Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans and Marshmallows

In my household growing up, sweet potato casserole was the one Thanksgiving side that was completely ignored. Unfortunately for my deep love for this vegetable and constant sweet tooth, this dish never made the cut for my mother’s standards. Whether it be the fact that we already had mashed potatoes and another potato dish brought by my grandmother (that, if ignored, would cause an absolute uproar from my sister), she just didn’t feel the need for this third starch, or the fact that marshmallows were something she didn’t see fit for a dinner table, I never knew what I was missing. It wasn’t until I began hosting my own Friendsgiving and researching recipes and menus online when I realized how deprived (insert overreaction) I was as a child without this glorious dish next to my turkey. I soon took my favorite method of cooking sweet potatoes – low and slow in the slow cooker so that the ooey gooey sugar begins to seep out of the pores and the inside can be eaten with a spoon it is so soft and delicious – and mixed it with my love for toasted nuts and constant desire for something sweet. Alas, an absolute fan favorite of my Friendsgiving crowd. This dish will also always have a sweet spot in my heart because, as proven and always reminded by the scar on my inner forearm, it was the dish I cooked in my first industrial kitchen at non-other than Blue Smoke restaurant at an Umi Kitchen holiday cookoff (one of the highlights of my Freckled Foodie venture).

Ingredients (serves ~10 people):

Special Equipment: slow cookerDirections:

  1. Wash the sweet potatoes, poke holes in them with a fork, and wrap individually in tinfoil. Place the tinfoil wrapped potatoes in the slow cooker on high for 7 hours and allow to cook

  2. At some point while the potatoes are cooking, place the pecans on a baking tray and place in the oven @ 425° for ~10 minutes or until they are fragrant and before they burn

  3. When the pecans are cool, crush them with your hands into small pieces and then coat them with maple syrup

  4. Unwrap the cooked potatoes and split them down the center then allow them to cool

  5. Scoop out the center of the now room-temperature potatoes and place them in a bowl

  6. Stir in the almond milk, cinnamon, and allspice

If preparing this the day prior:

  1. Refrigerate this mixture overnight

If not preparing this the day prior, ignore step 7:

  1. When ready to serve, allow the mixture to reach room temperature and then place, in a baking dish, in the oven @ 375° until hot (~30 minutes)

  2. Place a layer of maple syrup pecans and then a layer of mini-marshmallows on top of the mashed potatoes and cook in the oven until the marshmallows are golden

  3. Remove the dish and serve hot

Tip: if trying to maximize refrigerator space and time, store the casserole mixture in a flattened Ziploc bag in the fridge. When ready to cook, place the Ziploc bag in a bowl of warm water in order to bring the entire mixture to room temperatureCompliant Diets:

  1. Gluten Free

  2. Dairy Free