Monday, November 14, 2011

Lightened Sweet Potato Casserole

In my family, especially on my Mother's side, sweet potato casserole is a given for Thanksgiving dinner-- you just cannot have Thanksgiving without it.  While the family recipe (from my Grandmother) is really scrumptious with a streusel pecan top, it is a calorie-laden bomb (one year it literally became a bomb when I dropped it in the dining room and it exploded all over my relatives, but that's another story for another time).  I do love sweet potato casserole though, and it's one of the things I look forward to most on the Thanksgiving table.  I wanted to find a recipe that was more conducive to making during the fall that wasn't so heavy, so that we could enjoy it more often than just once a year.

A couple of years ago, I turned to my favorite healthy recipe source, Cooking Light, and found this recipe for sweet potato casserole.  While it has a marshmallow topping instead of the streusel topping I'm used to, I love marshmallows so that was fine with me.  I decided to give this recipe a try when we were having guests for dinner (I know, always a risky idea, but they are the kind of good friends who would be up for ordering pizza if everything stunk, so I knew it would be ok).

This ended up being one of my favorite sweet potato casseroles ever and has become one that I make often during the fall and winter.  I even ended up making it for Thanksgiving and Easter last year instead of our family's usual recipe. Can you believe it? I almost feel guilty as I'm typing that! :) I promise I'm not just saying I like it because it's "light," I'd make it even if it weren't.  First, it's really easy to make, so if you are making this on Thanksgiving, it's one casserole you can put together in about 15 minutes.  Second, the sweet potato is so perfectly flavored-- a little brown sugar, vanilla, butter, and salt-- I just love that sweet/salty combo!  It really goes perfectly with the marshmallow pecan topping.

Sweet Potato Casserole

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups miniature marshmallows


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender.  Drain and cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Add sugar and the next 3 ingredients (through vanilla). Mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher.  Fold in 1/4 cup of pecans.  Scrape potato mixture into an even layer into an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of pecans; top with marshmallows.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden.

This recipe makes 16 servings.  1 serving= 5 Weight Watcher's Points Plus (1.6g Protein, 33.1 Carbs, 5.5g. fat, 2.5g. fiber)

Recipe from Cooking Light


  1. I've never had sweet potatoes and marshmallows. This looks fun and delicious!

  2. Growing up, I think we were the only family in the south that didn't have marshmallows on sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving--or ever. I dearly longed for them!


  3. Oh this will be just perfect!! thanks so much - my girls will love you forever!!
    mary x

  4. Cooking Light always has such wonderful recipes. I recently made a sweet potato casserole, but used a pecan mixture on top instead. Yours sounds divine though! I would gladly serve this on Thanksgiving. :)

  5. This sounds like a perfect lightened up version, Ryan! I like it in small doses so if it's a little less heavy, I would probably just want to eat more of it! :)

  6. This is making my stomach growl. Too bad it's bed time...I think I am going to be hungry all night now :-)

  7. Ryan, In our house, Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. I love your lightened up version.

  8. I like this lighter version of a traditionally heavy classic. Thanks for the upgrade!

  9. Wow.. Nice casserole.. I was looking for something fun kinda .. First time on ur space and love your cakes and clicks. Happy to follow you. :o)

  10. Don't you have to wait until the casserole has only 5 min left before adding the marshmallows? Otherwise they'll burn.

  11. Hi Debbie, I know it would seem like they would burn, but for this recipe, you put the marshmallows and pecans on at the same time before baking. I double checked the original recipe just to be sure. Here's the link:

  12. Whoops, hit publish too quickly. Thanks for your comment and Happy Thanksgiving!


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