I have an undying love for sweet potatoes. I roast them, bake them, mash them, toss them in salads. I will argue vehemently when confronted with the idea that they are "just for Thanksgiving". Balderdash. I think they go with everything...I'm probably wrong about this, but for me, they just never get old.
Before we get to the recipe, let's talk briefly about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. Here's the deal: in much of the U.S. these are sold interchangeably in grocery stores. Pretty much every root vegetable labeled 'sweet potato' or 'yam' that you will find in your local grocery is actually a sweet potato, regardless of the color of the skin or flesh. (Some are pale coral inside, while others are bright orange). To locate a true yam, you would need to visit an international market that carries produce from Africa or the Caribbean. Real yams are gigantic-they can grow to the size of an adult human arm, and their flesh is pale. And here's a piece of good fortune for citizens of the United States: sweet potatoes are far more nutritious than yams. For once, the U.S. gets a win with nutrition! So here are the stats on my beloved sweet potatoes: they are shockingly low-calorie (don't blame them for the copious amounts of butter and brown sugar you might put on them-they are innocent, I tell you). They are packed with vitamin A, calcium, iron, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, copper and have twice as much protein as the yam. Sweet potatoes also have a very low glycemic index, which means they don't have much affect on blood sugar AND they are anti-inflammatory, which makes them hugely beneficial for people with gout, arthritis and IBS. Tell me, what's not to love?
On to the recipe. It's from a cookbook that I've had since I went to college (yes, I was making this dish in college). The book is called Mud Pies and Silver Spoons, and it was published by the Dayton Philharmonic Women's Association. Erma Bombeck wrote the foreword...did you know she's from Dayton, Ohio like yours truly? I modify the recipe a tiny bit to make it fit my guidelines (of course I do), so that's the version you'll find below.
Sweet Potato Souffle
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 stick Earth Balance
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (raw sugar)
1/2 cup milk (I use soy, almond or hemp milk-all work fine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts (or mix them-get crazy!)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (sometimes I use oat flour-works just as well)
1/3 stick Earth Balance, melted
After the potatoes are mashed, mix them with salt, butter, vanilla, evaporated cane juice, eggs, and milk. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.