Every Thanksgiving since I can remember, we’ve cooked and served the same dishes: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Great-Grandma’s cranberry salad, Dad’s homemade whole wheat rolls, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes. (Don’t forget the pumpkin and pecan pies, complete with whipped cream, for after the feast!)
Sometime during middle school, we nixed the green bean casserole in favorite of lightly steaming the veggies instead. Then a few holidays later, in my last year of high school or first semester at college, Mom decided to try a new sweet potato dish.
Our original recipe was about as traditional as they come: sliced sweet potatoes combined with green apples, baked with cinnamon and brown sugar, then topped with toasted marshmallows. If my family felt a little crazy, they even added pecans to half. (My brother and I hated nuts back then!)
But that particular November, Mom tentatively approached me the night before while holding out an issue of Cooking Light, my favorite magazine. She pointed at a recipe for mashed sweet potato casserole, explaining that she was thinking about making it, but she wanted to ask Dad and me first. Up until then, we both loved our traditional Thanksgiving menu!
After skimming through the recipe, I agreed to give it a try, and when I took my first bite the following afternoon at our feast, I nearly replaced my entire plate with the casserole dish! Those creamy sweet potatoes, with hint of cinnamon and sweet maple syrup, practically tasted like pumpkin pie.
This year, I decided to come up with my own slightly healthier version and created this Maple Sweet Potato Casserole. It has all of the same cozy and addictive flavors but none of the refined sugar. Thank goodness my guy hates sweet potatoes… I didn’t want to share a single bite!
To speed up the process, I baked my sweet potatoes in the microwave for just 8-10 minutes on high, turning them oven halfway through. It’s so much faster than waiting an hour for them to finish in the oven! Then I scooped out the insides but left a little clinging to the skin…
Because I have an incredible recipe for sweet potato skins I’m posting in a few days that are perfect for leftovers! So I highly recommend that you do the same. Just pop those in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the stuffed skins.
Now beat the insides with an electric mixer and add the rest of the ingredients. The egg white helps give them structure and hold them together after baking, while the butter and milk provide richness and the maple syrup boosts their naturally sweet flavor.
To finish off the casserole, I didn’t want to use the traditional marshmallows, and from the sounds of the comments some of you posted on Facebook, you prefer your casserole without. Instead, I made my favorite maple glaze with Greek yogurt and maple syrup to drizzle over the top. It’s the perfect creamy compliment to the cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes!
The first day I made this cozy Maple Sweet Potato Casserole, I immediately inhaled two servings for lunch. Followed by another as a snack. And a fourth as dessert. Yes, I ate vegetables for dessert instead of cookies or cupcakes—they’re that addictive!
We may need a double batch for Thanksgiving… One for me and one for everyone else!