I’m going to be honest with you and admit that I’m not a big fan of holidays. Stressing over some arbitrary date on the calendar–to cook certain foods, travel long distances, buy token gifts, and so on–has never been my idea of fun. For a long time, I felt the same way about the traditional holiday meals, too. Every year when I was growing up, I’d beg my mother, “Why do we have to have turkey? Can’t we have spaghetti instead?” I wasn’t a vegetarian back then, just a budding iconoclast who never did care for traditions–or turkey. (Today, I get the same argument from E., though she’s arguing to substitute lasagna for dressing. I’m sure my mother is happy to see me get a dose of my own rebellion.)
Something strange happened, and as I became older, I developed a real love for some of the traditional dishes of the winter holidays. Maybe without the dead bird as centerpiece, I finally felt free to celebrate the holidays as a sort of Festival of Starches. Let’s face it, what’s not to love? To a carb addict like me, cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, winter squash, and sweet potatoes are pretty close to the perfect meal!
This sweet potato casserole is one of the highlights of any holiday meal for me. A word of caution, though: In my family, sweet potatoes are dessert, so if you’re expecting a savory side dish, look elsewhere. I always serve this after the meal, along with some coffee to fight off the post-feast sleepiness!
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping
Note: This isn’t a fat-free recipe, though it does have less fat than other recipes of its kind.
4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, cooked (I used a pressure cooker) and peeled
2 tablespoons vegan margarine (leave it out if you have to)
1/4 cup soy creamer or soymilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegan margarine (replacing with apple sauce may work for a low-fat version)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cups chopped pecans
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray (or wipe with canola oil).
Mash the sweet potatoes (with the margarine, if you’re using it) until smooth. Add the soy creamer, orange juice, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
Mix the topping ingredients together until well-combined. Spread or sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 45 minutes or until hot throughout.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s) | Cooking time: 50 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 10
Makes about 10 servings. Per serving: 298 Calories (kcal); 13g Total Fat; (38% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 195mg Sodium; 3g Fiber.