Butternut Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole

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Grabbing a spoonful of our Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Mash for gluten-free vegan Thanskgiving

I officially have a “casserole” on Minimalist Baker. My grandmothers would be so proud.

Baking sheet with sweet potatoes and butternut squash for roasting

Is it too early to start dreaming up my Thanksgiving menu? Please say no.

If I’m being honest, I look most forward to three things at Thanksgiving:

Dinner rolls
Pumpkin pie
& the sweet potato dish (in any and all forms)

Are you surprised they’re all sugar and carbs? I’m not.

Making Maple Cinnamon Pecans in a cast-iron skillet for a gluten-free vegan Thanksgiving dish

This may technically be a sweet potato casserole, but it’s my modern take.

For one, there’s little-to-no (vegan) butter involved.
Second, it’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Third, I added butternut squash for true autumnal flavor.
Lastly, I replaced the marshmallows with coconut sugar-toasted pecans.

I think your Aunt Sally would still be proud if you brought this to the dinner table, even though it’s hippie-approved.

Plus, it’s simple requiring just 10 basic ingredients and about 1 hour to prepare.

Ceramic baking dish filled with our delicious gluten-free vegan side dish of Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Mash with Maple Cinnamon Pecans

Most importantly, it tastes amazing. It’s:

Buttery
Slightly crunchy
Perfectly sweet
Cinnamon-infused
Satisfying
& Simple

Though I created this recipe with Thanksgiving in mind, it’s ideal for so many other occasions. I could see this as a side dish at fall gatherings and weeknight meals alike, or even as a fall and winter brunch item. If you and your guests have a sweet tooth like me, this will be the first thing to disappear from the table.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see how yours turns out. Cheers and happy baking, friends!

Gluten-free vegan fall recipe of Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Mash with Maple Cinnamon Pecans

Butternut Pecan Sweet Potato Mash

A healthier sweet potato casserole with butternut squash, sweetened with maple syrup, and topped with toasted, lightly-sweetened pecans. The perfect side dish for fall and holiday gatherings.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Pan of Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Mash topped with pecans
4.85 from 20 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly Best when fresh
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

SQUASH + SWEET POTATOES

  • 3 large (~1/3 lb each) sweet potatoes (or sub 6 small per 3 large halved // skin on // organic when possible)
  • 6 cups butternut squash (1 small butternut squash yields ~6 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or melted coconut oil (divided)
  • 1 pinch each sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vegan butter

PECAN TOPPING

  • 1 cup pecans (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp vegan butter (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) 2 large, rimmed baking sheets (use fewer or more baking sheets, as needed, if altering batch size). Also lightly grease a small baking dish (8x8 inch is ideal // size as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size)).
  • Add halved sweet potatoes to one baking sheet, and the cubed butternut squash to another. Drizzle each with half of the avocado or melted coconut oil (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  • Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Rub sweet potatoes together to distribute the oil, and toss the butternut squash as well.
  • Roast butternut squash for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and test doneness. It should be very fork tender and easily mashed. Once it's done, remove from oven and set aside.
  • Depending on the size of your sweet potatoes, they should take anywhere from 20-35 minutes total. Remove from oven when very soft to the touch. Then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F (176 C).
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped pecans and toast for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If smoking or browning too quickly, turn heat to medium-low or low.
  • At the 5-minute mark, add coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to coat and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Peel sweet potatoes and add to a large mixing bowl with butternut squash. Use a fork, potato masher, or whisk to thoroughly mash.
  • Add another pinch salt + pepper, ground cinnamon, maple syrup, and vegan butter. Mash once more to combine, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Transfer mashed squash and potatoes to prepared baking dish and top with toasted pecans. Add vegan butter, cubed, to add additional moisture and flavor (optional).
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until completely warmed through and fragrant. Let cool briefly and then serve.
  • Leftovers store well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven or in the microwave.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 308 Carbohydrates: 40.8 g Protein: 4.7 g Fat: 16.3 g Saturated Fat: 3.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 80 mg Fiber: 7.1 g Sugar: 14.5 g

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  1. Mara says

    Very delicious! I cooked both the squash and the potatoes another 10 minutes each.
    I was confused about size of sweet potatoes because 3 small potatoes equaled a pound. If I had subbed 6 small that would’ve been too much. I also cut the oil out and it was great!

  2. Aran says

    Second year in a row making this!!! Oh my was it good! I jazz up the topping by adding granola and a little more butter. I skip the stovetop tossing of the pecans and just Just the topping like a crumble and bake in the oven. Yummy!!!!

  3. Liz Mason says

    I plan to make this today for Thanksgiving tomorrow but I accidentally bought all the sweet potatoes and butternut squash pre cubed! Is that ok?? Do I need to revise or run out to the store??

    Can’t wait to try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      The butternut squash is definitely fine as it gets cubed in the recipe. The sweet potato will probably be fine too, but it will cook more quickly and may need to be added to a food processor if mashing is not working. Hope that helps!

  4. Diane Speight says

    After making this the last 2 years for Thanksgiving, I can honestly say this is my favorite sweet potato casserole, ever. I was raised with the dessert version and have been searching a long time to find something a bit sweet, but not over the top. This recipe hit the spot. My children (all non-vegan) specially request it, not only for Thanksgiving, but throughout the year. Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  5. Nancy says

    Can this be fully prepared the day before except for the baking at the end. I have a hard time when there’s so many last minute preparations for holiday meals.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      That should work! We would recommend leaving off the pecan topping until the day of. Let us know how it goes!

        • Nancy says

          I did this a day ahead of time and followed your instructions to keep the pecans separated and added just before baking it. It worked and everyone loved it. I do agree with an earlier comment that it took a lot longer to roast the squash. But, I’ll know better the next time and there will definitely be a next time. Thanks for this and all you recipes. You’re great!

  6. Dawn says

    Yes I made this recipe and OMG it was sooo good! Thank you very much! I’m not on instagram so have to let you know this way.

  7. Shanthi says

    YUMMMMMMMMMMMYYYY! everyone loved this dish. The candied pecans was just out of this world. I mixed some into the batch and sprinkled on top. Thank you

  8. Luisa says

    I made a lot of changes to the recipe, but I’m super grateful that the recipe was posted here because it was a great base for me to start with! I doubled everything and This is my first year making this vegan so I did a few things to make it taste like my non-vegan version so my family wouldn’t freak out. I roasted as instructed, then I threw everything in the food processor to make my life easier. The mixture wasn’t as sweet as my family likes, and I think that’s because of the squash. I added a bit of molasses and brown sugar and a small pat of vegan butter. Also added a bit of plant milk to make it smooth. I added pecans to the mix, and on top but didn’t candy them. I added vegan marshmallows to the top and baked! It was a bit loose, I think because of the milk, but the flavor was on point.!

  9. Caitlin says

    Was absolutely delicious. Made this and your green bean casserole recipe for Thanksgiving this year. Both were hit!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      I would probably recommend just omit the nuts, as oats would create quite a different texture. Hope this helps!

  10. Kris says

    Just googled butternut squash and this recipe popped up. I always grab the minimalist baker recipes because so far every one has been delicious!! Trying this for Thanksgiving. Thanks Dana!!

  11. Leona says

    Made this for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I could help sampling it a little here and there as I prepared it. YUM!
    Will see how it sells tomorrow. At this time I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS DISH! ?

  12. Gabrielle says

    I made this as written and my 3 year old son had 3 helpings asking for “mo squash good pwease. Need too much pwease.” The 1 year old ate a bunch too though I didn’t give her any pecans. I was concerned it wouldn’t turn out as I had Japanese sweet potatoes on hand which are a bit more fibrous but it was perfect. I believe we will be adding “squash good” to our recipe book. Thank you.

  13. Samantha Griffith says

    Where the hell are you getting your butternut squash where you can cook it in 15 mins and it’s ‘very fork tender’?! 45 mins later, it’s still in the oven…

  14. Gabbie says

    I made this two years ago for Thanksgiving and now it has become a staple in our house. Everyone is so excited for this dish! I absolutely love it!

  15. Cathy says

    Hi, I am wondering if this would be good with mostly sweet potatoes and just a little bit of squash. Also, is it better mashed, vs pureeing in a food processor? Thanks!

  16. Amy says

    I made this last Thanksgiving as a last minute menu addition. It turned out to be one of the favorite dishes and there were no leftovers. I have never been a sweet potato casserole fan, I really dislike sweet potatoes, but this was delicious. Making again this year for sure. Use a good, real, dark, and smokey maple syrup.

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  18. Nita says

    I made this for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it. The topping is wonderful! The whole thing is not too sweet, you’re actually able to taste the pecan! Thank you so much!

  19. Allison says

    Made this last night along with your green bean casserole and it is a new staple in this household!! The real test was resisting the pecans after they had been candied in coconut goodness! Thank you for yet another amazing dish.

  20. Merrie says

    Ok, it’s the day before Thanksgiving. I want to make this recipe, but I have a couple questions… One, I bought sweet potatoes (not overly large ones, sort of medium/large), one weighs 1 lb. Three weigh 4 lbs! You recipe calls for, “3 large or appx 1 lb of sweet potatoes”. Can’t seem to wrap my head around what amount to use. Just one of my potatoes or all three?? Also, “6 cups” of butternut squash seems like an awful lot, considering the whole thing only serves six. I should have done a test run of this recipe, just to check it out before the big day tomorrow. I have made your black-bean brownies which are fantastic, by the way! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Merrie! The good thing about this recipe is that it’s flexible. Just eyeball it and make whatever amount you think will fit in your dish!

  21. Jen says

    Definitely trying this for Thanksgiving this year. If I prepare and cook ahead of time, do I need to leave the pecan topping for the actual day? Or, can I go ahead and make it all the way through ~2 days in advance? Thanks!

  22. Kate says

    Hi!

    First of all – THANK you for telling people not to rate the recipe until they’ve actually tried it. “Five stars – can’t wait to try it!” = SUCH a pet peeve of mine!

    I loved this dish and will make it again. My only comments are that it seems like it would be a lot faster to peel and dice the squash before roasting it so it cooks faster and/or microwave it instead of baking it. It took FOREVER to bake the way listed above.

    Otherwise, it was awesome!

  23. Jess Scarbrough says

    Oh my goodness. I made this for Thanksgiving and wow was it a hit!!! I threw in a splash of molasses and threw some bits of vegan pralines I had leftover into the topping (I live in Louisiana & couldn’t resist)! What a great recipe that is so much healthier than my Great Aunt’s 2 sticks of butter and 3 cups of sugar! I will be making this forever and ever amen. You rock for this!

  24. Wendy says

    This was absolutely delicious!!! My husband had 3 helpings and my toddlers gobbled it up as well! Best of all it was so easy to make! Will be making this dish on a regular basis now and sharing the recipe with friends. Thank you!

  25. Kristin says

    I just made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! The casserole was fantastic and someone even said it was the best thing on the table! Thank you for the wonderful recipe. :)

  26. Jeanah says

    Is it supposed to be 1 lb total for the sweet potatoes? I grabbed three large ones and they’re more than one pound each!

  27. Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat says

    What would you think of using a tablespoon of almond milk yogurt in place of the final tablespoon of vegan butter?

  28. Anne says

    I tried this recipe tonight and it was so delicious! This is definitely going on my Thanksgiving menu. Thank you so much for all of your yummy gluten free, veg/vegan recipes. Everything I have tried so far has been so very tasty!

  29. Latha says

    Looks wonderful. Planning to make it for Thanksgiving. Just a quick question. Can I substitute maple syrup with honey and coconut sugar with turbinado brown sugar?

    Thank you
    Latha

  30. becky says

    I made this for dinner with no mods – it was delicious, thanks! Word of warning, don’t use purple sweet potatoes unless you really really don’t care about aesthetics. Mixed with the orange butternut squash, the whole thing looked like someone took a dump in my casserole dish. I couldn’t stop laughing at it because that’s my maturity level.

    I didn’t mean to buy purple ones, it was an accident. I have to say though, they do have an interesting flavor. Almost floral. I recommend giving them a try – but by themselves.

  31. Cassie Tran says

    Yes yes yes and YES! I LOVE sweet potatoes sweet, soft, steaming, cinnamony, coconuty, mapley and caramelized! I think I just found my perfect sweet potato mash/casserole recipe!

  32. Rebeca says

    I do something very similar to this each Thanksgiving (also without the marshmallows). The one addition I make is to add some OJ and/or grated orange rind to the mix. This seems to provide a lovely brightness to the overall dish and keeps it from tasting too heavy (if that makes sense). Thanks so much for all of the recipes!

  33. Naomi @carrot cake kitchen says

    This looks amazing!! I love butternut squash and sweet potato casseroles. I feel like I could eat the pecan topping right off of the screen!

  34. Liv Faye says

    Hi Dana, lovely pictures as always :) Thanks for this recipe, I love the things you come up with, al your recipes are so creative and out of the box, keep it up. Can’t wait to try this :)

  35. Tae says

    Is there something soy-free that I could sub for the vegan butter? If it’s for the creamy/buttery factor… would coconut milk work?

  36. Bethany @ Athletic Avocado says

    I want this recipe, actually I need this recipe! During thanksgiving, I probably eat 15 servings of sweet potato casserole, and this would be perfect for this year since I won’t feel as guilty eating so much!

  37. Nicola says

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the American style marshmallows on a casserole?! So very different to a British casserole. Great recipe Dana :)

  38. Andrea @ My Tasty Kitchen says

    YES! I have never been a fan of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows so it is so refreshing to see an (easy) recipe with pecans.

  39. Tori says

    Total yumness! I’ve never thought about putting butternut squash in sweet potato casserole but I thinks it’s brilliant!

  40. Cam says

    Oh my, this looks HEAVENLY!

    I am just wrapping up a 30 day juice cleanse in preparation for starting my into plant-based/vegan eating and was so blessed to find your site.

    I’m pretty ‘minimalist’ myself :) and have 2 kiddos and hubby to cook for, so anything that can simplify my life is so very appreciated!

    Your recipes are genius and I love your sense of humor.. Like someone else on who posted, I finally stopped noting the recipes I wanted to try because it ended up being nearly ALL of them lol! Your personality is warm and sassy too – I love it! I’ve had more than one out-loud chuckle reading your blog. :D

    I hope you (and all the other lovely posters here) will forgive my lengthy post. I’ve been obsessively perusing your recipes for a couple weeks now and can’t wait to start cooking on Saturday and just had to say Thank You for sharing your time and talent with the world!

    ♥ Cam

  41. Sydney | Modern Granola says

    Yum! Heavenly sweet potato and scrumptious butternut squash rolled into one? How can this be anything but amazing?! I’ve actually never had sweet potato casserole, but this sounds incredible!
    xx Sydney

  42. Lauren says

    I wouldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to eat this! I would eat it now, in fact I just might ;) Love the healthier take on this.

  43. Kristina says

    Is this a dessert or a side? Because I would totally eat this as a dessert. I love it, everything, but especially the pecan topping.

  44. Emily | Robust Recipes says

    OMG! This looks fabulous! I can’t stand the traditional sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows on top, way too sickeningly sweet for me. The pecans looks delicious and so much healthier than the marshmallows! :)

  45. Tania @ COOKTORIA says

    I love the healthy twist you gave this recipe, Dana! Pecans pair so well with sweet potatoes. I will definitely give it a try and let you know how I liked it. #minimalistbaker . Got it!

  46. Celeste @The Whole Serving says

    I love this kind of food because it so reminds me of my favorie time of the year, the HOLIDAYS!!!
    I also like pairing these two togeher as well, I like having chunks of butternut mixed with smooth creamy sweet potato. So yum.

  47. kathryn - The Scratch Artist says

    I think about Thanksgiving in July so never too early for me. I am obsessed with sweet potato casserole! When I was a kid it was my job to make sure the marshmallows didn’t burn (I secretly kind of liked it when the tops burnt just a little bit, in retrospect I might not have been the best choice for the job!) I like this adult version where you don’t have to be afraid of developing diabetes in your thirties :-)

  48. Leah @ Grain Changer says

    It’s never too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving! I’m hosting my first one this year for my husband’s family (ahhhh!) and this will most definitely be on the menu. I love that it’s naturally sweetened, and those pecans have me absolutely drooling!!