Healthy Coconut Ginger Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

I used to think I hated sweet potatoes.  I’d try one bite of sweet potato casserole, you know what I mean, the sugary marshmallow smothered diabetes in a pan dessert that pretends to be a side dish, and nearly gag with the sugar overload.  I thought they were just wretched.  Then one day I tried sweet potato fries and realized that the casserole recipe was to blame, not the beautiful, simple, naturally sweet orange potato/yam (the difference between a sweet potato and a yam is a whole different post that I must do some day but one soapbox is enough for this post!).  So when I was assigned sweet potato casserole a couple years ago for Christmas Eve with Eric’s extended family, I laughed with mischievous glee at the opportunity to create a new, healthier sweet potato casserole, and test it on 50 unsuspecting relatives.

Fortunately, the casserole was a big hit, so I made it again this year for a holiday reunion with my father’s family.  My mother hunted me down at the end of the night and grabbed my hand in eager anticipation.  “Please tell me that sweet potato casserole was actually healthy.  It was SO good!”

I assured her it was as I ran down the ingredient list with her; sweet potatoes, oranges, a little coconut milk, fresh ginger, cinnamon with chopped pecans and crystallized ginger on top.


She looked at me, her eyebrows raised in surprise.  “Really, no sugar in the potatoes?”

I shook my head and then we had one of those moments that proves yes you are your mother’s daughter, no matter how much you tried to deny it as a teenager.  At the same time, perfectly in sync, we both proclaimed, “I guess they’re called sweet potatoes for a reason!”

Sweet potatoes are simply, healthy (we’re talking 700% of you daily value for vitamin A and 60% for vitamin C!) and really quite lovely.  It’s truly sad that they had been vilified in my mind for so many years.  But I’m making up for lost time.


I share this recipe now because it’s not just a holiday recipe.  I make this at least once a month now to serve with chicken, fish, salad, pretty much anything.  With the ginger, cinnamon and coconut milk, it’s got an Asian flair that helps it pair wonderfully with Chinese chicken wings or Korean chicken thighs.  But it’s also subtle enough to pair with lemon chicken, or even cauliflower macaroni and cheese for a lovely vegetarian and kid friendly diner.

This has become one of our go to healthy comfort foods and I’m so excited to share it with you.  By the way, crystallized ginger is typically made with granulated sugar.  It’s on my list to create a version using sucanat instead but you can omit the crystallized ginger and just use the pecans if you prefer.

Now, I have lots of catching up to do, so please share your favorite sweet potato recipes with me so I can try them all!  (Feel free to leave links in the comments)


Healthy Coconut Ginger Sweet Potato Casserole

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 16-20 servings
Calories per serving: 105, Fat per serving: 2.67g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 28.48mg, Total Carbohydrate 18.98g, Dietary Fiber 3.01g, Sugars 15.44g, Protein 1.73g, WW Points Plus 3, WW Old Points 2


  • 3-3 1/2 lbssweet potatoes
  • 1 tspgrated ginger
  • 1/4 cupcoconut milk
  • 1/2 tspground cinnamon
  • 1 tsporange zest
  • 1/4 cuporange juice
  • 1/2 cupchopped pecans
  • 3 TBSchopped crystallized ginger

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 80-90 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Carefully unwrap potatoes then pull off and discard the skins (you may want to wait until they cool a little).
  3. Place the roasted sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash them up, mixing in ginger, coconut milk, cinnamon, orange zest and orange juice.
  4. Pour the sweet potato mixture into a casserole dish and top with pecans and crystallized ginger. Bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through.

Approximate cost/serving: Sweet potatoes are affordable year round, oranges are cheapest in the winter but still pretty affordable all year. I buy a ton of pecans in the bulk bins during the holidays when they go on sale. Coconut milk is cheaper at an Asian grocery store but you use such a small amount that you can really stretch the cost. The whole casserole cost me just around $3.50 to make. At 16 servings that’s just 22 cents a serving.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free: Yes to both and vegan too!

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7 Responses to “Healthy Coconut Ginger Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe”

  1. Cindy
    February 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    This recipe is from my grandma. My husband doesn’t care for sweet potatoes, but he did with this recipe. I would love it if you could make this recipe more healthy – I actually submitted it to Light & Tasty a few years ago, but nothing ever came of it:

    5-6 sweet potatoes, boiled and drained. I use two 29 oz. cans of sweet potatoes, drained
    3/4 cup of brown sugar
    1/2 stick oleo
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 eggs

    1/2 stick oleo
    3 tablespoons flour
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup chopped nuts

    Mix the ingredients with a mixer. Put in a casserole dish. Mix topping with a fork and put over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

  2. Geneva
    February 21, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    I love sweet potatoes! My favorite way to eat them is as a dessert. It’s very simple, just cook the potatoes (baked or boiled), and mash them, then scoop (I use an icecream scoop) onto a baking sheet. Then create a little pool on each potatoe scoop, like you would if you were putting gravy on mashed potatoes (you can use a spoon, the back of the ice cream scoop, or your hands). Next use maple syrup or honey or both to fill the little pools (think of it as gravy to mashed potatoes) and top with shredded coconut. I usually bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350 or until everything looks carmelized.

  3. Rhonda
    February 22, 2012 at 3:33 am #

    This looks yummy! Will definitely be trying your recipe. Right now my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is in the form of hashbrowns. I cube the sweet potato, add some diced onion and cooked with coconut oil in my cast iron skillet. I love these for breakfast with some wilted spinach and a fried egg on top! Keeps me going for hours!

  4. Alexandrea@kid friendly recipes
    October 23, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    I don’t have any experience to eat or cook this sweet dishes earlier. My kids very much like to eat coconut based dishes. So your above recipe is really help me very much. I like to make this dishes as soon as possible in my home only for my kids.

    • Diana
      October 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      That’s wonderful Alexandrea, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you.

  5. Johanna
    September 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    I just put it together and can’t wait to get it in the oven. But I feel that I must confess….I put just a few marshmallows on top with the pecans. I couldn’t help it.

  6. Sue Cloutman
    September 22, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Can you substitute Almond milk for the coconut milk?

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