Sweet potato casserole is an all-time favorite on Thanksgiving for decades. Usually this dish requires dairy and several other ingredients your body just should not be consuming. I transformed this unhealthy dish typically loaded with heavy creams, butter, oil and refined sugars into a GLUTEN-FREE, REFINED SUGAR-FREE, VEGAN, AND PALEO delight without compromising the taste.
From a baby’s first meal to a rich, decadent casserole, sweet potatoes have been enjoyed by many and not just on Thanksgiving. This lovely root vegetable is loaded with vitamins making it a healthy side dish that sometimes can be disguised as a dessert. If all desserts were this healthy, we would not be plagued with such a high obesity rate!
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene and among all the carotenoids, this one can be converted to vitamin A in the human body. They are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect us from free radical damage. Although sweet potatoes have a high sugar content, surprisingly it has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels. But beware, with 400 different varieties of sweet potatoes some have been grown with a higher fructose level.
Several studies have revealed the combination of good fats with sweet potatoes helps the absorption of beta-carotene found in the potatoes. With just 5 grams of an unsaturated fat added will help you achieve the appropriate amount. By including pecans, which contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, not only worked well with this dish it added an extra bit of crunch.
Although some may assume baking the sweet potato might be the best route in preserving the nutritional content but recent studies have revealed otherwise. Steaming has shown an excellent preservation of sweet potato anthocyanins. When boiling the sweet potato the beta-carotene levels are much higher. It also has better blood sugar effects which allows the achievement of a lower glycemic index.
With just a few substitutions, I was able to make this all-time favorite casserole into a guilt-free, rich and decadent delight. Eliminating dairy and oils from this recipe brought down the fat content dramatically which makes it much easier to go back for seconds. If that was not enough, I substituted refined sugar for maple syrup and dates making it a much healthier dish!
Now you can wow your guests with a beautifully presented Thanksgiving dish that is sure to have their taste buds satisfied. It also makes for a fantastic kid friendly dish!