped cream (ice cream would be good as well!).

    10 Comments

    Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

    Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

    South Boulder Peak is mountain just outside of Boulder that tops out at 8,549 feet above sea level. Compared to the range of Rockies behind it, it's a baby peak, but it's a peak nonetheless. On Thanksgiving Day we started up it's trail around noon, after a light breakfast. Getting our bodies moving before a really big meal is sort of our thing. 

    It was two hours to the summit and two hours down, the descent rocky and slow. By the time we were an hour from the car, it was three, and our light breakfast wore thin. "I could eat a vat of jell-o," Oliver said, though he's not a fan of jell-o, and shortly there after, "Let's make Cornish Hens." That's when I piped in about stuffing. Stuffing!! It's the secret star of the show, right? Stuffing, boxed or homemade, is what everyone goes back to get more of. 

    We made it to the car, and that evening we dined like royalty on my mom's cooking. We had salmon and two types of cheese, fresh salad, and even pie. It wasn't meant to be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, just an evening with family. (That's what it's about anyhow, right?) 

    Gluten-free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans
    Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

    Still, that stuffing craving lived on. It wasn't four days later and I was in the kitchen, stuffing Cornish Hens with cornbread dressing. 

    When I sat down to write this post, I toyed with the fact that Thanksgiving has already passed, and that it's likely no one in the world is looking for a cornbread stuffing recipe anymore. I thought to myself: But stuffing could be eaten at Christmas (or whatever other winter holiday) right? And yea, the answer is you can eat stuffing whenever you please. It’s great at Christmas (some may even make this a tradition) but also delicious on any old Sunday. The leftovers make for a pretty happy desk lunch, or even breakfast. 

    This recipe calls for gluten-free cornbread. I share a link to my go-to gluten-free cornbread recipe below. I asked a crowd of you on Instagram Stories if I should make this recipe grain-free before sharing, but most of you love stuffing as much as I do, and said to share it now! You get me.

    This stuffing is pretty simple, but the addition of fresh cranberries gives it a tart burst of flavor and a hint of red color, and toasted pecans add extra crunch. 

    For those of you who are looking to make this grain-free, I would encourage you to experiment with using a grain-free (almond flour based) cornbread in this recipe. Report back on how it works! I'll be running my own experiments. A long time ago, I also shared a meat-based stuffing here

    Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

    Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

    Published December 14, 2017 by
       |     Print This Recipe

    Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 8x8 inch pan of cool cornbread, this is my favorite cornbread recipe, but feel free to use your favorite recipe (day-old cornbread works well!)
    • 1/2 cup celery, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/2 cup cranberries
    • 1/2 cup whole pecans 
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup chicken stock 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease an 8x8inch baking pan.
    2. Sauté the diced onion and celery with the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Then, scrape onion and celery into a mixing bowl.
    3. Dice cornbread into 1/2-inch or 1-inch cubes, and add to mixing bowl. Then, add cranberries, pecans, and sage. Season with salt & pepper.
    4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and broth together until combined. Then, pour the broth mixture into the cornbread mixture. Use a spatula to fold the cornbread mixture until all of the ingredients are equally distributed and the broth is well incorporated.
    5. Scrape stuffing into prepared baking dish, patting down into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, or until stuffing is golden on top. Allow to cool 5 minutes and then serve warm.

    Comment