Recipe: Ursula’s Yambalee Queen Christmas Casserole

Inspired by Ursula Pari’s mother, Alice Castille

This Christmas casserole is affordable and delicious. (SA Live, Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

You can certainly see which one is my mother, Alice Castille (pictured below). She was the inspiration for this recipe.

Ursula Pari's mom, first runner-up in the Yambalee Queen contest. (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

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Castille was the first runner-up in the Yambalee Queen contest in the Cajun town of Sunset, LA - the “Yam Capital of the World.”

They were farmers and didn’t have a lot of money, but they ate well. Inexpensive but nutritious yams were on the dinner table every day when she was growing up.

This is my recipe, which works almost as a dessert - and the kids love it when you add a little border of marshmallows around the edge of the dish int he last 10 minutes or so until they are toasted.

Enjoy, y’all!

Ursula’s Yambalee Queen Christmas Casserole


For crust

  • 1 cup brown sugar (I cut it in half and use Stevia brown sugar, but just don’t tell anyone!)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans are best, but you can use walnuts or almonds)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

For sweet potato mixture

  • 3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed (you can use canned in light or no syrup to save time, but rinse them to remove as much syrup as possible)
  • 1 cup sugar (again, baking Stevia works with this recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, not coarse
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (if you’re being healthy, you can use 2 tablespoons instead)


Mix brown sugar, flour, nuts and melted butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a separate bowl. Beat together thoroughly if you want a smooth, pudding-like filling. I like to just lightly mash the potatoes so there’s more texture and more sweet potato taste in each bite.

Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.

Sprinkle the top of the sweet potato mixture with the crust mixture, then cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the foil and toast the top for 10 minutes.

Allow to sit with loose foil at least 30 minutes before serving, so all the fluids are absorbed (don’t worry, it’ll stay hot).

About the Authors

Ursula Pari has been a staple of television news in Texas at KSAT 12 News since 1996 and a veteran of broadcast journalism for more than 30 years.

Diana Winters is a San Antonio-area native, Emmy award-winning and GLAAD-nominated journalist who loves the Alamo City. She is the executive producer of SA Live, creator of South Texas PRIDE and co-creator of Texas Eats.

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