Last week I was asked to create a Yam casserole for an upcoming Christmas family gathering. To tell you the truth, I love yams & sweet potatoes plainly baked in the oven & served with a little butter, salt & pepper. I’ve never made a Baked Yam Casserole before.
As always, my criteria for a recipe that the whole family can enjoy is that it must be low in sugar, gluten & dairy free & as healthy as I can possibly make it, without compromising the recipes taste & texture. Most of the recipes that I researched had at least triple the sugar, which I don’t feel is needed for the flavor or the yams is naturally sweet enough.
Two of the major ingredients of this Baked Yam Casserole are considered Superfoods. Here’s why:
The Benefits of Yams & Sweet Potatoes
Yams & Sweet Potatoes are considered Superfoods as they contain low glycemic & high fiber carbohydrates that are full of beta carotene, which is a potent anti oxidant & rich source Vitamin A. These nutrients are extremely important for our immune system, skin, vision, bones & our hormone health.
Yams & Sweet Potatoes have been shown to lower our risk for cancer, macular degeneration, lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol & control blood sugar
The Benefits of Pecans
Pecans, the only tree nut native to North America have some amazing health benefits as well.
Pecans are a major support to our immune system. They re packed with vitamins E, A, B12, magnesium, copper & zinc. They are also rich in ellagic acid which is known to slow cancer growth & support brain function.
Pecans reduce inflammation in our bodies with their high levels of beta carotene, Omega-3 oils, manganese, Vitamin E & copper.
Because of their high anti-inflammatory properties,
Pecans have been designated as a heart healthy food by the American Heart Association.
Pecans stabilize blood sugar & help to promote healthy weight loss. They are both high in protein & fiber which helps one feel fuller longer & slows down our appetite.
Lastly, Pecans help to guard against osteoporosis as they are a great source of both calcium & vitamin D.
I believe I have a winning recipe here. The yams were delicious & the crunchy topping really made it a holiday special dish. Everyone loved this Baked Yam Casserole & many went for seconds!
Notes: What we call yams in North America are actually a rich orange colored sweet potato. Real yams are actually a tiny root vegetable not available in regular supermarkets.
I made this casserole up a few days early & cooked it just before the party. The key is to prepare and refrigerate the yam base. You can also prepare the topping but make sure you store it at room temperature in a tightly covered container. Spread the topping on the yams just before you bake it.
Lastly, I used brown sugar but you can easily substitute all the sugar with a granulated substitute like Stevia.
Baked Yam Casserole (feeds 12-16 people)
For the Yams
- 8 tablespoons dairy free soft butter
- 8 large yams (see note)
- 1 cup dairy free milk (almond or oat work well)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- 4 eggs
For the Topping
- 1 cup Gluten Free flour
- ½ cup brown sugar ( or granulated sugar substitute)
- 8 tablespoons dairy free butter, melted
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
For the Yam Base
Prebake the yams in a 350degree oven until they are soft & the skin peels off easily. Once cool, remove the skins and mash the yams.
Butter an 8 by 14 inch glass casserole dish.
With an electric mixer on low, combine mashed yams, dairy free milk, dairy free butter, vanilla, salt & eggs. Blend until well combined. Transfer to baking dish.
For the Topping:
Combine the flour, sugar, melted butter & salt in a bowl until the mixture becomes moist & sticks together. Add in the chopped pecans & stir until combined.
Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the yams, covering the entire base. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown & the casserole is set in the center.
Besides this Baked Yam Casserole, here are six other Holiday Side Dishes that you might enjoy