Jamaican Yam Casserole
Jamaican Yam Casserole is composed of sweet potatoes combined with banana slices, chopped pecans, toasted flaked coconut and flavored with orange juice. Jamaican Yam Casserole is actually a misnomer, as most vegetables referred to in the United States as “yams” are actually sweet potatoes.
Many people use the terms “yam” and “sweet potato” interchangeably but in reality they are two very different vegetables. Sweet potatoes are actually members of the Morning Glory family while yams belong to a family of starchy tubers grown in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. True yams may be found in Asian and Caribbean markets. There are more than 600 varieties of yams grown and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa.
Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, yams are considered nutritionally inferior to sweet potatoes related to their high levels of beta carotene. Sweet potatoes originated in Peru and Equador. North Carolina produces the largest sweet potato crop in the US.
Sweet potatoes contain some great nutrients such as beta carotene, Vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and blood sugar regulating nutrients. Beta carotene is a strongly colored red-orange pigment abundant in fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene is a well-known antioxidant and eating a diet rich in beta carotene is an excellent health recommendation.
The Recipe for Jamaican Yam Casserole
- 1 1-lb. can yams, drained OR use 3 medium sweet potatoes, sliced and cooked until soft
- 1/2 medium banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons toasted flaked coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a buttered 1-quart casserole arrange sweet potatoes, banana. Pour juice over all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with pecans and coconut. Bake, covered for 30 minutes.
- Optional: 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter may be added for additional flavor, if desired.
Recently I had three sweet potatoes that I needed to use up so I found this recipe in a Good Housekeeping Cookbook that was published in 1963. The recipe yield is 2 servings, so some multiplication might be in order If you need to serve more than 2 people. I would characterize this recipe as simple, fast and quite delicious. The orange juice acts as a flavor intensifier. The ingredients combine well to produce a great side dish.
If you like sweet potatoes as much as I do, you may wish to check out other posts I’ve written that featured sweet potato recipes:
When you need a light side dish to accompany meat, fish or fowl, try Jamaican Yam (Sweet Potato) Casserole!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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