If you’re looking for a Paleo-friendly Thanksgiving dish that will still please your non-Paleo family, you have got to try this Sweet Potato Casserole.
I’ve replaced the marshmallow topping with meringue, which still gives you a satisfying creaminess but with much less sugar (and no artificial ingredients).
Personally, I didn’t feel that the base of the casserole needed any added sweetener since roasted sweet potatoes have so much natural sweetness. So you can decide whether or not to include it based on your personal taste. The meringue adds quite a bit of sweetness.
It’s handy since the base can be made ahead of time to save you oven space. And the meringue is ready quickly on the stovetop and quickly broiled just before serving.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
A note on dairy: I have not tried subbing out the yogurt for coconut cream. It should work, but will give you a softer base. The butter could then be subbed out for coconut oil.
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Sweet Potato Casserole
Yields: 12 servings
For the base:
4 lb. sweet potatoes (or your favorite winter squash)
5-6 oz. plain grass-fed, full-fat greek yogurt
1/4 c. maple syrup (optional, can adjust to taste)
6 tbsp. softened butter or ghee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
For the meringue:
2/3 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. filtered water
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Heat the oven to 400F.
Cover the sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until extremely soft. (I like to bake until they start to ooze to caramelize them a bit.) Remove from the oven, take off the foil, and all them to cool until they can be peeled easily. Note: this step can be done ahead of time.
Turn the oven down to 350F. Have ready a 9×13 baking pan.
Prepare the base by adding the yogurt, eggs, maple syrup, softened butter, vanilla extract, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large food processor. Process until combined. Add the cooled and peeled sweet potato. Process until the mixture is very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
Scoop the mix out into the baking pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 40 minutes.
Note: everything up to this point can be done ahead of time but the following steps should be done close to serving the casserole.
Prepare the topping by adding the 2/3 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup water to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 240F without stirring. (Note: use the smallest pan you have. If it’s too large, the thermometer will struggle to get an accurate reading.) You know it’s ready when you add a drop of it to a glass of cool water and it balls up into a soft, caramel-like texture.
Meanwhile, add the 3 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer to medium-low and beat until fluffy. Turn the speed to maximum high and beat until stiff peaks form. Once ready, turn the speed to run on low until the maple syrup is ready.
With the mixer on low speed, very slowly drizzle the hot maple syrup mixture down the side of the bowl. Once fully incorporated, move the speed to medium until smooth. Then move the speed to high until you have a smooth meringue. The mixture will have tripled in volume. It should look glassy and shiny and hold a smooth peak when scooped from the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and nutmeg and mix briefly on high to combine.
To pipe a decorative topping (as shown), scoop the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a wide star tip. You can also just scoop it out onto the top of the casserole and create some fluffy peaks with an offset spatula. To brown the top, place the casserole under the broiler with the oven rack at the very bottom (keep on eye, it will only take a few minutes max) OR use a kitchen torch for a quick pass over top.
Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and serve immediately.