Monday, November 20, 2023

Make Ahead Chunky Sweet Potato Casserole

Everyone loves this staple Thanksgiving side. It's made simple by using frozen cubed sweet potatoes.  And it's easily made gluten free!


 Do you love sweet potato casserole? Or do you have a similar dish on your Thanksgiving table of "candied yams"? Have you always wondered about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? 

Well, I am "Yammie" after all, so allow me to enlighten you...


So, what's the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, you ask? 
The cans labeled as yams in the grocery store are actually just sweet potatoes. Look for the fine print. It should say sweet potatoes on there somewhere. Yams are actually a plant from Africa which look similar to sweet potatoes. When African slaves cultivated sweet potatoes in America, they just called them yams because of the resemblance. So, unless you've been shopping in the international section, you've probably never really had yams at all.



For this recipe you can use canned "yams", cubed and frozen sweet potatoes, or fresh sweet potatoes! I like to use frozen the best. They have the flavor and texture of the fresh and are a lot less work. I find sweet potatoes to be one of the most annoying foods to chop and peel since they're just so big and firm. 

Besides, it's Thanksgiving. If you're like me, you are already chopping, peeling, mixing, and baking so many other dishes, you'll take any shortcut you can find.

I've known my fair share of sweet potato casserole haters in my life. I have converted many with this recipe. 
In fact, when we lived in Berlin, we had some friends over for Thanksgiving since we didn't have any family in the country. I cooked up the whole classic Thanksgiving feast for our little international group (we had friends from Germany, Finland, Iran, and Afghanistan). Every single one of them said that this sweet potato casserole was their favorite dish.


And why shouldn't it be? If you think about it, it's basically like an apple crisp, only with sweet potatoes instead of apples. Plus the crumble topping is loaded with pecans. And topped with toasty marshmallows.
Basically you get to have this disguised dessert on your plate with you turkey knowing that a second round of dessert is coming after. It's the only way to feast on Thanksgiving.
I think what really sets this sweet potato casserole above the rest is that I leave the sweet potatoes chunky. First of all this makes this side super easy to throw together since there's no mashing involved. Secondly, I think the mashed texture is just a little weird with all the sweet toppings. Kind of a glorified baby food. This is so much better. I hope you love it as much as we do.

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