Sweet potato casserole is always a delicious part of the Thanksgiving menu, but I wondered–can I make a lighter version? The traditional stuff is as heavy and rich as dessert, but I want to save my calories for where they count: gravy, stuffing, and pie. So I did some experimenting and the result is this lighter take on the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole. It has all of the flavors you expect, plus a few tropical ones.
This version is fragrant, rich, and totally vegan. The ginger and coconut milk lend a distinctive tropical flavor, while the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and maple hit more traditional notes. Whether you are vegan, or just looking for a lighter version of the traditional sweet potato casserole, this is a delicious Thanksgiving side dish.
Maple Ginger Sweet Potato Casserole with Coconut Milk
6 cups sweets potatoes, sliced paper thin or shredded
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1 can coconut milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 – 4” section of ginger peeled and grated
1/2 cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a large 9 x 13” casserole dish. Combine the coconut milk, sugar, spices, salt, zest, and ginger in a small bowl. Add the sweet potatoes and oil to the casserole dish, make sure the sweet potatoes are well coated with oil. Pour the wet ingredients in. Stir until everything is well combined. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the shredded coconut and put into the oven to bake.
After 30 minutes, take the dish out of the oven and stir the sweet potatoes being sure to move things around. The outer edges will bake more quickly, so try and stir things well. Put back in the oven and bake for another 45 minutes or more. The edges should be brown and caramelized and the coconut should be lightly toasted. Garnish with the remaining shredded coconut and a few twists of orange zest, and serve.
Try these other healthy Thanksgiving recipes from the Family Kitchen: