One of my husband’s favorite holiday recipes is his Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole. It is an absolute must at every Thanksgiving and even makes an appearance at the occassional Christmas Dinner – yes, it’s that good!
Nana’s cooking style was Pennsylvania Dutch – not the easiest food to make healthy. If you aren’t familiar, think chicken pot-pies, potatoes, roasts, casseroles, lots of butter, flour, and heavy cream; essentially hearty farm food. This is serious comfort food and like I said - definitely NOT the easiest to make healthy.
Now when I decided to tackle this Sweet Potato Casserole, I knew that I had to lighten it up but retain the integrity of the dish. This had to taste amazing and like a treat but in the healthiest way possible. I took it from 15 Points Plus per serving to 6 Points Plus per serving by adding in Delicata Squash (also called Sweet Potato Squash), cutting the Pecan’s by one third, swapping the sugar for a natural brown sugar and cutting it by almost half. In addition, I replaced the butter with Earth Balance and reduced it by almost half as well as adjusted the amount of flour.
If you are looking for a healthy, yet indulgent preparation for sweet potatoes for your Thanksgiving table, look no further. Let me tell you, there were many batches of Sweet Potato Casserole made to get this just right and it is delicious!
- Delicata Squash are readily available this time of year – if you have never used them before, you are really missing out. These are also called “Sweet Potato Squash” and for good reason; although the flesh is a bit more yellow than orange, they taste like sweet potatoes, if not better. If you absolutely cannot find them, substitute Butternut Squash but I implore you to try really hard to find them first!
- I used Coconut Palm Sugar instead of brown sugar because it is low on the glycemic index, unrefined, and tastes unbelievable. It is a natural brown sugar (as opposed to white refined sugar coated in molasses). I bought this brand from Whole Foods and I am loving it – especially for this dish! I think it really makes it extra special.
- Earth Balance is a-maz-ing. I prefer the Whipped Organic if you can find it. It is 2 Points Plus per tablespoon versus 3 Points Plus for the regular (and for butter).
- 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
- 2 pounds Delicata squash (about 2 pounds)
- ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup unsweetened soy milk
- 2 tablespoons organic whipped earth balance
- ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons organic whipped earth balance, melted
- ⅓ cup raw pecans, chopped
- non stick cooking spray (such as Spectrum Organics Canola Oil Spray)
- Just to give a sense of size, these are the squash and potato that I used. Preheat oven to 375F. Scrub potato and poke with fork holes. Wash squash and slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove pulp and seeds. Place cut side down in a glass baking dish and add ½” of water. Place squash in oven along with sweet potato (on rack with a piece of tinfoil underneath it). Cook squash for 45 minutes and sweet potato for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Prep remaining ingredients. Measure pecans, and chop.
- When squash and potato are done, remove flesh from skins. Combine in a bowl and mash.
- Set oven to 350F.
- Add ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar, eggs, vanilla, soy milk, and 2 tablespoons earth balance to mashed squash and potato.
- Mix until well combined.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt 3 tablespoons earth balance.
- Add ¼ cup coconut palm sugar and ¼ cup flour. Mix well to combine. Stir in chopped pecans.
- Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Pour potato mixture in first and top evenly with pecan crumble.
- Bake for 30 minutes uncovered, until hot and browned. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy!