Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole (Paleo & Vegan)

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This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is a delicious Thanksgiving side dish! It’s only sweetened with applesauce and is paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free & sugar free! 

Overhead view of a healthy sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish with some missing and a spoon scooping more out of it


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I’ve shared many of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you, but this Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole ranks in the top three for sure.

This recipe is literally bursting with rich fall flavors, is velvety smooth, and is healthy! That’s right, no butter or brown sugar or marshmallows are needed to make this delicious healthy sweet potato casserole!

Naturally sweetened with applesauce and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, this healthy sweet potato casserole is a sure-fire crowd pleaser! It’s nutritional profile can’t be beat either, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free with absolutely NO sugar added! Everyone at your Thanksgiving celebration will be able to enjoy this dish!

front view of Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole in a bowl with a spoon

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole: Substitutions

Here are a few possible substitutions you could make in this recipe!

  • Coconut oil: Butter, vegan butter or ghee are all acceptable substitutions for coconut oil!
  • Unsweetened apple sauce: you can make your own homemade applesauce and use it in this recipe! I do not recommend any other substitutions!
  • Pecans: Walnuts or crushed almonds can be used in place of pecans.
overhead photo of the ingredients in this Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe

How to make healthy sweet potato casserole

Not only is this healthy sweet potato casserole delicious, but it’s very easy to make! Let’s walk through the process of making this recipe step-by-step!

Start by baking the sweet potatoes and letting them cool slightly.

two photos showing how to make healthy sweet potato casserole - baking sweet potatoes

Then toss the rest of the ingredients (except for the pecans) into a food proccer or Vitamix (or another high-powered blender) and process or blend until smooth.

two photos showing how to make healthy sweet potato casserole in a food processor

The reason I use a blender or food processor is that I am a total texture person, and a lumpy casserole will not do.

two photos showing how to make healthy sweet potato casserole in a food processor

Next, spread the mixture out evenly in a baking dish, and top the casserole with chopped pecans and a dash of salt.

At this point you can add a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar (either using regular granulated sugar or coconut sugar) but this step is optional and can absolutely be omitted without sacrificing flavor if you want to make a sugar-free dish!

two photos showing how to make healthy sweet potato casserole in a baking dish

Then bake for about 25 minutes until the nuts are golden-brown and the sweet potatoes are slightly bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving.

Store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Overhead view of a healthy sweet potato casserole in a square baking dish with some missing and a spoon scooping more out of it

How to make this recipe in advance

  1. You can only bake your sweet potatoes: If you like the idea of a completely fresh baked and made casserole, you can at least bake your sweet potatoes the day before!  Just let them cool and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them!
  2. Prepare the dish but do not bake: Again, if you want to bake it fresh the day of then make the casserole but do not add the pecans on top. Store your dish in the fridge, tightly covered in plastic wrap until you’re ready to bake it. Remove it from the fridge while your oven is preheating and add the topping. Then bake according to the directions and you’re good to go!
  3. Bake the whole thing and warm it the next day: You absolutely can go ahead and make this casserole from start to finish and then store it in the fridge. When you’re about ready to serve it pull it out of the fridge and pace it in a warm oven until it is heated through and the top becomes slightly crispy again!

As you can see, there are so many ways to get the bulk of the “work” required to make this healthy sweet potato casserole done before the big day…which leaves you free to spend time with friends and family instead of slaving away in the kitchen! 😉

overhead view of a baking dish of healthy sweet potato casserole with some scooped out into bowls

Recipe FAQs

How do you keep sweet potato casserole from being runny?

Make sure to bake it until it’s bubbly, then let it cool uncovered.

How do you know when sweet potato casserole is done?

You know this recipe is done when the filling is slightly bubbling and the nuts on the top are lightly browned.

Can you prepare sweet potato casserole ahead time?

Yes – see “how to prepare in advance” above or in the recipe card.

Can you double this recipe?

Yes! Double the ingredients and bake it in a 9×13″ glass or ceramic baking dish.

overhead view of Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole in a bowl with a spoon

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Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Laura
This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is a delicious Thanksgiving side dish! It's only sweetened with applesauce and is paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free & sugar free! 
4.98 from 43 votes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 163.7
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Roasting Sweet Potatoes1 hour
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil or place in greased covered baking dish and bake in preheated oven until soft (about 1-1.5 hours). You can also cook them in a slow cooker, in the microwave or boil them!
  • Remove from oven, cut in half and let cool.
  • Remove skins and set sweet potatoes aside.
  • Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Add apple sauce and sweet potatoes to your blender (Vitamix) and blend until smooth
  • Add melted coconut oil (butter/earth balance/ghee), cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and blend until combined.
  • Transfer to a 9” baking dish and sprinkle the top with pecans and optional topping
  • Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until potatoes begin to slightly bubble and toping is lightly browned.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

To prepare in advance (2ways)

  1. Bake the dish completely, let cool and store, loosely covered in plastic wrap, in the fridge. Then reheat at 300 degrees until warmed through.
  2. Make the sweet potato mixture and do not add toppings. Place it in a baking dish tightly covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Then add topping and bake according to the instructions.

Ingredient substitutions

Here are a few possible substitutions you could make in this recipe!
  • Coconut oil: Butter, vegan butter or ghee are all acceptable substitutions for coconut oil!
  • Unsweetened apple sauce: you can make your own homemade applesauce and use it in this recipe! I do not recommend any other substitutions!
  • Pecans: Walnuts or crushed almonds can be used in place of pecans.

Store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 163.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.9g | Protein: 1.8g | Fat: 12.9g | Potassium: 231.9mg | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2070IU | Vitamin C: 7.5mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

I know what you’re thinking…really? Could something so healthy really replace the classic recipe laden with not-so-good-for-you ingredients? The answer is YES!  Seriously, there are many healthier dishes that my husband says are good…but you can “tell it’s healthy.” This healthy sweet potato casserole is NOT one of those recipes!

I made it for a group of friends and one of the men gave it the thumbs up and asked for the recipe! (In my circle it’s the ladies who are more likely to enjoy healthier fare). Many of us are plant lovers who have meat eating husbands (can I get a hand raise from all my veggie ladies out there?!)  So if we get the meat and potatoes man stamp of approval on a healthier dish it has to be a winner…right? 😉

Thanksgiving recipes:

I created a roundup of some of all of our favorite thanksgiving recipes, but here are a few healthy recipes:

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Recipe Rating




48 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe so much. My veggie-hating child ate 2 servings and kept saying,
    “This tastes like dessert!” I will definitely be making this again and, because it was so good, will be checking out your other recipes. Thank you!

  2. This may be a stupid question but if I prepare it without the topping would I be able to freeze it? Mom of 2 tiny ones trying to make things easier.

  3. 5 stars
    thank you , I made this for thanksgiving this year as I try and sneak healthy food past my husband and his family. 🙂 Everyone loved it !! I doubled the recipe and ate it for the past 4 days lol
    will definitely be making this again!

  4. This looks awesome! Do you know how many saturated fat grams there are in this recipe? Is the 12.9 grams all Saturated fat? Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving

  5. Hi ! I am planning to make this. What do you think about leaving the skins on the potatoes and blending. That’s where a lot of the nutrients are.

    1. I’m sure you can, yes! I’d recommend freezing the filling, and then putting the topping on when you put it in the oven to warm/bake!

  6. I am an international visitor on your website and are wondering if you serve this healthy sweet potato casserole with the turkey or as a dessert?
    I am looking for a healthy side dish to prepare and serve with the turkey. Thank you!