A lightened-up sweet potato casserole with big flavor – sliced rounds of sweet potato seasoned with fresh lime and spices, topped with cheese and pumpkin seeds.
Alongside other indulgent side dishes that pop up around the holidays, there’s always room for a healthy sweet potato casserole.
I’m glad to share this simple sweet potato recipe that you’ll find really craveable, but not overly sweet-tasting.
A savory sweet potato gratin is a great way to get the most out of this root vegetable’s natural sweetness, and it’s not only something to enjoy on Thanksgiving.
Make this to serve as a nourishing, tasty side dish when sweet potatoes are in season, all fall and winter long
This savory gratin that not only looks like a showstopper on the table, but has loads of flavor without the addition of excess sugar, butter or cream.
Traditional recipes for baked sweet potatoes aren’t necessarily unhealthy but, wow!
They often have so much sugar you could actually eat them as a dessert and call it a day.
My recipe is definitely lighter than my grandma’s baked brown-sugar-topped sweet potatoes (which will always have a place in my heart).
There’s no cream or butter to weigh it down — an invitation to load the plate with more sides, which is especially appealing on the Thanksgiving table when there’s lots of other dishes to choose from.
Instead, the seasonings in this gratin include bold chili spices, fresh lime, olive oil and just a touch of maple syrup.
Keeping it simple which leaves room to appreciate the taste of sweet potatoes as the star ingredient.
Spices with warm, bold overtones enhance the mellow nature of sweet potatoes, and the topping I use here — a blend of Parmesan, tangy soft goat cheese and crunchy pumpkin seeds — plays off both elements.
I tend to gravitate toward bolder seasonings when I make quick everyday meals with sweet potatoes, like a family-favorite Smoky Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili.
The sweet potatoes in this recipe are sliced thin, so that after baking their texture is tender while the outside edges turn golden and slightly crisp — it’s such a great contrast!
To make slicing the potatoes an easier task, I recommend using a basic mandoline. Do you have one in your kitchen?
I use my favorite mandoline almost daily to make precise cuts when preparing vegetables.
It comes with three interchangeable blades so you can make thin or wide julienne shapes as well as plain slices, making it a breeze to slice fennel into a tasty salad or shave Brussels sprouts for a quick slaw with grapes and walnuts.
I’ve had the same one for years, and although the frame is lightweight plastic, it’s very durable, and the blades are still super sharp and going strong.
Chili-Lime Sweet Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese
Yield 4-6 servings
For a lighter, modern twist on sweet potato casserole, layers of thin sweet potato slices are baked with bold spices, fresh lime and topped with a blend of cheeses and pumpkin seeds.
This savory sweet potato gratin is tasty and beautiful on any holiday table or serve anytime as a healthy side dish.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped green pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, lime juice, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and chili.
- Peel the potatoes if you like — I often just scrape off any bruised sections, leaving most of the skin on. Slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch thick rounds, using a mandoline, or use a very sharp knife and great knife skills 🙂
- Toss the sweet potatoes in the bowl to coat with the spiced oil. Arrange the potatoes upright in a 2-quart baking dish with the edges face-up, pouring the liquid from the bowl over all. Grind black pepper over the top to taste.
- Bake 45 minutes. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and return to the oven for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is softened and melting.
- Sprinkle the cilantro and pumpkin seeds over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Choose an oval 2-quart or 8-inch square baking dish so that the sweet potato slices will fit snugly.
- To make the gratin ahead, bake 45 minutes then cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze. When ready to serve, top with the cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.
Courses side dish
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Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
As the recipe developer, photographer and publisher of Familystyle Food, I share recipes and tips for making easy seasonal meals that are healthy and flavorful.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!