This apple and sweet potato casserole tastes just like Grandma used to make, but is healthier by using a sweet potato apple blend in the filling, coconut sugar in the topping, and is gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. Serve it warm with some ice cream for a perfect ending to your Thanksgiving dinner.
Sweetness Without the Sugar
Without all of the added sugar, how do we get the filling to be so sweet and creamy? Well that is because we have a secret ingredient. One that is HEALTHY rather than fattening, actually adds nutrition to the dish, and cuts down on the calories per volume! So what is that ingredient? …Apples!
I added two chopped apples to the sweet potatoes in the crock pot. Apples are so naturally sweet, so they add a great sweet flavor to the filling without having to use added refined sugars.
They also contain more moisture than sweet potatoes. This makes the filling more naturally smoother, lighter, and creamier, without having to add cream, butter, or another filler to create that smooth consistency that is high in calories and fat.
Mix or Mash
Once your sweet potato and apple filling is done cooking, you have the option to either mash it with a potato masher, or mix it with an electric mixer. Either option is perfectly fine. The potatoes will be really soft after three hours of cooking, and they will mash into a very smooth texture. However, I prefer using an electric mixer to really get that extra smooth consistency and whip some air into the filling to make it sit a little lighter. But if you don’t have a mixer, do not let that be the reason you don’t make this dish. It is just as good mashed and your guests will love it! Don’t make them miss out on a great recipe because of a silly mixer 😛
Let’s Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole!
We talked about the filling already, but there are a couple of things I want to make sure I point out to help make your topping turn out as perfectly as possible.
Oats – To get my topping extra crispy, I took my cup of rolled oats and spread them on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and baked them alone first. I turned the oven to 350 F and just let them sit in there while I prepared other parts of the topping, maybe 10-15 minutes. You can broil for a quicker option, just watch carefully so you don’t burn them.
Nuts – I have sliced almonds and chopped pecans in mason jars in my kitchen. So that is what I based my 1/3 cup of each off of. If you only have whole nuts, measuring out 1/3 cup might yield a little less, so you can adjust and add more if you want. The amount for this is really up to you, it just adds some different flavors and types of crunch to the topping, plus different health benefits! Either way I still recommend putting them through the food processor first so they blend with the together with the oats better.
Sweeteners – When adding the brown sugar, don’t just dump in the tablespoon all in one spot. Brown sugar is sticky, and if you do this it is not going to find it’s way evenly throughout the oats, regardless of how much stirring you do. So avoid one bite of topping being a burst of brown sugar with the rest seriously lacking the delicious sweet taste, and add it slowly to the oats, while continuously stirring the mixture.
The same rule goes for the agave. Although agave is somewhat fluid and will be able to disperse itself better than brown sugar can, it is thick and if you only add it in one spot it won’t easily spread itself evenly throughout the topping. And you want your entire topping to be somewhat moist in order to ensure best crispiness results. So just make it easier on yourself and add this slowly too, while stirring the mixture to allow it to spread.
Marshmallows – My one tip is to add them at the very end, and don’t turn the temperature up too high. When cooking the dish I start at 350F for about 20 minutes to get the filling warm and start to crisp the top, then broil (CAREFULLY) for about five minutes to really crisp the top. Then I take it out of the oven, turn the heat down to about 200-250F, sprinkle on my marshmallows, and put it back in just until the marshmallows melt and start to turn a nice golden brown. The first time I did this I left it at 350F and my marshmallows got crispy. Still yummy, but not as good as a warm, melted, gooey marshmallow topping. Do the last cooking step right before serving to ensure a warm dish and gooey marshmallows!
Now you know all the tricks, time to get cooking!Print