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
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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.

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    Swiss Chard Frittata

    Swiss Chard Frittata

    Once I learned to flip, there was no going back. Life was truly never the same, as gymnastics suddenly became the grounding element in my life. And then one day, sometime in college, it all came to halt. I stopped coaching (I got a different job), and with that I also stopped having a reason to be a gym rat daily (this gave way to me trying many other sports, some of which I still love, but none as much as gymnastics).

    Two weeks ago I went to my old gym for an adult gymnastics class, something that never fails to make me feel old and weak and also young and nostalgic at the same time. We did bars (which was always my least favorite event) but sure enough my muscle memory held on: glide, toes to the bar— Kip. Switch kip. Free hip, cut kip. I found myself in the air again, older sure— but the muscle memory was there. In a way nothing had changed and in others everything had. 

    About 15 minutes in, I spun around the bar and felt a familiar and unpleasant sensation: a rip. My palm cut open (like a popped blister, but almost and inch across). Damn does that sting! At 15 years old, a rip was nothing: a causality at most. You got back up and kept going. Man I was strong then. And that’s how it goes: a mixture of rediscovering why I loved the sport in the first place — reinforcing what I always have known, which is that I simply love gymnastics, all of it - and learning how I have changed. 

    Swiss Chard Frittata
    Swiss Chard Frittata

    Gymnastics was the first sport that I loved — before that I just wasn’t into most of what we did in gym class - and it taught me to care. To care about results and to try hard, sure, but also to care about my body and what I ate. I love gymnastics so much that anything that might help me be a better gymnast was worth doing.

    Somewhere along this road I moved from breakfast-skipper to breakfast lover. More specifically, high protein breakfast lover. Eggs! I love eggs, and they’re a great way to get some protein in your body, which you need in order to rebuild (or just build) between work outs. This swiss chard parmesan frittata is a quick one — sauté the greens in an oven-safe skillet, add the adds, pop it in the oven under the broiler, and boom! High protein breakfast (with veggies) (and cheese!) is ready. Eat up!

    Swiss Chard Frittata

    Swiss Chard Frittata

    Published August 21, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs 
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 4 swiss chard leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 cup parmesan

  • Directions:

    1. In a 10-inch skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.
    2. When oil glistens, sauté shallots until translucent.
    3. Cut the swiss chard: cut out the stems, and chop them. Add stems to the pan. Then, roughly chop the leafy green parts. Add the leafy green parts to the skillet once the stems begin to soften. Place lid on skill, and allow greens to cook until dark green.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Once yellow and frothy, pour egg mixture into skillet. You may want to use a fork or spoon to move the swiss chard into an even layer if it is in clumps. Sprinkle parmesan on top.
    5. Turn oven to a high broil. Place skillet on top rack in oven, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until eggs are puffed, golden on top, and set through. Remove from oven, and allow to cool 3-5 minutes.
    6. Slice and serve.

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    Fresh Mint & Fresno Chile Broccoli Salad

    Fresno Mint & Fresco Chile Broccoli Salad

    This recipe is a copycat recipe from Mod Market, a quick serve restaurant in my area. I go there for lunch meetings (otherwise I usually bring my own lunch) and get whatever they have on their seasonal menu. One day, their seasonal item was this Fresno Mint Broccoli Salad. By bite three I was already thinking about how I would recreate the recipe to share with you all! It's perfect as a hearty salad for lunch but also great as a pot luck dish or side at a dinner party. It also stays fresh in a tupperware in the fridge for a week, so you could make a huge batch and eat deliciously all week.

    Fresh Mint & Fresno Chile Broccoli Salad
    Fresh Mint & Fresno Chile Broccoli Salad

    The base of the salad is arugula. Everything else that goes in is big on flavor: start with fresh broccoli florets, then roasted sweet potatoes, slivered almonds, pickled red onions, minced mint leaves and finally thinly sliced fresno peppers. They are all bold, but none so bold that it out shadows the rest. You get these hearty bites of broccoli and roasted sweet potato, touches of clean mint, and then sweet and bright peppers popping through. The almonds lend crunch. Every bite is slightly different, every bite is delicious.

    Drizzle with any dressing you like--I have used both a White Balsamic Vinaigrette and the Bacon Vinaigrette from Trader Joe's and both were fantastic.

    Fresh Mint & Fresno Chile Broccoli Salad

    Fresh Mint & Fresno Chile Broccoli Salad

    Published May 11, 2017 by
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    With bold ingredients, this salad is sure to make any meal bright!

    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 40 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 5 cups baby arugula
    • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
    • 1/2 a red onion, sliced thin and quick pickled
    • 1 cup broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 4 red fresno peppers, sliced thin
    • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced or cut chiffonade-style
    • 1 cup diced sweet potatoes
    • 1 teaspoon avocado oil
    • 1/8 teaspoon each salt & pepper
    • Dressing of choice (I used a white balsamic vinaigrette)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss cubed sweet potato in avocado oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet, and place in oven. Bake until tender through, 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool
    2. While the sweet potatoes cook, prep the rest of your salad: Place arugula in a large serving bowl. Top with broccoli florets, thinly sliced fresno peppers, mint, and toasted almonds. When the potatoes are cool, add them to the salad and toss everything with your dressing of choice. Serve!

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