Holiday Sweet Potatoes with Glazed Pecans
Photo by Roger Winstead
There are few things more Southern than sweet potatoes and pecans — pronounced pee-cans, where I come from (and that’s with an emphasis on the first syllable). I dreamed up this recipe about 25 years ago, and the dish immediately became my holiday tradition, replacing my mother’s tried-and-true sweet potatoes with pineapple and marshmallows. As I began cleaning up my diet, I made only minor changes to improve how this healthy comfort food affects how I feel. I switched from using butter to ghee, still delicious but without the dairy reaction. And I replaced brown sugar with coconut sugar.
For the uninitiated, ghee is clarified butter. The milk solids are removed when the butter is heated, leaving only the fat. So ghee is not vegan, but it works for vegetarians who have a dairy sensitivity that may cause a runny nose or cause you to constantly clear your throat. You can find organic ghee in most health food stores and also in many grocery chains today, including Kroger and Whole Foods.
I switched to coconut sugar because I’m hypoglycemic, which means I get the awful sugar blues when I eat refined sugar. Most brown sugar is refined (white) sugar with added molasses. Coconut sugar is unrefined and has a relatively low glycemic index compared to other sweeteners. I find that I can avoid the crash when I eat a modest amount of coconut sugar. And the best news is that coconut sugar is quite delicious, similar to brown sugar with a hint of caramel.
My original version of this recipe called for a half-pound of pecans. But with encouragement from my 29-year-old step-daughter Celeste, I’ve increased the nuts to one and a half pounds for six to eight large sweet potatoes. This Thanksgiving we got a little crazy and used about two pounds , but Celeste and I agreed we had exceeded the right balance!
Enjoy making this sneak peek recipe from Sacred & Delicious, and bring the humming sounds of “mmmm” to your holiday table!
I send you my very best wishes for a sacred and delicious holiday with your family and friends.