When we think of sweet potatoes, we usually envision Thanksgiving dinner. However, this vitamin-packed, naturally sweet vegetable is great during any season. Did you realize that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, and filled with vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B3, B5 and B6, copper and magnesium? They’re one of the most nutritious foods you could ever place inside your mouth. And so good! If you have leftover applesauce, this recipe is a great way to utilize it. You can take this casserole to a Fourth of July potluck as a side dish, or serve it at home with a salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. The possibilities are endless! For a festive touch, we used purple sweet potatoes for our recipe, but you can use the more common orange ones, as well.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups sweet potatoes (approximately 4 small or 2 large)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (NOT the iodized variety)
pinch of ground nutmeg or cloves
1 cup chopped pecans
extra pinch of cinnamon for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and roast in your oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour until thoroughly soft. Remove from oven and cut in half. Allow the pieces to cool. Scoop the softened portion from the skin and discard or eat the skin. Place sweet potato pulp in blender or food processor with the applesauce and combine thoroughly. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on your stovetop and pour into mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg (or cloves), and salt and continue blending. Your mixture should be smooth and creamy, but not runny.

Ladle the mixture into a square baking pan and sprinkle chopped pecans across the top. Be sure to spread them evenly. Add a sprinkle of extra cinnamon if you desire. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the casserole bubbles slightly around the edges, and the pecans are a dark brown color (but not burned).

Remove from oven and allow to cool on your counter. Serves 4-6 people as a generous side dish. This casserole is so sweet, you can even enjoy it as a dessert! Pairs well with a side of vegetables, salad, brown rice, quinoa, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. If you have leftovers, cover tightly and keep them in the refrigerator. Delicious whether hot or cold! And don’t forget the gluten-free beer or wine. Every day is a reason for celebration! Bon Appetit.

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