French

Vegan Butternut Squash and Pear Gratin

Flavours of fall: vegan butternut squash and pear gratin. Cashew cream complements perfectly the sweet earthiness of the butternut squash and pears. A simple recipe great as a main dish or as a side dish to your Thanksgiving or Christmas Tofurky.

My all-time ever favoritest soup has to be butternut squash and pear. It’s one of those things that’s so simple that you never would expect it to be so good. This gratin is something like a “deconstructed” version of that soup. Usually, a dish labeled as a gratin would have a browned crust formed from the copious amounts of cheese and breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. Lately, however, I’ve been experimenting a lot with nuts and how to transform them into vegan dairy-type products. I really scored when I found a one kilo bag of raw cashews at the Asian supermarket; that was an exciting day (it’s true, I don’t get out much)! So the challenge I gave myself for this weekend was to make a vegan butternut squash and pear gratin.

Flavours of fall: vegan butternut squash and pear gratin. Cashew cream complements perfectly the sweet earthiness of the butternut squash and pears. A simple recipe great as a main dish or as a side dish to your Thanksgiving or Christmas Tofurky.

The experiment was a success and has become the latest recipe to “make the blog” (not all my recipes “make the blog”, only the least disastrous). Simply soak the cashews until soft and blitz them with a bit of stock and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is also a new ingredient for me, although one which I’ve read quite a bit about as I move towards a more vegan diet. I thought that it really did give a cheesy flavour, although my husband was totally unconvinced that it tasted anything like cheese. In any case, nutritional yeast can be hard to find so if you don’t have it, just leave it out and the gratin is equally delicious. Once the cashew cream is prepared, the rest of the dish comes together easily by simply frying the onions and placing alternating layers of onion, thinly sliced butternut squash and pear into a baking dish and slowly pouring the cream on top, allowing it to work its way into all the nooks and crannies. Get a nice crispy crust by sprinkling some breadcrumbs on top at the end of baking. Just like that you’ve got a filling vegan main dish or why not a side dish for your Thanksgiving or Christmas Tofurky? (If you can stomach Tofurky, it is a little bit … special).

Vegan Butternut Squash and Pear Gratin

Vegan Butternut Squash and Pear Gratin

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

A delicious vegan winter casserole!

Ingredients

  • Half a medium onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • About a quarter of a medium butternut squash
  • 2 pears (I used Conference pears)
  • 3/4 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) cashews
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided (if you’ve got it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • Small bunch of parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak the cashews in hot water until soft – about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C (395°F). Heat a small pan over medium heat and add the oil, followed by the onions. Allow the onions to cook gently until beginning to soften, then add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until translucent then remove from heat and reserve.
  2. While the onions are cooking, prepare the cashew cream by blending the cashews, vegetable stock, 4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a food processor or blender until liquefied. Set aside.
  3. Peel and slice the butternut squash as thinly as possible. If you’ve got a mandoline, I’m jealous – use that. If not, use a sharp knife. Peel and slice the pears. In a rectangular baking dish measuring approximately 23 x 15 x 5 cm (9 x 6 x 2 in) assemble the gratin by placing a layer of onions, followed by the squash then the pears. Repeat layering in this order until the dish is full. Pour the cashew cream over top and tilt the dish to allow it to flow around all the layers.
  4. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour until the squash is soft. Mix together the breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Remove the tin foil from the dish and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. Return, uncovered, to the oven for a few more minutes until the breadcrumbs are browned and crispy. Watch it closely to avoid burning. When ready, remove the gratin from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each serving with fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 729mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 11g

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy
    November 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    I have never had butternut squash and pear but this sounds delicious! Must try it soon!

  • Reply
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    November 15, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Oh what a genius flavour combo. I would love to try it.

  • Reply
    Claudia | Gourmet Project
    November 15, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    what an interesting combo: squash & pear sounds delish!

  • Reply
    Diane
    November 16, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I love the creativity of using pears and butternut squash together. I love both so I must give this one a try. Im totally addicted to soups!

  • Reply
    Trish
    November 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Oh my gosh this sounds so good! Never thought to add pear to a gratin. Genius!

  • Reply
    Joy @ Joy Love Food
    November 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I haven’t put butternut squash and pear together before, this sounds like a wonderful combination!

  • Reply
    Razena | Tantalisemytastebuds.com
    November 17, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    This sounds lush with the cashew cream!

  • Reply
    Kelly Hutchinson
    November 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I have never had butternut squash, but this looks so good. I think I may take the plunge and give it a try.

  • Reply
    Donna
    November 19, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    This sounds simply delicious! Haha I would totally share your excitement at finding a big bag of cashews 🙂

  • Reply
    Oana@AdoreFoods
    November 22, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I have to make this recipe! Such an interesting combination …squash and pear! Looks really good

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