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V's Sweet Potato Casserole

Updated on February 25, 2015

V' Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole

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2.7 stars from 3 ratings of V's Sweet Potato Casserole

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 12 servings


  • 5 pounds Sweet Potatoes
  • 12 cups Water
  • 2 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Orange zest, freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 1/3 cup Orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 8 tsp Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup Dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp Fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/8 tsp Allspice, Ground
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1/8 tsp Cloves, Ground
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1 tsp Lavender
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup walnuts, Ground

Ingredient Pictures

Herbs, Spices, and Butter
Herbs, Spices, and Butter
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole Instructions

  1. Pour the water and one teaspoon of kosher salt into a large pot over high heat and bring to nearly a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to heat, peel and chop five pounds of sweet potatoes.
  3. Add the potatoes to the water and cook for about twelve minutes or until the potatoes are just fork tender.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking lightly oil a large casserole dish.
  5. Thoroughly drain the potatoes and pour them into the prepared casserole dish. Top them with the ground walnuts and stir to combine.
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine the orange and lemon zest and juice, the brown sugar, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, lavender, and melted butter. Whisk to combine.
  7. Pour the spice and sugar mixture over the potatoes. At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated overnight if desired.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the casserole in the center rack and bake for thirty minutes. If you refrigerated the casserole overnight, allow it to come to room temperature while the oven preheats.
  9. If desired, top the dish the marshmallows during the last seven minutes of baking.


Keeping up Appearances

Yams and sweet potatoes are two different species of root vegetables. Yams are starchy tubers with bark like, scaly skin and white, purple, or red interiors. Sizes of yams range from a few inches to five feet in length. Sweet potatoes are typically orange or white, tapered at the ends, and generally do not exceed a pound each. The interior of a sweet potato is typically much softer than a yam.

Origins and Today’s Crops

Yams are native to Africa, Asia and other tropical regions where they have been cultivated for about 10,000 years (estimates vary depending on sources). The sweet potato has origins in Bolivia and Peru sometime between 8000 and 5000 BC where it was cultivated by pre-Incan and Incan cultures. Pottery found in those areas has even depicted or portrayed the sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes and yams are grown all over the world. While the yam prefers moist warm environments, the sweet potato prefers warm dry environments. Most of the yams grown today come from West Africa. The world’s biggest producer of sweet potatoes today is China.

The sweet potato has been mistakenly referred to as a yam since colonial times, possibly due to its similarities to some African yam varieties. The misnomer is perpetuated by the USDA which uses the term to help differentiate between the two predominate varieties available in the United States, and various canned food companies-the most notorious probably being Bruce’s.

Medicinal Properties

Most of the over 600 species of yam are poisonous to humans. A few are edible and a few others can have the poisons removed via various processes like soaking, boiling, or drying. In spite of this the yam has been used in ways other than food.

There are several yam species that have been used by native peoples as contraceptives such as the Mexican Wild Yam Root and the Kokora. There are numerous correlations between certain yams and women’s health. Some species are used to regulate and relieve painful menstrual cycles. Some provide relief for hot flashes, and prevent and treat vaginal dryness. There are species used to guard against osteoporosis and breast cancer. There is some evidence that consumption of certain yams can prevent obesity, lower blood pressure, and relieve colic in children.

The sweet potato offers some of its own medicinal benefits. Because of the beta-cartene it can reduce free radicals that may cause cancer. It also contains antioxidants, another cancer fighter. There is research that suggests that sweet potatoes can decrease bad cholesterol. Other benefits include building bone density, decreasing the occurrence of blood clots, and despite its sweet name can be usually consumed by sufferers of diabetes.

Of course, since these are considered herbal remedies the research varies. This is not a medical analysis, and you should always check with your doctor before beginning any sort of treatment or trial, herbal or otherwise.

Nutritional Comparisons

From a nutritional standpoint both yams and sweet potatoes provide carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium. Neither species is a good source of protein, although the orange varieties of sweet potatoes have the highest out of the group. Both are good sources of potassium. Yams yield more phosphorus while sweet potatoes yield beta-carotene and numerous other nutrients such as vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and manganese.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Some historians place the origins of the sweet potato casserole in 1796. Marshmallows were not added to the recipes until around 1917 or 1918. Over the years, it has become an American tradition, a dish to be served at Thanksgiving or Christmas or anytime when family members congregate. Everyone seems to have their own version or a favorite family recipe. I hope you enjoy mine.

If you must have marshmallows, top the casserole during the last seven minutes or so of baking and bake until the marshmallows are partially melted and golden brown on top. Just don't try to cheat and use the broiler or you could catch your casserole on fire, as I did one memorable Thanksgiving a few years ago. It seems like every Thanksgiving I have at least one culinary mishap.

V's Sweet Potato Casserole Nutrition Data

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories 379
Calories from Fat99
% Daily Value *
Fat 11 g17%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Unsaturated fat 8 g
Carbohydrates 68 g23%
Sugar 14 g
Fiber 9 g36%
Protein 5 g10%
Cholesterol 10 mg3%
Sodium 145 mg6%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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