Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up

My Sweet Potato Casserole lightened up still has all the buttery, brown sugar flavor of a traditional casserole with half the calories!

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

Sweet Potato Casserole is my favorite Thanksgiving side dish. It wins by a mile. I will happily pile up my plate with gravy-free turkey, steamed green beans and a whole-wheat roll as long as I have my sweet potato casserole.

Who doesn’t love eating dessert WITH dinner before getting to the real dessert…pie?!

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

In high school and college, my best friend, Julia, regularly joined my family for Thanksgiving. She was in charge of bringing her sweet potato casserole…It was crazy good. Sweet, buttery filling topped with a toothachingly sweet brown sugar pecan topping. The good stuff.

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

Last year when I was planning on hosting Thanksgiving for the first time (You can read about my adventures with that here, here, and here!), I requested the recipe from Julia, and I almost fell out of my chair. There was more butter and sugar in the casserole than I even had in my cupboard!

So, with the help of my husband, I lightened it up.

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

This isn’t a healthy sweet potato casserole; so don’t even go there. It’s just not as indulgent as a traditional one!

Most of the calorie savings are from drastically reducing the butter and sugar in the filling. To me the topping is sacrosanct and shouldn’t be messed with, but you could always reduce the sugar and add more flour and oats as filler. But why? It’s Thanksgiving, the day of indulgence!

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

This casserole has brown sugar in every bite but it isn’t cloyingly sweet. Toasting the pecans is calorie free flavor boost! It has the added benefit of keeping them a touch crunchier even after refrigerating. Since I reduced the amount of butter and sugar in the filling, the actual sweet potato flavor is more pronounced and you are reminded why sweet potatoes are so awesome even by themselves!

My husband likes sliced sweet potatoes in this casserole but I got distracted (shock!) and cooked the thin slivers too long and they didn’t hold together in a beautiful layered form like last Thanksgiving. Immersion blender to the rescue!

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

Fortunately they are just as good when the filling is mashed. It just doesn’t look as classy.

An easy recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up! Still packed with brown sugar, buttery goodness but with half the calories!

Kitchen Tip: Boiling the sweet potatoes will preserve that beautiful, bright orange color. This will provide a gorgeous color contrast in the casserole but will also keep your sweet potato pies, cakes and cupcakes orange too!

Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 8

Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up

My lightened up Sweet Potato Casserole still has all the buttery, brown sugar flavor of a traditional casserole with half the calories!

Ingredients

    For the Filling:
  • 3 pounds (uncooked) sweet potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick (or cubed)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, unpacked
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup low fat milk
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • pinch salt
  • For the Topping:
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a large bowl combine brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, butter and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Boil sweet potatoes in cold water, just covering, until fork tender. Drain well.
  4. Toss sweet potatoes in the butter mixture. If you are going to puree your potatoes, you can do it at this stage or you can press the potatoes through a ricer after draining.
  5. Pour into a 1 ½ - 2 quart casserole dish.
  6. Mix all the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl and sprinkle over the top.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes until bubbling.

Notes:

I did like this casserole better when it was prepared right before baking, but an overnight stay in the refrigerator wasn’t the end of the world. If you do want to prepare it ahead of time, make the filling and refrigerate or freeze that, then prepare the topping right before baking.

I halved this recipe for the dish that you see in the photos.

http://americanheritagecooking.com/2014/11/sweet-potato-casserole-lightened-up/

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This recipe is linked to: Inspiration Monday, Merry Monday, Munching Monday, Monday Funday, Two Cup Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Party Time, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Gluten Free Wednesday, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Gluten Free Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Flashback Friday, Saturday Night Fever, Sweet and Savoury Sundays


Comments

  1. says

    I would happily forego the turkey just to have more room for side dishes and dessert :) Especially this sweet potato casserole, it looks incredible and I love that you lightened it up too! I would totally be piling a big serving or two of this on my plate :) Pinned!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      LOL that makes 2 of us, Kelly! I only eat the turkey because I have to have something to put my cranberry chutney on!

  2. Denise says

    A wonderful collection of Thanksgiving staples – definitely will try the lightened up sweet potato casserole. Thank you

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Oh wow, you have waaaaay more will power than I! I eat sweet potato casserole AND dessert. I figure it’s one day a year…

  3. says

    I am *so* glad you’re featuring some lightened up recipes to counteract my eatin’ pants posts! LOL. I personally love sweet potatoes, and I’m with you – the topping should not be messed with! Having dessert with dinner sounds like a perfectly acceptable and necessary idea to me! I am loving it! Pinned!
    Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen recently posted…Creamed Pearl OnionsMy Profile

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      lol! I’m trying to make sure that my eaten’ pants aren’t the only pants that fit in January! Thanks for the pin

  4. says

    Haha! I think we were separated at birth…as soon as I saw “gravy-free turkey,” I knew we must be related somehow. I can’t stand gravy on my turkey! Now to be fair, we might be like distant cousins or something because I just don’t love sweet potato casserole. Sweet potato pie? Now that’s a whole different story…but I have some weird issue with sweet and savory flavors combined in a savory style dish. With all of that said, your sweet potato casserole looks amazing…and I love the toasted pecans. Nice work!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Olive and Roasted Red Pepper CrackersMy Profile

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      My money is on distant cousins. But let me make sweet potato casserole for you and we’ll see how you feel then, mmkay? Maybe it will help if you think about sweet potato casserole as a crustless, deep-dish pie with a crumble topping?

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Yours is probably way healthier than this one..and that is why you are so thin! :-) The sliced sweet potatoes were so pretty…if only I hadn’t been distracted!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      We all have our preferences! Absolutely you can leave them in chunks and it will taste just as good. I like to make this casserole with sliced sweet potatoes, which I planned to do here but I forgot about them on the stove and they cooked too long to stay whole, so I had no choice but to mash them!

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