Our colleagues in America are getting very excited for the holiday weekend, and here in the UK we’re getting excited because Thanksgiving means that Christmas is literally just around the corner! Today’s recipe is from our new book Perfectly Paleo by Rosa Rigby and would make a wonderful vegan main dish for the holiday period. We reckon it’s so tasty that if you make it for Thanksgiving everyone will be requesting it again for Christmas too!
Winter Root Vegetable Gratin
This is quite a hearty vegan meal, which is warming enough to serve straight from the pan and I actually really enjoy it served on its own or with some simple sautéed or steamed green veg on the side.
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 heaped tablespoon each of chopped fresh parsley and rosemary
leaves of 8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 celery stalks/ribs, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
4–5 ladles Vegetable Stock
250 g/9 oz. white turnip, thinly sliced
250 g/9 oz. swede/rutabaga, peeled and thinly sliced
250 g/9 oz. butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
black pepper, to season
almonds, to serve
200 g/1¾ cup cashews, soaked in water
½ teaspoon salt
freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (I use a dried Italian herb mix)
a 1-litre/quart capacity casserole dish, greased with coconut butter
a high-powered blender (I use a NutriBullet)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Put the coconut butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the herbs, celery and onion, and sauté for a few minutes. Pour over the stock and cook for a little while longer.
Layer the sliced root veg in the prepared casserole dish – I tend to mix and match the vegetables in a layer – and, between each layer, add a layer of the cooked onions and celery, removing the bay leaves. Pile the layers up high as the casserole shrinks as it cooks, season with black pepper and pour over the remaining stock – you may not need all the stock but there should be enough to steam through the veg, bearing in mind that it will evaporate during cooking.
Put the dish on top of a baking sheet in case of spillages and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the veg is cooked.
To make the topping, blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender with 6 tablespoons of water. The mixture should be smooth. If it seems too thick add a little more water. It should have the consistency of a creamy white sauce or béchamel.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and spread the topping over the cooked vegetables. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden.
Sprinkle with almonds immediately before serving.