This healthy, 21 Day Fix approved sweet potato and apple bake is sweetened only with cider and a small amount of maple syrup. Thanksgiving never had it so good.
Good morning, foodies! How was your weekend? Mine was… less productive than I would have liked. I was all geared up to test three different recipes and managed only to work on one. Oh well. I usually don’t really plan to do much in the way of blog stuff on the weekends anyway (because weekends go into a box labeled “family time” and are not to be messed with) but my husband was kind of sick this weekend and since the weather wasn’t too bad, the girls just wanted to stay home and play outside with the neighbors.
In any event, I wasn’t feeling 100% myself and chose to take it easy. And it felt pretty darn good. But now it’s Monday (as I’m writing this) and I’m feeling super-behind. Blech. I guess it’s time for some hustle! I work best under pressure anyway. Ok, so that’s only partially true. I actually become a bit of a crazy person under pressure, but I do get a lot done! (Ya know, like mom right before the guests arrive.)
So can we talk about this glorious side dish of which Thanksgiving dreams are made? As my Canadian buddy, Amanda, over at Sagely Sweet recently said, “I feel like any American Thanksgiving dinner that doesn’t have some kind of sweet potato casserole would be like slapping the holiday in the face.” Truer words have never been written. Seriously, I just love her. And so, since your Turkey Day and mine MUST have sweet potatoes, I present to you, a simple, healthy and delicious sweet potato casserole in which no marshmallows have been harmed in the making of.
I have to say, I’ve never really been a fan of that marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole business. I just never really “got it.” I couldn’t appreciate the texture of the marshmallows with the sweet potatoes and the dish was WAY too sweet for me, even when I was younger and could really handle my sugar.
To be fair, my family never made it that way so it wasn’t something that I grew up eating. What I grew up eating, were canned yams with a crap ton of brown sugar added and oh, how I loved them! I looked forward to those canned yams every single year. That is, until I found this amazing sweet potato and apple bake – well, sort of – and brought it to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving one year. It was such a hit, that I was asked to bring it every year from then on out. Which I did.
This dish, is a much healthier take on the Maple-Glazed Apple and Sweet Potato Gratin recipe that I had ripped out of Working Mother magazine quite a few years ago now (which I still have no idea why I was receiving, since I wasn’t a working mother and didn’t request it in any way, but there you go, another mystery of life) and have been bringing to Thanksgiving dinner ever since.
The sauce in the original version is primarily made up of butter and maple syrup (mostly syrup) and if you’re thinking, “Wow, that sounds like a load of sugar!” well, let me just say that some brown sugar also gets thrown in for good measure. Yipes! I know. But holy cow is it good. My challenge (which I clearly chose to accept) was to try to make something similar, but with way less added sugar that everyone would still love.
Enter my Cider-Glazed Sweet Potato & Apple Bake. OMG. It’s so good. It’s a little less sweet than the original (a welcome change though, if you ask me) but still plenty sweet. However, that sweetness doesn’t come from brown sugar and almost a cup of maple syrup, but rather from some yummy apple cider (or Simply Apple juice) and just a little bit of maple syrup for flavoring.
The great thing about sweet potatoes is that they’re actually really delicious all on their own. They don’t need marshmallows or too many accouterments to be fabulous (not that there’s anything wrong with accouterments, ya know, like apples and apple cider). In fact, I have a little experiment for you. Consider this a bonus “recipe” (because I love you). Just peel, cube, boil, drain, and mash some sweet potatoes exactly as you normally would for regular white mashed potatoes.
Then you’re going to do something crazy. Something totally nuts. Something so completely off-the-charts mental, people will be questioning your sanity. You’re going to do absolutely nothing. Put some on a fork, put the fork in your mouth, chew. Don’t add salt. Don’t add sugar. Don’t add even any cinnamon. Taste them completely plain, as they were meant to be tasted. You can thank me later. 😉
If you make this 21 Day Fix Cider-Glazed Sweet Potato and Apple Bake be sure to snap a pic and tag me @thefoodieandthefix on Instagram so I can check it out! It makes me ridiculously happy to see what you guys are making 🙂
- 2 large sweet potatoes (1 3/4 - 2 lbs), peeled and sliced thinly, about 1/8" - 1/4" thick
- 2 large or 3 medium granny smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced to 1/4"thick (you want the apples to be slightly thicker than the potatoes because they'll cook faster)
- 1 cup fresh apple cider or Simply Apple juice
- 2 Tbs grassfed butter
- 2 Tbs whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 3 Tbs maple syrup
- 1/16 tsp salt
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8X8 baking dish with olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray.
- Before you start layering your sweet potatoes and apples in your dish, make a layer in the bottom of your dish with your largest pieces of sweet potato (the ones that look the nicest) now take them out and set them aside, they will be your top layer.
- Ok, now you can start layering, starting and ending with the sweet potatoes (if they overlap a little that's fine). Don't forget about using your pretty potatoes for your top layer! You should have 4 layers of potato and 3 layers of apple. They will likely be slightly higher than your dish, that's ok, they cook down quite a bit. Set aside while you make your sauce (potatoes may slightly brown in some spots, no big deal, they're going to brown in the oven anyway!)
- In a small sauce pot, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour, letting the flour cook for a minute or two. Whisk in the cider, salt and maple syrup, continue cooking until thickened. Turn off heat. Carefully spoon all of the sauce over the potatoes and into the crevices between. Cover tightly with a piece of foil sprayed with cooking spray and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
- Raise the oven temp to 450 degrees. Once oven has heated to that temperature, remove the foil from your pan and baste with the sauce in the pan. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and nicely browned, basting one or two more times during cooking.
- Remove from oven, cut into 9 squares and serve.
- This can be made ahead and reheated in the oven or even the microwave.
Hot tip! Put an extra small potato in a corner of the dish before baking so you can test for doneness and keep your dish looking pretty!
21 Day Fix Container Counts per Serving: 1 Yellow, 1/2 Purple, 1 Tsp, 1 sweetener teaspoon
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1/9th of dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157 Total Fat: 3g
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Here’s another great sweet potato dish that would be perfect for Thanksgiving (not to mention super-easy!):