Vegetable Gratin: Your New Favorite Comfort Food

Creamy and satisfying, it could be the best way to eat your veggies this winter.

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Posted in , Jan 24, 2019

Vegetable gratin

One of the pleasures of winter is the comfort of warm, nourishing meals. “Comfort food” comes in all shapes and sizes, from lasagna to soup to cinnamon-scented apple pie. This winter, why not expand your comfort zone, so to speak, and try making vegetable gratin?

This baked, creamy dish (although it can be made deliciously dairy-free) meets my top three criteria for comfort food. First, it’s easy to make—minimal vegetable-cutting, some minor mixing, and into the oven it goes to make your house smell good and your tummy rumble with excitement. Gratins can also be assembled in advance for easy weeknight comfort. 

Second, a gratin is more of a “method” than a “recipe,” which means it can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand or whatever looks good at the market. Here’s a general method that works with most combinations:

Slice vegetables into relatively even pieces and arrange half of them in a baking dish. Warm 2-3 cups of cream (or almond milk, if you’re diary-free) and season with nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour half the mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle a heavy handful of grated cheddar or Gruyere cheese over the top, then repeat. Bake, covered, for an hour at 400 degrees. Uncover then bake 15-30 minutes more, turning on the broiler if you like a crispy top.

The third and final thing I love about a vegetable gratin is that it is versatile. Served with a salad, it’s hearty enough to be a meatless meal on its own, or it makes a very happy side dish to practically any main course you can conjure up. Here are three combinations you can start with to make vegetable gratins a comforting staple of your winter dinner table.

1)  Mixed Root Vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, celery root, turnip)

2)  Yukon Gold Potato and Beet (this combination is as colorful as it is delicious!)

3)  Cauliflower and Leek

What's your favorite winter comfort food? 

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