Sweet potatoes happen to be one of my favorite vegetables to eat this time of year because of all the delicious ways that they can be prepared. Although sweet potatoes can be roasted, mashed, boiled or made into sweet potato fries, I think most people think of sweet potato casserole during the holidays.
This is the casserole that we all anticipate seeing on the dining room table for Thanksgiving. Sweet potato casserole appears on the family menu about as often as the family sits at the formal dining room table. But maybe its rarity is the biggest reason that this dish is near and dear to our hearts. The downside of sweet potato casserole is that it is usually crammed full of sugar and topped with marshmallows. Everyone wants to enjoy that rich casserole, but no one wants the extra sugar or unnecessary calories, so here is a recipe that you can feel much better about!
Sweet potatoes have a natural creaminess to them once they are cooked. Utilizing their natural smooth consistency, we can reduce the additional heavy cream and use natural sweeteners like orange zest and orange juice that pairs deliciously with sweet potatoes. Using fruit instead of sugar will make a dish that, dare we say, may be even better than the original without sacrificing any of the flavor!
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small chunks
- 1 large sweet onion, minced
- 1 large orange, zest and juice reserved
- 2 cups large Georgia pecans, toasted
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ tablespoon salt
- ¼ tablespoon pepper
- ½ stick of butter, diced into small cubes
- In a large pot cover diced sweet potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Drain sweet potatoes, and return to the pot to mash.
- Toast pecans in oven at 375 degrees until fragrant. Allow to cool.
- In a large bow, mix remaining ingredients into mashed sweet potatoes and add seasonings to taste. Pour into a glass baking dish that has been slightly greased for easy clean-up.
- Arrange the pecans on the top of casserole and place small cubes of butter along the top to bake.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top.