Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

DF GF V VG

This healthy sweet potato casserole is lower in sugar, dairy-free and made with a crunchy oatmeal pecan topping. Vegan + gluten-free.

Sweet potato casserole has always been my favorite holiday side dish. Growing up my mom made it three times a year (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter) and I was always so pumped to have it. Creamy sweet potatoes topped with a crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping… it’s literally the best thing ever.

Overhead view looking at a rectangular baking dish containing healthy sweet potato casserole topped with a crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping.

A Holiday Classic, Made Healthy

Using my mom’s classic sweet potato casserole recipe as a guide I decided to make a healthy sweet potato casserole that’s filled with better-for-you ingredients. While creating it, I made sure that it doesn’t taste “too healthy.” I want it to be a dish you’re excited to share with friends and family at a holiday meal!

You know what I mean here, right? There are certain healthy recipes that I make for myself and Isaac and I love them but I wouldn’t bring them to a party or a holiday dinner. This sweet potato casserole isn’t one of those recipes. It’s meant to be shared. We love this healthy version of sweet potato casserole so much… maybe even a tiny bit more than mom’s, but we’ll keep that a secret.

Ingredients measured out to make healthy sweet potato casserole: sweet potatoes, coconut milk, maple syrup, flaxseed, coconut oil, vanilla, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, oats, oat flour and pecans.

Ingredients Needed

My mom’s recipe uses canned yams, white sugar, white flour, eggs and butter. With a few small tweaks I was able to make a healthier version that still has all the flavor and texture of the classic version I grew up with.

  • fresh sweet potatoes – we’re using fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned to make a sweet potato puree.
  • flaxseed – this is a replacement for the egg in regular sweet potato casserole.
  • coconut oil – I like using this as a replacement for butter. You can sub this for vegan butter or even regular butter if you don’t need the recipe to be vegan.
  • maple syrup – this is added to the sweet potato puree for an extra hint of natural sweetness.
  • coconut milk – I prefer to use canned coconut milk for this recipe because it’s rich and creamy, but if needed you can sub it for almond milk or oat milk.
  • vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt – flavor enhancers.
  • brown sugar – this adds sweetness to the topping and makes it perfectly crunchy. Feel free to use coconut sugar, if desired.
  • pecans – pecans add a nutty flavor and crunch to the topping. I personally love the combo of sweet potato and pecans but if needed you use sub walnuts for the pecans or use more oats for a nut-free version.
  • rolled oats – for the topping. Use gluten-free rolled oats if needed.
  • almond flour or oat flour – this helps bind the topping together. Oat and almond flour both work great. Feel free to use whichever you have on hand.

I know some folks prefer a marshmallow topping instead of the brown sugar topping. If this is you, feel free to try my classic sweet potato casserole instead.

How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

The first step is to cook the sweet potatoes. You’ll peel and chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place the chunks in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Once done, drain well and let cool. Alternatively you can use the flesh from four baked sweet potatoes.

A glass mixing bowl containing sweet potato chopped into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a little cooking spray on your baking dish. I recommend a 9×13 or 9×9 casserole dish.

A ceramic mixing bowl containing oats, brown sugar, pecans, oat flour and coconut oil mixed together to make a topping for casserole.

Next, you’ll want to make the topping. In a mixing bowl, combine the pecans, oats, flour, and brown sugar. Cut in coconut oil with a fork or knife until the mixture is sandy with pea-sized chunks of oil. Set aside.

A mixing bowl containing mashed sweet potatoes. A fork rests inside the bowl.

For the sweet potato mixture you’ll place sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash them with a fork or potato masher to make a thick puree before adding coconut milk, maple syrup, oil, flaxseed, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined.

Side by side photo of a casserole dish with healthy potato casserole before and after the crumble topping is added to the sweet potato mixture.

Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle on the brown sugar and pecan mixture. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sweet potatoes are warm throughout.

A ceramic dish containing healthy sweet potato casserole.

Prepare This Casserole Ahead of Time

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or don’t want to spend your holiday morning making your dish to share, you can prep this casserole ahead of time! I prefer to prep the sweet potato base, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and then prep the topping separately.

On the morning you serve it, simply place the sweet potato mixture in a casserole dish, add the topping and bake as the instructions suggest! If you want it to be fully cooked, you can bake the entire casserole ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days. To reheat, heat the oven to 350°F and heat for about 20 minutes, or until the casserole is warm.

I don’t recommend freezing it because the consistency would likely change. 

An overhead view of sweet potato casserole in a ceramic baking dish. A spoon rest inside the dish where a few servings have been removed. A small plate is next to the dish containing a serving of the casserole.

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a fabulous holiday side dish and it pairs wonderfully with just about any protein. Of course, turkey and ham are the classics for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this casserole is amazing served with vegetarian mains like my lentil loaf or this marinated tempeh.

A spoon is holding up a bite of healthy sweet potato casserole. The baking dish containing the casserole is below it.

More Sweet Potato Recipes

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Don’t forget to check out all of my sweet potato recipes and the full collection of Thanksgiving recipes here on EBF.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

4 from 102 votes
This healthy sweet potato casserole is lower in sugar, dairy-free and made with a crunchy oatmeal pecan topping. Vegan + gluten-free.
A spoon is holding up a bite of healthy sweet potato casserole. The baking dish containing the casserole is below it.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 8 cups sweet potatoes, about 4 large potatoes
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk, light or regular
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • cup oat flour or almond flour
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil, in solid form

Instructions
 

  • Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place the chunks in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Once done, drain well and let cool.
    A glass mixing bowl containing sweet potato chopped into bite size pieces.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a little cooking spray on a 9×13 or 9×9 inch casserole dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the pecans, oats, oat flour, and brown sugar. Cut in coconut oil with a fork or knife until the mixture is sandy with pea-sized chunks of oil. Set aside.
    A ceramic mixing bowl containing oats, brown sugar, pecans, oat flour and coconut oil mixed together to make a topping for casserole.
  • Place sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash them with fork before adding coconut milk, maple syrup, oil, flaxseed, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined.
    A mixing bowl containing mashed sweet potatoes. A fork rests inside the bowl.
  • Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle on the brown sugar and pecan mixture. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sweet potatoes are bubbling.
    A ceramic dish containing healthy sweet potato casserole.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1/16 of recipe Calories: 277kcal Carbohydrates: 40g Protein: 3g Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 6g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 358mg Potassium: 24mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 10g
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy sweet potato casserole

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please leave a comment and star rating on this post and share on social media using the hashtag #eatingbirdfood. I love seeing your recipe shares!
This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




    131 comments
    1. Ann
      November 28, 2021 AT 11:43 pm

      5 stars
      This recipe was so easy and so delicious. My family loved it – there were no leftovers!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2021 AT 10:21 am

        Woo!! Happy to hear this sweet potato casserole was a hit, Ann. Thanks so much for making it and coming back to leave a review!

    2. Kirsten Perry
      November 28, 2021 AT 7:34 am

      5 stars
      Delicious!!! A lot like the one my granny would make every year for Thanksgiving. I made it for a special fall Shabbat breakfast.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2021 AT 10:23 am

        Woo!! So pumped this sweet potato casserole was a hit. Thanks for the review, Kirsten!

    3. Laura
      November 27, 2021 AT 12:15 pm

      5 stars
      My family LOVED healthier version of sweet potatoes. I will definitely be adding it to our holiday menu!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2021 AT 10:27 am

        Yay! Happy to hear this sweet potato casserole was a hit, Laura! Thanks so much for the review!

    4. Jessica
      November 26, 2021 AT 7:22 pm

      5 stars
      This dish was the hit at Thanksgiving! I made both this version and then one topped with marshmallows. The base recipe was perfect – not too sweet and the crumble topping was so good. Subbed the flax seed for an actual egg as I was worried about it being too nutty but will try it with the flax seed next time.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2021 AT 10:33 am

        Ah yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Jessica. Thanks so much for making both versions and coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    5. Ida P
      November 26, 2021 AT 6:06 pm

      5 stars
      So good! Followed the recipe exactly and it may be my new favorite holiday dish.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2021 AT 10:34 am

        Ah yay! So happy to hear this casserole was a hit. Thanks for the review, Ida!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

5 SECRETS TO
HEALTHY SNACKING

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

GET A 3 DAY CLEAN EATING MEAL PLAN

Subscribe to our list and get your free printable PDF of the 3 Day Clean Eating Meal Plan and Shopping List!

X