Spicy garnet yams casserole with candied pepitas

By Wendy Andresen | Feb 18, 2021
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

This is not your usual Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. Here we have a dish with spicy natural sweetness that has color and crunch and stands up as a main dish.

We enjoyed some wilted garlicky spinach alongside, and the combination was perfect. Regular sweet potatoes can be substituted for garnet yams, for which you’ll probably have to make a trip to a natural food store, but they’re worth it. They’re noticeably brighter and sweeter.

You won’t use the whole can of chipotles, so put the remainder in a bag and freeze them until you’re ready for another dose of smoky spiciness. Leftover candied pepitas also keep well in the fridge.


1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

2 tsp. neutral oil

1/2 tsp. salt

3 pounds garnet yams (4 cups mashed)

1 1/2 cups corn kernels

3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, such as Heiwa, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 to 2 Tbsp. chipotles in adobo, chopped

1 tsp. salt


1. Mix together the pepitas, maple syrup, oil and salt. Transfer them to a sheet pan topped with parchment and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes. Don’t let them burn! Set aside to cool and firm up.

2. Cook the yams any way you please. Either microwave them, bake them in a conventional oven or cube them and roast them. We want them tender as pudding.

3. In a large bowl, mash the flesh of the yams and add the chipotles, corn, tofu, scallions, and salt. Mix well.

4. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and transfer the mixture into the dish. A baking dish with more surface area will heat faster and make more surface area for plenty of caramelized pepitas if you’re displaying this as a big, beautiful dish. If you plan to serve individual portions, you can use a more compact dish and garnish each serving separately with pepitas.

5. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until hot. Top with candied pepitas.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: ANANUR FORMA | Feb 19, 2021 09:02

wow, will have to make this!

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