Healthy Twist on a Classic

One day I saw an au gratin recipe on foodgawker. While I do absolutely love it, especially the version my mom makes, it’s a lot of white potatoes, milk, flour and butter. I wanted to make it healthier, and slip in some protein.

I’ve been toying with the idea of using beans to make a thick “creamy” sauce, instead of flour as the binder. So I decided to give it a go. I blended together beans, some milk, garlic and salt and pepper. I added in some spinach because I didn’t want the dish to be completely white. And why not sneak in some more nutrients?

So here’s my version of a healthy au gratin. It’s delish as leftovers as well! Feel free to leave out a clove of garlic if you don’t like a strong garlic flavor.

Sweet Potato and Turnip Au Gratin
(Serves 6)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (use a mandolin or chef’s knife – if you use a knife, cut a flat base for yourself)
4 turnips, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 14 oz. can of Great Northern beans
3 cloves garlic
1 c. milk
2 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp. pepper
1 c. frozen, thawed chopped spinach
8 springs thyme, pulled off the stems
1 ½ c. shredded Italian cheese blend

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13” pan with a little olive oil or cooking spray on the bottom and sides.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, garlic, milk, spinach, thyme (pulled off the stems) and salt and pepper until smooth. The mixture should be slightly salty in order to season the potatoes and turnips.
  3. Layering order: Turnips, onion, sauce, cheese, sweet potato, onion, sauce, cheese. Repeat until ingredients are finished. Make sure you do finish with sauce and cheese on top! (Note: you can put aside about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of cheese and sauce for the topping to make sure you don’t use it all).
  4. Cover with foil. Cook for about 30 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese, and bake for another 15 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbling.
  5. Cool for about 5-10 minutes and serve!

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