For us, holidays have always focused around two things: food and family. We have big family dinners for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. While there is a little room for creativity, we are pretty much traditionalists when it comes to what we have at each meal. One year, my aunt thought she was going to get away with not making her cheese pie – a riot nearly ensued.
One common staple for all holiday meals is sweet potato soufflé. Over the years it has become one of my specialties. I learned how to make sweet potato soufflé at my grandmother’s side. Her recipes, while all written out somewhere, tended to include a pinch of this and a dash of that until it looked and tasted right. As a kid, I loved helping with the sweet potatoes because it involved tasting the sweet potato slathered in butter and brown sugar. Making the candied pecans for the topping was my fave as I got older.
When we started eating cleaner, sweet potatoes were something I knew I could clean up easily but still make one dish the whole family would enjoy. I still made them the same way as always, boiling the potatoes and adding the rest of the ingredients, but substituting honey for the sugar. Trouble was I was still using a ton of honey to accomplish the sweetness that sweet potato soufflé demands. So even though it was a cleaner sugar, it was still pretty sugar laden. Then one year – breakthrough! When sweet potatoes are well baked, I mean really fork tender all the way through, they are super sweet and have a natural creaminess. That way, we can reduce the added sugar in the recipe to leave room for holiday indulgence elsewhere.
This dish is vegetarian with egg free and dairy free options
Preheat your oven to 350F.Wash the sweet potatoes and place on a baking pan. We simply use parchment paper lined on the bottom of the pan, however, a lot of people do tend to wrap their potatoes in foil. Place the baking pan with the sweet potatoes in the oven.
Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours. The baking time totally depends on your potato size. Smaller potatoes will cook much faster than larger potatoes.
Check the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork. You want the fork to easily slide through the potato. The longer baked, more tender, potato will add that natural sweet and creamy texture to your dish.
Remove the baking pan from the oven and let the potatoes cool. Once your potatoes have cooled, carefully remove the skin of the potato. Your potato should be tender enough that the skin should easily peel off. Scoop the potatoes into a mixing bowl using a salad fork or soup spoon and prepare to mash and mix in additional ingredients.
Add 4 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter (if you prefer), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.
Drizzle some honey onto your sweet potatoes for taste (if desired).
Mix and Mash all of the added ingredients in the sweet potatoes with a potato masher. Make sure that the mix has an even consistency.
Scoop your mixed and mashed sweet potatoes out of the mixing bowl and place evenly in a baking dish. We typically use a round soufflé dish or sometimes a 9×9 inch glass baking dish, both dishes work well for baking this recipe.
Top the mashed sweet potato mix with the chopped pecans.
Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of cinnamon over the pecans and drizzle honey over the potatoes and pecans.
Bake covered for an additional 30 minutes at 350F.