8 Savory Sweet Potato Recipes for Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Say farewell to marshmallow-topped sweet potato casseroles this Thanksgiving. Instead, make way for more savory sweet potato creations in your side dish spread. There are limitless opportunities for making sweet potatoes a savory part of your holiday feast, and we’ve picked out eight of them here for you.

Ditch the marshmallows and try these savory recipes for sweet potato side dishes this Thanksgiving.

1. Cheesy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

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Layers of gooey, melted Gruyere cheese and sweet potatoes intermingle in the Lucky Penny Blog’s mouthwatering Cheesy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes. The dish is topped off with a velvety-smooth combination of heavy cream and Gruyere, punctuated by notes of nutmeg and thyme as a final touch. The recipe yields 2 servings of creamy sweet potato goodness and can easily be multiplied to accommodate guests.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 1¼ cups Gruyere cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • About ¼ a teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 to 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice sweet potato using a mandoline to ensure even thickness in slices.

In a small saucepan, mix the heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg, thyme, salt, and fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.

Spray ramekins with cooking spray. Place a layer of sweet potatoes in bottom of ramekins. Sprinkle some cheese over sweet potatoes. Continue to layer sweet potatoes and cheese until you reach the top of your ramekin. Finish with cheese on top.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons cream mixture into each ramekin. Finish with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt if you like. Place ramekins in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes with foil on. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

2. Sweet Potato and Spinach Mac and Cheese

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Thanksgiving is all about comfort food, and Naturally Ella’s Sweet Potato and Spinach Mac and Cheese fits the bill. Sweet potato is a wonderful match for the dish’s irresistible mozzarella, Asiago, and Parmesan cheeses. Spinach will wilt to a tender perfection in the casserole, adding a bold splash of green to your cheesy sweet potato blend. The dish takes an hour and 5 minutes to make and yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 cups whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ¾ cup mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup Asiago cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 handfuls spinach

Directions: Peel and cube sweet potato. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add sweet potato, and cook until tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Place cooked sweet potato in a food processor with ¼ cup of milk. Pulse until smooth and set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil again and cook pasta for 5 to 6 minutes. Pasta should still be al dente. Drain and set aside.

Mix together cheese and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and add garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and let cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to cook out flour taste. Whisk in 1¼ cups of milk and cook until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in sweet potato puree and continue to cook until hot. Remove from heat and add 1½ cups of cheese mixture.

In a large casserole dish, add pasta, spinach, and cheese sauce. Toss until spinach is slightly wilted and cheese is mixture in. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes; cheese on top should be browning.

3. Smashed Sweet Potatoes With Garlic-Lemon Aioli

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After these smashed sweet potatoes reach a beautiful crisp in the oven, you’ll drizzle them with a decadent garlic-lemon aioli sauce to bring out the best of their lightly seasoned flavors. Be warned: Once you taste the aioli, you may not be able to stop eating! The Fitchen’s elegant recipe for Smashed Sweet Potatoes With Garlic-Lemon Aioli will make an exciting addition to your Thanksgiving spread. It will take an hour and 20 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

For sweet potatoes

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon quality olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • Chives, for garnish

For garlic-lemon aioli

  • ¾ cup quality olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

DirectionsFor sweet potatoes – Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into ¾-inch cylinders. Heat a large pot of water until boiling. Carefully dump the sweet potatoes into the water and allow them to boil for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are very tender.

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled aluminum foil.

Drain the sweet potatoes and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes. One at a time, place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and use a fork to gently smash them, keeping them mostly intact. When you’ve smashed all of the potatoes, lightly drizzle oil over each one; sprinkle minced garlic, sea salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes. When edges start to brown and look crispy, remove sweet potatoes and allow to cool. Garnish with fresh chives and serve with garlic-lemon aioli for maximum flavor impact.

For garlic-lemon aioli – In a high-speed blender, combine garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolks. Mix on medium speed until well combined. Slowly pour olive oil through the hole in the blender lid. Continue blending until the aioli becomes creamy and slightly fluffy.

4. Sweet Potato Gratin With Pancetta, Parmesan, and Sage

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Domesticate Me’s Sweet Potato Gratin With Pancetta, Parmesan, and Sage is the perfect solution for cooks who want an exciting spin on a classic Thanksgiving side. This cozy gratin consists of sweet potatoes layered with crispy, bold pancetta, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese for a heavenly taste. The cream sauce is infused with sage, thyme, garlic, and shallots for an added dimension of flavor, and the crispy breadcrumb topping offers a wonderful balance to the creamy gratin filling. A dash of smoked paprika lends a truly remarkable taste to the finish. It yields 6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound pancetta, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ⅛-inch rounds
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

For the topping

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a cast-iron skillet or large pan over medium heat and add the pancetta. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

In a medium saucepan or pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. When melted, add the minced shallots and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the shallots have softened. Add the cream, sage, thyme, and salt to the saucepan and heat until it is just simmering. Simmer very gently for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

While cream is simmering, prepare the sweet potatoes. Peel the potatoes and slice them in ⅛-inch discs. Discs should be as even in width as possible so that they cook evenly. Briefly set the potatoes aside.

Remove the sage and thyme from your cream and taste the mixture. Add a little more salt if necessary and season with fresh ground pepper. Pour ½ cup of the cream into a shallow baking dish. Add one-third of the sweet potatoes to the dish in an even layer. Add another ½ cup of the cream, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, and half of the pancetta. Top with a second layer of potatoes, followed by ½ cup cream, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, and pancetta. Finish with the remaining potatoes, and pour the remaining cream over the top of the gratin.

Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

While gratin is in the oven, prepare the crunchy topping. Heat the butter in a large pan. When melted, add the panko and stir until the breadcrumbs are well coated. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the panko is golden brown. Transfer the toasted panko to a bowl to cool. When cool, mix in the grated Parmesan and smoked paprika.

After the gratin has baked for 50 minutes, remove the foil. Add the topping in an even layer. Return the gratin to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is crispy and browned and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle the gratin with freshly chopped sage and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

5. Sweet Potato and Kale Hash

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Not only is this Sweet Potato and Kale Hash a delicious choice for a sweet potato side on Thanksgiving, but it also just requires one pot! Moreover, this vegan dish is satisfying and nutrient-packed: edamame and kale offer iron and vitamin C, while sweet potatoes themselves are a hearty source of potassium and vitamin A. Produce on Parade’s recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 ounces cubed seitan
  • 1 cup edamame (frozen, fresh, or cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the sweet potato and poke several times with a knife. Roast whole on a baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, until just tender. Remove from oven when done and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.

When there are about 10 minutes left for the sweet potato to cook, heat the oil in a large frying pan over low. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to brown.

Add the seitan and edamame and continue to sauté another 5 minutes over medium heat, until the seitan begins to brown.

Dice the sweet potato and add it to the frying pan along with the aromatics. Stir well to coat, then deglaze the pan with the vegetable broth. Add the chopped kale. Cook another 5 minutes or so, until the kale has wilted. Serve hot.

6. Sweet Potatoes With Gorgonzola Cream and Toasted Walnuts

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The sharp taste of gorgonzola makes a tasty complement to the buttery and lightly seasoned sweet potatoes in this dish. Toasted walnuts add a nutty taste while lending a crunchy aspect to the dish’s otherwise silky-smooth texture. The Domestic Front’s recipe for Sweet Potatoes With Gorgonzola Cream and Toasted Walnuts takes an hour and 10 minutes to make, and yields 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned, white and pale green parts only
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 3 ounces gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup toasted walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice into thick slices (about ¾ inches). Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tender. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thinly slice the leeks. In a pan, melt the butter, add the leeks and the thyme, and sauté over medium heat until the leeks are translucent and tender. Salt to taste, being aware that the cheese is quite salty.

In a small saucepan, crumble the gorgonzola into the cream and heat until the cheese is melted.

In a gratin dish, arrange the leeks. Top with the sweet potatoes, and pour the gorgonzola cream over the entire thing. (you can make it ahead until this point). Top with walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbling.

7. Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Sautéed Spinach

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Blending garlic-infused, buttery spinach with mashed sweet potatoes and sour cream will result in a sophisticated comfort dish like no other on the Thanksgiving table this year. For added indulgence in these Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Sautéed Spinach, Barefeet in the Kitchen recommends sprinkling mozzarella cheese into the mix for an irresistibly melted texture.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 6 ounces (approximately 4 cups) baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced very thinly

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the scrubbed sweet potatoes on it. Puncture each of them with a fork and then bake until they are fork tender, about 45 to 60 minutes depending on size.

When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Slice them in half and peel the skins off them. Place the cooked potatoes in a large mixing bowl and smash with a potato masher. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, after about a minute, add the spinach. Toss with tongs to coat the leaves thoroughly and continue tossing as the spinach cooks. It should wilt fairly quickly, within a few minutes. You want it to be soft and tender, not crisp for this recipe.

Once the spinach has wilted, add it and any remaining butter in the pan to the potato mixture. Stir well to combine. While the potatoes are still hot, top with cheese if desired. Enjoy!

8. Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Risotto

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This Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Risotto from Healthy Nibbles and Bits relies on a base of pulsed sweet potato rather than a traditional Arborio rice base. The tastes of onion, garlic, white wine, basil, and cheese characterize the dish, while mushrooms add a deeply satisfying texture. The recipe serves 3 people and takes 35 minutes to make. Note: If you would prefer not to use wine, simply substitute more vegetable stock.

Ingredients:

  • 1 very large sweet potato
  • 2 medium kohlrabi
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1¼ cups vegetable stock
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 10½ ounces beet greens, rinsed
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
  • 6 large basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Directions: Peel the sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Pulse the sweet potato in a food processor until it turns into tiny rice-like bits. Pour the chopped bits into a medium bowl.

Peel the tough exterior of the kohlrabi and chop it into small cubes. Pulse the kohlrabi in the food processor until it turns into tiny bits, as well. Cut off the stems from the beet greens and chop the stems and the leaves separately.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the onions and stir until the they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute.

Add in the sweet potatoes and kohlrabi “rice” into the skillet. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes and add the white wine. Once the wine starts absorbing, add the vegetable stock and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the stalks of the beet greens.

When the stock starts to boil, stir in the beet green leaves, mushrooms, and chopped basil. Let everything cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the beet greens start to wilt, and the mushrooms have shrunken.

Turn off the heat and mix in the shredded cheeses. Serve with some ground pepper. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.