Individual. Sweet Potato. Casseroles.
Are you excited? I’m excited.
As I’ve written before, growing up I was not a big fan of turkey – so the Thanksgiving sides were very important to me, as they basically comprised my dinner.
Things have changed since then, but I still have a soft spot for those sides (and I’m not the only one!) – and always want them to be extra special, never just afterthoughts for filling the plate.
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite sides this month as we lead up to the big day. They’re a little different, definitely delicious, and have other redeeming qualities as well – quick prep, easily scaled up or down, or even frozen in advance.
Ready? I thought so.
Let’s start with these insanely cute “casseroles”!
I’d venture to say that no Thanksgiving table would be considered complete without the ubiquitous sweet potato casserole. And with good reason. It’s sweet (obvs), colorful, and who is going to argue with torched marshmallows (not me)? And these little beauties have all the flavors, colors AND torched marshmallows you’d expect. The difference is that instead of putting the filling into a pie plate, it’s put back into the potato shells, and then topped with those marshmallows.
Not only does this make for a fabulous presentation, but it also makes for easier serving – no messy slicing! And you can easily scale this up or down, making it a perfect dish not only for a crowd, but for a smaller dinner as well (a Friendsgiving, for example).
This dish is naturally gluten-free, and if you swap the butter for non-dairy spread and the marshmallows for a vegan variety, you’ve got a perfect vegan side dish too.
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pricked all over with a fork (see Notes, below)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
generous pinch of kosher salt
1 cup mini marshmallows
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the potatoes till fork-tender, about an hour. If you are making these right away, turn the oven up to broil (see Notes, below, if making in advance).
When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice the top and carefully open up without splitting the potato completely in half – the easiest way to do this is to gently “squeeze” the top and bottom toward the center, which opens up the potato without breaking it.
Scoop the cooked potato out, leaving about 1/4″ in the shell to keep it intact. Place the potato in a bowl along with the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Use a fork or hand mixer to blend well.
Spoon the potato mixture back into the shells and top with a layer of marshmallows. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and return to the middle rack of the oven. Broil till the marshmallows are torched, watching carefully. Serve immediately.
To make in advance, bake the potatoes, scoop out the insides and make the filling. Return the filling to the potato shells and refrigerate, covered (do not add the marshmallows at this point). Bake in a 375 degree oven till heated through, and remove – turn the oven up to broil. Top the potatoes with the marshmallows and broil as directed above.
This recipe serves 4 – scale the ingredients up or down based on your number of guests.
Swap the butter for dairy-free spread and the marshmallows for the vegan variety, for a totally vegan and gluten-free dish.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver