Classic sweet potato casserole gets a savoury makeover! Light and creamy mashed sweet potatoes flavoured with butter, bay leaf and a touch of garlic, then topped with buttery breadcrumbs, toasted hazelnuts and fried sage leaves.
Can’t get enough of sweet potatoes? Why not try another delicious and easy side dish Sweet Potato and Swede (Rutabaga) Mash.
If you are like me and adore sweet potatoes but don’t like the traditional version of the sweet potato casserole, this recipe is for you. Actually, even if you are a huge fan of the classic recipe, you should still give my recipe a go.
Savoury Sweet Potato Recipes
I’ve been a sweet potato fan for a very long time and I am about to say something, that might not be very popular.
I do not believe sweet potatoes need more sugar.
I think sweet potatoes shine when flavoured with salt and spice. I am all for adding savoury seasonings to the vegetable, that is already absolutely loaded with natural sugar. It’s all about balance and complexity.
My herby sweet potato and swede (rutabaga) mash is an example of this belief. I also love pairing sweet potatoes with a bit of spice like I did in my Thai roasted squash and sweet potato soup and chilli garlic salmon with sweet potatoes.
If I had to describe what this dish is about, I would say, it’s like the classic sweet potato casserole did a semester abroad and got a European makeover.
I replaced sugar with salt, then added a bit of garlic, bay leaf and nutmeg to the sweet potato mash. I kept butter, milk and eggs to maintain that creamy and light as a cloud texture.
What I changed is the topping. Instead of the very American pecans I sprinkled my buttery breadcrumbs with toasted hazelnuts. They are plentiful in European forests and don’t cost a fortune like pecans.
I ditched marshmallows altogether but instead, to finish it off I scattered sage leaves fried in butter all over. What do you think?
How To Make It
- Boil sweet potatoes with one or two bay leaves and garlic to infuse flavour right off the bat.
- Heat the milk before adding it to the mash. This little trick contributes to the creamiest mashed potatoes.
- When adding nutmeg, use freshly grated if possible. So much flavour!
- Season well with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy. Sweet potatoes don’t need more sugar but are balanced out by savoury seasoning.
- Fry sage leaves in butter until they just start to curl, then remove to a paper towel. Wait longer and you will burn them to a crisp!
- This savoury sweet potato casserole could be made a day ahead and reheated later. Cover with aluminum foil and reheat at 200C/400F for 15 minutes, then uncover and heat for 5 minutes longer for the crispy top. If the top is still not crispy, keep under a broiler for 30 seconds.
What to Serve With Sweet Potato Casserole
It’s no secret that Thanksgiving table is where this casserole usually finds its place, among a myriad of other side dishes.
However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make it outside of the holiday season. This dish would be a great companion to my Air Fryer Whole Chicken, as a delicious side to a ribeye steak or salmon.
More Holiday Side Dishes to Try:
- Sausage, Pear and Sage Stuffing
- Roasted Carrots with Garlicky Lemon Tahini Sauce
- Vintage Cheddar and Gruyere Macaroni and Cheese
- Herb and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 2 lbs/4 large sweet potatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic
- 75g/1/3 cup unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 eggs large
- 125ml/1/2 cup milk whole or 2%
- 90g/1.5 cups breadcrumbs
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 65g/ ½ cup whole hazelnuts roughly chopped
- 5-6 sage leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes, boil with 1 bay leaf and a clove of garlic until tender. Discard the bay leaf and mash the sweet potatoes with the garlic clove until no lumps remain, stir in the butter and hot milk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then fold in beaten eggs.
- To make the topping mix the breadcrumbs with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and roughly chopped hazelnuts.
- Add the mashed sweet potatoes to a greased casserole dish, level the top. Then sprinkle the breadcrumb topping all over. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
- A few minutes before the casserole is done, fry the sage leaves in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Watch the sage leaves carefully as they burn quickly. Remove from the butter as soon as they start to curl. Scatter the fried sage and sprinkle the flavoured melted butter all over the casserole before serving.