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Sweet Potato Casserole with Rosemary Pecans

This was my first attempt at making a sweet potato casserole. It felt a bit intimidating at first but you know I love jumping out of my comfort zone.

Last week, I bought a handful of sweet potatoes and tried to imagine the taste of the sweet potato casserole my Grandmother Isabel served for Thanksgiving back in the ’80’s. Then, I added my own spin, which turned out pretty darn fantastic.

sweet potato casserole recipe card written out in pen

There’s no sugar in this sweet potato casserole simply because it’s not needed. Not one bit. Instead, I’ve used my favorite fresh + dried spices along with vanilla extract to create my creamy version of this Thanksgiving staple without the dairy, gluten, soy and sugar.

It’s sort of like mashed potatoes meets a sweet potato casserole.

What’s different here, in my version, is the sweet potatoes are whipped ever so beautifully with almond milk, which means this so-called “casserole” is not super thick or dry. Instead, it’s creamy. Much creamier than other sweet potato casserole recipes. Why? Because I’m adding a lotta liquid here, which makes this casserole a breeze to dig into (and eat).

It’s soothing. It’s comforting. It’s silky smooth and fabulous.

I suggest serving this casserole with a spoon. It’s a heck of a lot more fun to dive in here with a big spoon than a spatula. Trust me. A spatula won’t work.

And, as for those relatives expecting the typical gooey marshmallow topping or lots of added sugar in their sweet potato casserole, well, just don’t even tell them this version is free of everything inflammatory. Let them dive in here with a spoon and figure it out for themselves.

p.s. This casserole goes really well with my Butternut Squash Lasagna if you’re in the mood for more comfort during the holiday season.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Rosemary Pecans

Serves 8 people
A cozy Thanksgiving side dish with tender caramelized onions sandwiched between two thick layers of whipped sweet potatoes. The fresh rosemary pecan topping adds a subtle crunch and sweetness without any added sugar.
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

Whipped Sweet Potato Filling

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (about 4.5 pounds)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided, plus more for greasing baking dish
  • 3 large red onions (about 1.5 pounds), peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt divided
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping

  • 1 cup pecans roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Use a fork to pierce holes in the sweet potatoes, then coat them generously with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 55-60 minutes or until very tender. (Note: make sure your sweet potatoes are very tender, otherwise the blender in the following steps will not whip the sweet potatoes and the motor will stall).
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt for 25 minutes or until caramelized and very tender, stirring often. Lower the heat to medium-low, as needed. Stir in the fresh rosemary. Set aside.
  • Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Discard (or eat later as a snack) the skin. Discard the oily parchment paper and use a clean sheet of parchment paper without oil. The parchment paper should be dry to roast the nuts. Spread the pecans and walnuts onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 8 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from the oven. Immediately add the fresh rosemary, thyme, olive oil, cinnamon, sea salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss to combine on the baking sheet. Set aside.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 x 11-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
  • Transfer the sweet potato flesh to a high-speed blender with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg. Puree until silky smooth. Season to taste. Pour half of the whipped sweet potatoes into the prepared baking dish. Use the back of a large spoon to create a smooth layer, covering the entire surface. Layer the caramelized onions on top, followed by the remaining whipped sweet potatoes. Use the back of a large spoon to create a smooth top layer. Sprinkle the rosemary pecan topping over the surface, covering the top layer of sweet potatoes. Place the casserole in the oven for 30 minutes or until warm throughout. Remove from the oven. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls. Serve warm.
  • Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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