Sunday, November 20, 2011

Yam Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping (Grain-Free)

This is my healthier take on the traditional Thanksgiving yam casserole recipe. It has a delicious grain-free crumble topping made from ground pecans, a little arrowroot, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and real butter. I think the topping would also work on top of an apple or pear crisp/crumble. It could also be the streusel topping to an apple pie. Lots of ways to use it!

Please read my last post on possible gluten cross-contamination in coconut sugar before making this recipe. I like to use coconut sugar because it is a low-glycemic sweetener, meaning it doesn't cause huge fluctuations in blood sugar. Plus, I can't stand how sweet cane sugar is now if I ever try it, yuck! But I also don't crave sugar. Ever. When I was pregnant I craved raw sauerkraut and ate it daily. Large bowlfuls with quinoa, avocados, and toasted sunflower seeds. That was my first trimester staple! However, if you want to use something other than coconut sugar, you could try maple sugar, brown sugar, or Sucanat.

Yam Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping

If you are making this for Thanksgiving you can do most of the prep work days ahead of time. Cut and steam the yams and place them into an 8 x 8 baking dish in the fridge, covered. Make the topping ahead of time too and refrigerate it. When ready to bake you can toss it all together in less than 5 minutes. If you use apple cider in this recipe remember to find organic cider or cider from non-sprayed apples. Far too many chemicals are used in the production of non-organic apples. These chemicals may cause disturbances in our immune systems that can possibly cause further food allergies. Butter is also of concern. If I use butter I only use organic, pastured butter ~ butter coming from grass-fed cows. Environmental toxins build up in animals, including humans, and these toxins are excreted through the milk (in the fat). You could use coconut oil in place of the butter if you need to.

2 large garnet yams, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or apple cider
2 to 4 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 to 3 tablespoons organic butter or coconut oil

2 cups raw pecans
1/4 cup organic butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chopped yams into a pot and add a little water, cover and steam cook over medium heat until tender but not mushy. About 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how you cut them. Strain off the water and place into an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish. In a separate bowl whisk together the juice, coconut sugar and arrowroot. Pour over the yams. Dot with butter (the butter will melt right away, this is good). Toss together using a large spoon. Now cover the dish and put it in the fridge if you are prepping this for another day. If not, proceed with the topping.

I make the topping when the yams are cooking. Place the pecans into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade. Pulse until ground, but not ground too finely. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined, this takes a little longer than the first pulsing. It should start to come together and hold together if you press it together with your fingers. Crumble it over the yam filling.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm. Source:

More Side Dish Recipes:
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Cranberries
Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf
Farmhouse Seed Bread (xanthan-free and vegan)

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. this looks wonderfully luscious -- that pecan streusel is something I need to try!

  2. Top anything with Pecan Streusel, and I'm pretty sure that means I'll eat it. :) Thanks so much for this delicious recipe, Ali! And Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. This is delicious! I usually can't stand that traditional yam and marshmallow and brown sugar dish at Thanksgiving - too sweet! This recipe, however, is perfect!! Not too sweet and grain-free too!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Looks incredible-I will be picking up some yams today!

  5. Yummer's! I have a question about coconut oil, which has nothing to do w/this post. When measuring coconut oil, is the solid amount the same as the liquid amount? If I need 1/4 c of melted, do I measure out 1/4 c solid and just melt it? Can you melt it in the microwave or do I need to use the stove top? Sorry if these sound like silly questions. This way of cooking/eating is all new to me. But we resently found out our kids have some allergies so we are trying to change our eating habits. Not an easy thing to do w/6 kids. :o) Thanks for your help. Love your blog!

  6. Thanks so much for this recipe! I found it in the nick of time. I was tempted to do the traditional marshmellow topping, but now I'm going to do half and half and hopefully please everyone (yah, right!).

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  7. This looks so good I think I could eat it for dessert! And I love how healthy it is, too. Perfect for someone like me who is trying to cut down on grains to get a better variety of nutrients in her diet. Thanks!

  8. I made the Yam Casserole with Pecan Streusel and it sure was a WOW facter! We had picked up some oganic yams and everyone loved this. This will become a regular wkly. recipe. Thankyou sooo much! Pam

  9. This looks amazing...I just made a similar dish for Thanksgiving but yours looks ten times better! What a fabulous recipe; thank you for sharing.

  10. On my Thanksgiving recipe list this year, thanks for posting, it sounds superb!

    1. Just wanted to update and let you know how DELICIOUS it was. Thank you! This is now going to be apart of our family tradition. I found the apple cider gave it the perfect amount of sweetness and we enjoyed the creaminess of the butter. Absolutely terrific.


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