This easy and healthy Sweet Potato Casserole is made with sweet potatoes, butternut squash and candied pecans for a delicious holiday side dish! (gluten free, vegetarian, paleo)
It’s sweet potato casserole time! The most wonderful time of the year!
When I thought about making something for Thanksgiving that was Mexican-inspired for the blog, I knew this easy sweet potato casserole topped with pecans, a little bit of chili powder and smoked paprika would be a hit.
This dish isn’t spicy at all, but the addition of the the chili powder and smoked paprika adds some depth to a casserole that is often so sweet that it masks any other real flavors. I’m not hating on the classic version, but if you’re wanting to save a few calories so you can have an extra slice of pie, then you’re going to love this recipe!
Ingredients for this Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- sweet potatoes
- butternut squash (secret ingredient!)
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- candied pecans
What makes this sweet potato casserole healthy?
This sweet potato casserole is lower in sugar, carbs and fat compared to the traditional sweet potato casserole.
To cut out some of the sugar and carbs, I substituted 1 pound of sweet potatoes with butternut squash. Butternut squash has that yellow/orange color and is similar enough to sweet potatoes that I promise you won’t even notice it’s there! I also omitted the marshmallow topping that a lot of people are used to and just used candied pecans instead.
To remove some of the fat, I simply used less butter. I didn’t find that it made a huge difference, especially when served Thanksgiving style on a plate with ALL THE SIDES. 🙂 Just how I like it.
- To save some time in the kitchen, I recommend buying pre-cut butternut squash and sweet potatoes at the grocery store. It’s not cheating – promise! Not having to peel, seed and chop an entire butternut squash and sweet potatoes makes things super simple. Those things can be such a pain! Not to mention dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- To make this even easier, I used store-bought candied pecans and chopped them to use as the topping. However, if you want to go 100% homemade, take a look at this easy recipe for homemade candied pecans. They take less than 10 minutes to make and taste so delicious.
Can sweet potato casserole be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can make this recipe up to 3 days in advance. Simply make the sweet potato mixture as instructed in the recipe and transfer it into a casserole dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.
To reheat the casserole, microwave it on high for 5 to 8 minutes or bake in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, or until fully heated through. Top with the candied pecans and serve!
I hope you enjoy this casserole as much as I do!
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 4 medium-large sweet potatoes)
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cup candied pecans, roughly chopped
- Heat a large pot of water over medium-high heat until boiling. Cook the sweet potatoes and butternut squash by either placing them in a steamer basket in the pot or placing them directly into the boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes. They're done when they're soft and can easily be pricked with a fork.
- Carefully discard the boiling water and remove the steamer basket. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), puree the cooked butternut squash and sweet potatoes until completely smooth.
- Mix in butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and smoked paprika. Taste and season with salt as needed.
- Transfer mixture to 9x13 serving dish, top with candied pecans and enjoy!