This post was sponsored by Harvest Stone® . Thank you for supporting the partnerships that allow Brewing Happiness to grow and exist. xoxo.
I’ve started to notice a “healthy-ish” trend in the Thanksgiving world over the past few years. People are starting to swap out some of the standards for lighter versions of our favorites. This concept makes me SO excited, because that’s my niche.
My family, being very southern, hasn’t always been that receptive to the new alternatives I’ve been bringing the past few years. But it seems they are starting to adapt. That might have a little to do with my influence, but I prefer to remain optimistic that it’s a cultural sign that the world is getting “healthier.”
As everyone gets older and people pass away traditions have to change. It’s inevitable. It’s a coming of age that happens in every family. So I’ve decided that instead of digging our heels in and trying to do the same thing each an every year, we should change with the times. To me that means making a health-ier meal on Thanksgiving and trying something new.
That’s why I put together this Ricotta Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Casserole with a Harvest Stone® Cracker crumble on top. I chose the Simply Sea Salt & Olive Oil Sprouted Native Grains Crackers, because they act like breadcrumbs – adding a nice crunchy, salty note to the casserole – but they are totally gluten-free, non-GMO, and delicious.
The ricotta makes the dish still feel decadent without having to try to hard. That way you don’t have to worry about there being hidden heavy cream or cream cheese or something lurking in the hidden recesses of your food. This is light and seasonal and super uncomplicated. You’ll love having it at your table this year!
Ricotta Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Casserole
This gluten-free Ricotta Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Casserole is a healthier and lighter version of your favorite holiday side dishes!
- 1 butternut squash, cubed
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, diced
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta
- 1 box Harvest Stone® Sea Salt & Olive Oil Sprouted Native Grains Crackers
- 2 tablespoons ghee, melted (sub olive oil or butter)
Preheat the oven to 400.
Peel, seed, and chop your butternut squash and sweet potato into 1" cubes. Add them to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan over medium-low heat with onion. Cook until the onion is soft. Add in garlic, sage, and rosemary and toss for 2 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
Once your squash and sweet potato are done, transfer them to a casserole dish along with your onion mixture and make sure everything is mixed well. Top with dollops of ricotta until there is an even amount all over the casserole.
Crush your Harvest Stone Crackers into small pieces and mix in a bowl with melted ghee. Sprinkle the crackers to the top of the casserole and bake for 20 minutes.
“There’s no such thing as a long time ago. There’s only memories that mean something and memories that don’t.” – This is Us
I am now down to one grandparent, and where there used to be two Thanksgiving dinners we have combined to just one. There are new babies at the table, and thankfully now some healthier dishes on the menu. Even with all of that change the conversation always goes from small talk to memories. That never changes.
Just like that I can see my grandma, Shorty, puttering around her kitchen making mashed potatoes while we all crowd around the kitchen. I can feel her jokingly shoo me out of the way. I can envision my Grandpa Hunt, sitting at the end of the table, telling a very long winded war story that no one had the heart to tell him they’d heard before. It is as if they are happening in front of me.
Those things never go away. That’s what makes the holidays so special. The ever present memory of holiday’s past. Time blurs and we become kids again, sitting at the same table, having the same conversations, eating the same food. That’s the point of tradition.
I am not usually a person who resonates with tradition. I crave change, I seek the unique. But when I think about traditions in this way, I find a soft spot in my heart for them. It’s not doing the same thing every year in the same way, rather it is a portal to our memories. A connection to the past in the present moment.
That doesn’t mean we have to eat the same unhealthy food year after year. But it does mean that showing up, gathering ’round, is important. So maybe this year you bring the Ricotta Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Casserole, instead of the less healthy cheesy bake. But you continue to gather at the table with your family, and remember all the moments past that lead you to that one. That is tradition to me. That’s what makes this life magical. xo.