Sweet potatoes are a quintessential part of our family’s holiday traditions- in fact, I can’t remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas without them on the table. Growing up, my aunt was hailed for making an amazing sweet potato casserole with pecan crunch topping. Every casserole she made contained a whole lot of love… and butter… and sugar! Essentially, our traditional sweet potato casserole probably deserved a place on the dessert table- rich, decadent, creamy, sugary sweet with candied pecans to top it off. She always received rave reviews!
Holidays without some treats wouldn’t be holidays, they would just feel like normal days. But I think we can all agree that holidays with back-to-back days of overindulgence often leads to guilt and a thickening waistline.
So, what’s the balance?!
Well, I am not sure it exists, at least not by definition. But, I do believe that we can all navigate the holidays without experiencing guilt and shame about what we are eating and how we are living our days.
Several years ago, I was asked to create a “holiday recipe” for a cooking demonstration we were doing for a local television segment along with 2 other Registered Dietitians. It was this moment that I thought fondly of my aunt and how I could create a delicious sweet potato recipe that paid tribute to her decadent creation but lightened up.
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans is my interpretation of a recipe redux. In fact, this recipe is figure friendly enough for anyone’s dinner table throughout the year! But, it certainly has the aroma of the holidays! Warm cinnamon with a bit of chili powder and dash of heat from cayenne is a masterful spice blend that compliments the maple glazed sweet potatoes. The pecan pieces get slightly candied as they cook and provide the perfect nutty crunch.
Traditions are sweet and sentimental, but if you are ready to shake it up, try out a different spin on sweet potatoes this year, this Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans doesn’t disappoint! But let me warn you… your family might request this recipe year round because it is just that good! Thankfully, it is as easy as it is delicious!
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup pecans rough chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large baking sheet with non-stick foil and spray with oil (or use a Silpat Mat).
Chop sweet potatoes into bite size pieces about 1-inch cubes and place in large bowl. Stir in pecans, maple syrup, and spices into the bowl. Toss well to coat sweet potatoes and nuts.
Spread sweet potatoes and pecans on baking sheet. Make sure to use a spatula to scrape out all the maple syrup and nuts out of the bowl.
Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are lightly golden brown on edges, stirring once halfway through. Serve warm.
You MUST use non-stick foil OR a non-stick silicone mat. Greasing regular foil still leads to sticking- I learned the hard way.
While these sweet potatoes are the perfect holiday side dish, they are also super yummy on top of salad greens with a bit of goat cheese, chicken, and a balsamic dressing!
Nutrition Per Serving
Calories 176; Fat 7g; Saturated Fat 0.7g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 82mg; Potassium 476mg; Carbohydrate 27g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 13g (Added Sugars 7g; Natural Sugars 6g); Protein 3g
Happy Holidays… year ‘round!