It’s the holiday baking season!
Literally my favorite food of the year. I’ve been cooking real food holiday dishes for over a decade now, and I can honestly say that the food is better than ever.
Today, I want to show you how we make our favorite Sweet Potato Casserole with maple syrup instead of sugar. Typically, sweet potato casserole is just an excuse to eat dessert on your dinner plate.
While I love the toasted marshmallow version as much as the next person, I want to show you how we can use natural sweeteners to make this dish just a little bit better.
Holiday meals already have pie and other desserts, so why load up on sugar at dinner time? Sweet potato casserole with maple syrup is the easiest place to start simplifying, and it’s not even a little bit complicated. Let me show you how we do it.
This naturally sweetened sweet potato casserole has options to make it a gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free holiday side dish. Get more tips for planning an allergy-friendly Thanksgiving here.
Fall Favorite: Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Syrup
When you’re learning how to substitute sweeteners, there are a few things you need to know. First, you can’t just substitute them cup for cup. Each sweetener has a different level of sweetness and a different texture.
For example, when using maple syrup and honey instead of sugar, you need to cut the amount of sweetener in half or 2/3. Liquid sweetener will mess with the texture of the recipe if you try to substitute it for sugar cup for cup.
Honey is about twice as sweet as maple syrup, so if it’s really important the recipe be extra sweet, use honey instead of maple syrup.
RELATED: Tips for baking with honey.
Thankfully, sweet potato casserole has a very forgiving texture. Unlike cake or cookies, using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup doesn’t change the texture that much. It’s just an easy real food swap for your holiday table.
For this sweet potato casserole, I made a crunchy pecan topping. I used coconut sugar because that was the most “healthy” granulated sweetener I could find where I live. Use what works for you – turbinado, sucanat, rapadura, etc.
You’ll find less sugar, healthier sweeteners, whole grains, soaked and sprouted grains, no grains, probiotics, and even some vegetables in these dessert recipes.
If you always feel guilty when you give into sweet things, this book is definitely for you.
Why Sweeten Your Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Syrup?
First, it’s delicious. I prefer using maple syrup to honey in fall-ish recipes. In my opinion, the flavor is richer and deeper.
Next, maple syrup is a natural sweetener. Sweet potato casserole is a very forgiving dish that you can tweak according to your needs, so substituting maple syrup for brown sugar is an easy swap that doesn’t mess with the texture too much.
If you’re trying to make your holiday dishes with more real food, this is an easy place to start.
Naturally Sweetened Holiday Favorites
Looking to substitute some of your favorite sugary holiday recipes with more natural ones? Try these!
- Apple Crisp
- Clean Eating Freezer Chocolate
- Dairy-Free Frosted Sugar Cookies
- Maple Roasted Pears
- Pumpkin Muffins or Bread
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Twist Cookies
- Grain-Free Cardamom Cranberry Cake
Real Food Fall Favorites
Here are my favorite fall recipes made with real food:
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Oats
- Instant Pot Turmeric Chicken & Rice
- Lentil Shepherds Pie
- Autumn Spring mix Salad (my favorite cool-weather salad!)
- Turmeric Lentil Soup
- Garlic Maple Chicken
- Maple Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
- Cheeseburger Soup
Try out this naturally sweetened sweet potato casserole this holiday season!
For the Casserole:
- 3–4 large sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 lbs)
- 1/2 c. milk or cream (dairy-free works great)
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 2 eggs (omit if egg-free)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp
Optional (but highly recommended):
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 c. (4 Tbs.) butter, melted (omit if dairy-free)
For the Topping:
- 3 Tbs. butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- 2/3 c. flour (whole wheat, spelt, gluten-free, and almond flour all work great here))
- 1/2 c. coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Bake or boil the sweet potatoes. I prefer to bake them because I like the flavor and they are easier to peel after they are baked. Bake at 375 F for 60-90 minutes, checking after 60 minutes. Baking time will vary based on the size of the potatoes. If you poke them with your finger (with an oven mitt on of course) and they squish easily, they are done.
- Let the sweet potatoes cool until they are easy to handle, then peel them into a large bowl. Baked sweet potatoes turn all kinds of colors after they bake, so don’t be scared of the rainbow of color under the skin. It’s perfectly normal.
- Next, add the rest of the casserole ingredients to the bowl and mash them together. A hand-held mixer works great here, but so does a whisk or a potato masher. Set the casserole aside and make the topping.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the melted butter, pecans, flour, coconut sugar, and salt. Set aside.
- Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish, then scoop the sweet potato mixture into the dish. Use a spatula to smooth it the best you can. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.
Dairy-Free: Use coconut oil to grease the pan, use dairy-free milk, use melted coconut oil in the topping
Egg-Free: Just omit the eggs – it’ll still be delicious!
Gluten-free: Use any kind of all-purpose gluten-free flour in the topping. Try almond flour or even blended pecans!
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 569
- Sugar: 26g
- Sodium: 399mg
- Fat: 30g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 74g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 7g
- Cholesterol: 69mg
Keywords: Thanksgiving, Christmas side, comfort food, low sugar
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Real Food Holiday Side Dish
Sweet potato casserole with maple syrup is a rich, custardy side dish that is really more like a dessert. It’s my family’s favorite, and so it’s important to us that we remake it in a way that’s better for our bodies so we can enjoy it even more – and save room for dessert!
With good, natural ingredients, sweet potato casserole with maple syrup is one of the simplest and yummiest holiday dishes to make with real food.