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.
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).
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 729mg Carbohydrates: 34g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 11g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 11g