I’m calling this a side dish, but anyone who wants to can feel free to call me out on that.
I think (it’s at least arguable) that this could also pass for a mighty fine dessert.
I mean, come on. It has vanilla. And sugar. And hazelnut streusel topping. (Personally, I’d be happy as a clam at high tide with a pretty little bowl of this put down in front of me as dessert!)
My inspiration was marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole (like Cooking Light’s Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole), which as I kid I adored because it was like getting sweets for dinner! This version is much less sweet, yet (as an adult) it still feels like a total indulgence at dinnertime. If you’re into sweet potato casserole, I think you’ll really dig it.
I kept it grain-free and gluten-free, swapped out regular sugar (and/or marshmallows) for coconut sugar, and added healthy fat in the form of coconut oil and hazelnuts. It’s paleo, but completely crowd-friendly, so if you’re looking for a few healthier options to put out on your Thanksgiving dinner table, this one is a good choice.
Plus I’m telling you, if there’s someone who says that they don’t really want dessert, but you know wouldn’t pass up a little something sweet, I think this will satisfy them perfectly.
- 2½ lbs (1.1 kg) sweet potatoes (or yams)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus more to grease the dish (or clarified butter)
- 2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened almond “milk” (or your milk of choice)
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (see Note)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup (56 g) hazelnut meal
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (see Note)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- ⅓ cup (50 g) toasted whole hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 400F; wash the sweet potatoes (or yams) and use a sharp paring knife to poke several holes in each. Place the potatoes into the oven directly on a rack in the center. Bake the potatoes until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes if you’re using 2 (1¼ lbs each) potatoes. To check for doneness, insert the tines of a fork into the center of the potatoes; the fork should easily slide in and out. Cool the potatoes until they’re not too hot to handle.
- While the potatoes bake, make the topping. Add the hazelnut meal, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the melted coconut oil. Add the whole hazelnuts and pulse a few times until they’re coarsely chopped. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F; grease a 1½-quart casserole dish with coconut oil.
- Once the potatoes are cool, peel them and add the flesh to a food processor along with all other ingredients for the sweet potato puree; process until completely smooth.
- Spread the sweet potato puree into the prepared casserole dish; sprinkle on the hazelnut topping.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake until warm throughout, about 30 minutes; serve.
To Make Ahead: Complete through Step 5, but leave off the hazelnut topping until right before you want to bake the casserole. Cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 days; before baking, sprinkle on the hazelnut topping and continue with Step 6.
Just made this sweet potato casserole as a trial run for Thanksgiving. The house smells amazing and it is absolutely delicious! We all love this! This will be a staple for the holiday from now on. Thanks for sharing!
Phoebe @ Feed Me Phoebe says
I would really love to try this! The hazelnut streusel topping looks like an amazing addition. xo
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love hazelnuts, that streusel sounds irresistible!
I mean, I might call this breakfast. Just saying.
Rachel @ Bakerita says
I’m not a fan of the sickly-sweet marshmallow topped casseroles, but this one looks so much better! The flavors sound amazing, and I love that you swapped in coconut sugar and added vanilla. Too delicious! Pinned.
Becky Winkler says
This sounds so good! I love the idea of adding vanilla.
A great casserole and wonderful way to prepare sweet potatoes.
SO, I was totally going to make How Sweets sweet potato casserole…but I think I’m going to make this instead! Bookmarked :)