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

    Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks

    Sweet potato cheesy herb stacks

    In the summer, the mini-town of Nathrop brings rafters and kayakers and hikers to it's valley. Stuck between two slightly larger towns, Nathrop doesn't have much to offer aside from easy access to the Arkansas River. We didn't go in the summer though, at least not often. In the winter time Nathrop becomes far less: off the beaten path, to say the least, and frozen over at an altitude of 7,680 feet. This is when we visited Nathrop: in it's slow, snow dusted, crisp-air months. 

    We would bring groceries from the next town over, stock the fridge, and pile into the cabin. My mom and I would cook a Thanksgiving meal fit for 5, even though we were only 3. It would be snowing outside,and icy winds would billow through the valley, but inside it was all biscuits, turkey, and gravy, oh my! We clipped recipes from magazines and made do with what ingredients we could find in the small mountain grocer.

    Sweet potato cheesy herb stacks

    Between the biscuits, one November we made potato stacks. Like scalloped potatoes, thin slices were baked in a creamy sauce and served hot. Our stacks had a touch of thyme, and crisped up along the edges. 

    I'm not sure what made me remember those potatoes recently, but I did, and then began wondering how wonderful it would be to use sweet potatoes and Creamy Toscano cheese. Oliver says I should name these "Little Stacks of Joy," but I was worried that name would be to vague. So here you have them: the most joyful potato stacks you'll ever find. 

    Sweet potato cheesy herb stacks

    Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks

    Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

    Thinly sliced potatoes are cooked with cream and butter until crispy on the edges and soft through the middle. Then they’re topped with cheese and thyme for the ultimate potato stack.

    Yields: 12   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 2 sweet potatoes (Look for ones that are thinner in diameter so they fit into a muffin pan when sliced.)
    • 1 tablespoon butter + more for greasing your pan
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • Salt & pepper
    • A few dashes of nutmeg
    • A few dashes of dried ground sage
    • Spring of fresh thyme
    • 1/2 cup shredded Creamy Toscano cheese or similar hard cheese (I buy the Syrah variety at Trader Joe’s)

    Directions:

    1. Grease a muffin pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Wash the sweet potatoes, and roughly peel them. Using a mandolin or the slicing attachment of your food processor, slice the sweet potatoes into thin rounds. Stack the slices in the greased muffin pan.
    3. In a small sauce pan, heat cream and butter in a small sauce pan until butter is melted. Whisk together, and then divide evenly among each stack of potatoes (pour about 2 teaspoons over each). Season liberally with salt, then sprinkle with pepper, nutmeg, and sage. Sprinkle about half of the cheese over the potatoes, reserving the other half for later.
    4. Place pan in oven and bake until cooked through, 40-50 minutes for a standard muffin pan (longer for a deeper muffin pan).
    5. Once potatoes are cooked through and edges are crisping, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Top with remaining cheese so that it melts, and a few fresh thyme leaves.

    2 Comments

    Pumpkin Pie Bars with Grain-Free Gingerbread Crust

    I was so happy to have my friend  Cassie  in the kitchen to help whip, stir, and bake! She shot these beautiful pictures too.

    I was so happy to have my friend Cassie in the kitchen to help whip, stir, and bake! She shot these beautiful pictures too.

    There may be nothing more comforting than baking a pumpkin pie on a cool fall day while wearing your slippers while giggling with a close friend. In the wake of change--changing seasons, growing older, moving to a new home (more to come on this on Thursday!!)- a day of pie baking was just what the doctor ordered. With extra whipped cream of course.

    Pumpkin Pie Bars with Grain-Free Gingerbread Crust
    Pumpkin Pie Bars with Grain-Free Gingerbread Crust

    More than anything, it is the act of making pumpkin pie, and the smell of baking pumpkin pie, that makes it therapeutic. Aromatherapy, if you will.

    What's great about what pie aromatherapy is that it will pretty much be whatever you want it to be. Need a hug? Breath in that cinnamon. Looking for a hug? Focus in on rolling out that pie crust, on the act of making the pie. Just want something sweet? Quiet time? A few laughs?

    You get the picture. 

    Pumpkin Pie Bars with Grain-Free Gingerbread Crust
    Pumpkin Pie Bars with Grain-Free Gingerbread Crust

    Pumpkin Pie Bars with Grain-Free Gingerbread Crust

    Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

    These pumpkin pie bars are made with a gingerbread-spiced almond flour crust and topped with creamy pumpkin filling.

    Serves: 9   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

      For the Gingerbread Crust
    • 1-1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 1-1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg
    • For the pumpkin filling:
    • 1 cup pumpkin
    • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (coconut milk for dairy-free)
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x9 baking dish. In a medium sized mixing bowl, consume the dry ingredients for the crust (almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg). Whisk until evenly distributed. Then, stir in the melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla until a sticky dough forms. Press dough in an even layer in bottom of the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 9 minutes, until crust is slightly puffed and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
    2. Now, set the oven to 425°F. Make the pumpkin pie filling: whisk together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, honey, and egg. Once combined, whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Pour mixture into cooled crust. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 40-50 more minutes, until a knife, when inserted into the center of the pumpkin mixture, comes out clean.
    3. Set baking dish aside to cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve (whipped cream or coconut cream optional!)

    2 Comments