Sweet potatoes are so naturally sweet you can skip the brown sugar and marshmallows. The maple syrup in this recipe can even be reduced a tad. Less is more rings true in this simple, healthier version of America’s classic Thanksgiving casserole we found at epicurious.com.
WHY YOU SHOULD EAT THIS
SWEET POTATOES Did you know sweet potatoes and yams are not the same? Many people confuse the two or mistakenly believe they’re interchangeable. But they are totally different plants and yams aren’t sweet. If it’s orange or purple with tapered ends, you’ve got a sweet potato and not a yam. And sweet potatoes won’t be to blame for any weight gain this holiday season. Along with weight loss, they can also help you remember your third cousin’s kids’ names at your holiday gathering and keep you from being able to use sickness as an excuse to have yourself a merry little night alone instead. They’re high in vitamin A, C, fiber, antioxidants and tons of other essential vitamins and minerals! Eat ‘em up guilt-free.
MAPLE SYRUP Tree sap is a natural, unrefined source of sweetness that is far superior than processed sugar; you won’t get a sugar crash but you will get some minerals and antioxidants.
Aside from perhaps raw honey, this is definitely your safest option.
PECANS Antioxidants, manganese and fiber are just a few of the vitamins and minerals in this rich-flavored nut. Their health benefits are nothing short of miraculous, and this isn’t even half of it: metabolism boosters, mood enhancers, brain power, constipation blockers, illness zapping and anti-aging. Add a daily dose of pecans to your life and glow inside out!
MAPLE-PECAN SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE*
YIELD: 8–10 servings
- Olive oil (for pan)
- 5 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more
- 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup, divided
- 2 cups pecan halves (about 7 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 3-qt. baking dish. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain; let sit in colander 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup syrup in a large skillet over medium-high. Add pecans, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until syrup has evaporated and pecans are glazed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
- Purée potatoes, 1 1/2 cups water, and remaining 3/4 cup syrup, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a food processor until smooth. Transfer potato mixture to prepared baking dish.
- Coarsely chop pecans and sprinkle evenly over potato mixture.
- Bake casserole until top is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.
Do Ahead of Time
Casserole can be assembled, without topping, 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Candied pecans can be made 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.
*Three ingredients do no include seasonings or olive oil for pan. For more flavor, add cinnamon or 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil.