This is a healthy-(ish) and spiced up version of the classic Thanksgiving dish. I add in a healthy dose of spices and chipotle peppers to give a little balance between the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes and extra sweetness of the marshmallows. This recipe is gluten free, grain free, and easily made vegan!
When I was younger our Thanksgiving dinners looked very similar to our regular dinners except with the inclusion of a big ole turkey. Which we never ate at any other time of year. My mother is not much a cook and just prepared her standard dishes that she was comfortable making. My dad, more so the cook, immigrated here in his late 20’s and was not familiar with the “traditional” Thanksgiving dishes. As I started to help more with the cooking of the meal I would (out of envy of my friends and new exposure to Food Network) start to incorporate more of the “classic American Thanksgiving” dishes into the menu.
I clearly remember discovering that one of these traditional side dishes was yams with marshmallows on top and being completely dumbfounded. Marshmallows during a meal? The idea of a sweet component before dessert was so foreign to me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept but knew that we needed it on our table. So that year I opened a can of cooked yams placed it in a casserole dish, spread out those marshmallows right on top, watched as they got all toasty and basically my life was changed forever. It’s one of those dishes that I only have once a year and no matter what my regular diet, I’m going to have some of that casserole! So be warned this recipe is a bit outside the regular type of recipes I post here. But I do make add a couple options for those who want to stay within a certain dietary restriction.
Over the years, I’ve improved upon the dish and this has been my steady recipe for the past four to five years. Instead of yams I use sweet potatoes but feel free to use whichever you prefer, I have used both and it always turns out great. I love this recipe so much because I spice it up with some chipotles in adobo sauce and a healthy dose of spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon to balance out the natural sweetness of the sweet potato/yam and the extra sweetness of the marshmallows. Also, this is slightly lighter because there is no butter or milk as in the more traditional recipes, I find the sweet potatoes/yams to be creamy enough and just use a bit of coconut butter to give it that little extra oomph.
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Spiced Up Sweet Potato Casserole
This is a healthy(ish) and spiced up version of the classic Thanksgiving dish. I add in a healthy dose of spices and chipotle peppers to give a little balance between the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes and extra added sweetness of the marshmallows to give a more well balanced version of this delicious side dish.
vegan option, dairy free, gluten free, grain free
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes (or yams) (about 7-8 )
- 3 tbsp coconut butter or oil melted
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1-2 tbsp chopped chipotles (from canned chipotle in adobo sauce)
- 1-3 tbsp adobo sauce from can of chipotles
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups regular or vegan marshmallows (see notes for options)
Cook the sweet potatoes or yams. I usually use a pressure cooker to get it done quickly OR just place them in a 375 degree oven until they are cooked through. About 40 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, skinned, and slightly cooled, place them in a large bowl and mash with a large fork or masher. Add in the coconut butter and spices and mix thoroughly. Add 1 tablespoon of the chopped chipotles and 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce and mix again. Taste and adjust to your preferred spiciness level by adding more sauce and/or chopped chipotles. The chipotles will bring more heat. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a 2 quart baking dish (8x8 or 9x9). And smooth the surface so it's evenly distribute. (MAKE AHEAD: You can prepare this portion of the dish, cover, and place in the fridge, 1 day before serving.)
When ready to serve, top sweet potato mixture with marshmallows. Place in center of the oven and bake until the bottom layer is warm and the marshmallows nicely toasted. The cook time will depend on the type of marshmallows used, so keep a good watch. Probably around 10-15 minutes. (If you have made the sweet potato mixture the day before, place the dish in the oven for about 10-15 minutes without marshmallows to bring the temperature back up. Remove from the oven, arrange marshmallows, and place back in the oven to toast the marshmallows and allow the inside to heat up completely.)
Vegan/Vegetarian: Use vegan marshmallows
Low Sugar/Sugar Free: Leave out the marshmallows entirely and serve this as a mash.
Go All In: Make the marshmallows from scratch! I usually prepare homemade marshmallows to top this dish and it seriously a game changer. I use this recipe every year and it's perfect.