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Pecan-Coconut Crusted Sweet Potato Surprise

Posted Mar 20 2011 9:29pm
Greetings once again from The Soulful Spoon ! Today is ALL ABOUT SWEET POTATOES !
As I've mentioned numerous times before, I simply love sweet potatoes. They are absolutely the best option when you're craving something nutritious, delicious and versatile to make. Coming from South Carolina, I love that most of the sweet potatoes in stores are local and from North Carolina., which is a huge producer of sweet potatoes.   I've actually had the opportunity to visit NC before  to buy local produce, and I can tell you that nothing beats produce so fresh, inexpensive, nutritious and simple, as buying produce that is homegrown.

Plus, sweet potatoes have so many benefits that I consider them a daily vegetable to include in my diet.

Want pretty skin? Add sweet potatoes to your diet, because  sweet potatoes are one of the many foods rich in Beta Carotene, that give skin a pretty hue and fight inflammation in skin. Carrots and squash are other known members.

Improved mood? They are rich in B vitamins, and especially a huge mood-supporter, Vitamin B-6, which is depleted throughout the day like other B vitamins.

Upset tummy? Sweet potatoes are especially important if you suffer from stomach issues. They are thought to be anti-inflammatory to the body and produce a specific benefit to the stomach.

Immunity - Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of plants for  Vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. They're instant blood builders, mood supporters and cold fighters.

Insulin resistant - If you're diabetic or not diabetic, potatoes are often out of the question, but not with sweet potatoes. They actually improve insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, instead of causing levels of blood sugar to rise too fast and cause unhealthy insulin levels, sugar cravings and low blood sugar.

Sweet potatoes are known for their bright, orange hue and it's no wonder they are getting more attention than before. The amount of Vitamin A, which is the vitamin known for good vision with carrots, is four times the recommended daily amount! Potatoes are naturally one of the top sources of potassium, and sweet potatoes have 100% of the recommended level of Vitamin E. All of these nutrients make for pretty skin, a healthy weight with slow digesting fiber, and provide less of an insulin spike that potatoes are so negatively known for.

Even though sweet potatoes are healthy for you, many dishes ruin their nutrition by adding too much sugar, fat or salt to the dish. Here, one of my favorite sweet potato dishes ( sweet potato casserole ) is transformed into a healthy, deliciously crusted casserole that has a few secret ingredients that make it extra special.  It's also very easy to make for any type of occasion, especially potlucks or cookouts! Of course, you can always sub this dish in for your regular Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie for an amazing twist to the holiday dessert.

Coconut-Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Surprise

(Serves 6)
*This dish is naturally vegetarian, plus it's also soy, gluten, and dairy free! It has a delicious topping that completes the sweet treat unlike your standard sweet potato marshmallow-topped dessert.

You will need:

  • 1 8x8 sq. inch glass baking dish or a 5x9 sq. inch glass loaf pan
Topping Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup whole instant of old fashioned oats, or you can use coconut ( my personal preference for a strong, coconut accent to the dish. Plus, toasted coconut is even more flavorful.
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Smart Balance Light spread  or coconut oil ( room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

First, if you are using whole sweet potatoes ( recommended for best taste), I like to simply wrap the potatoes in foil, cook them on 405 degrees Farenheit for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Then, remove and let cool for a one hour on the counter, or overnight in the fridge. Then you can simply scoop out the flesh for this dish from each potato.I like baking potatoes because it brings out their natural sweetness more than other cooking methods do.

 You may alternately peel and boil them, wait for them to cool and then transfer to a blender or food processor to make them smooth after they cool off. I think baking them is easier and less time consuming. Any way you want to do it works! Plus these methods taste so much better than anything canned I've ever had. 

So.. onto the dish!

1. In a large bowl, beat the egg and stir in the 1/4 cup agave, honey or Stevia.  Beat to combine or whisk with a fork.

2.  Next,add the mashed potato mixture,  the coconut milk, Smart Balance Light spread and vanilla. Sit aside.

3. Add the spices and the salt last. Stir just enough to incorporate.

4. Pour in the prepared dish and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the topping ingredients by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Remove the dish from the oven and cautiously, and sit it on the stove. Using a spoon,  add the topping ingredients evenly on top of the dish.

6. Last, drizzle the agave evenly on top ( or honey), and the Smart Balance ( or coconut oil) evenly across the top by placing even drops. It's okay if the whole dish isn't covered- it isn't supposed to be. The oils will melt and spread as they are cooked.

7. Bake in the oven for 25 more minutes.

8. Remove and serve:)

*This dish is excellent alone, with a hearty meal, as a substitute breakfast or snack, or as a complimentary dessert. 

Enjoy all the benefits and the taste of a traditional sweet potato dessert, with no unhealthy additives, but additional taste-plus add a boost to your daily health!

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