March is such a tempting mistress. The sun is in the sky later and the flowers are beginning to pop up, but it’s still just a bit too early for an appreciable amount of spring produce to show up at farmers’ markets. I spend March wistfully looking out my window at my vegetable garden, waiting for something, anything to happen. One more month of root vegetables and then I’m moving to California (for real this time).
While we’re in the dwindling months of winter (and root veggie season), you can find me bundled in a blanket eating all the sweet potatoes. This gratin really makes sweet potatoes shine. Creamy coconut milk and cashew butter make this a perfect vegan main dish or vegetable side. Of course, this gratin can be enjoyed any season, even summer when chard, kale, spinach, and collard greens are in season and can be subbed in for the chard. Vegan cheese may be omitted to make this kosher for Passover.
- 2 lbs swiss chard, stems removed and sliced into thin strips
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 large ones), sliced very thinly (about 1/8 inch thick)
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp cashew butter (or any unsweetened nut butter other than peanut butter)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup grated vegan cheese (I used Daiya mozzarella), optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, then add the shallots and garlic.
- Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Stir in chard and cook until just wilted.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the coconut milk and cashew butter in a small pot over high heat.
- Whisk together, stirring constantly, until the mixture has no clumps and comes to a rolling boil.
- Reduce heat and whisk in lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
- Layer the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish with half the shingled sweet potatoes.
- Spread the swiss chard mixture evenly on top of the potatoes.
- Layer on the remaining sweet potatoes and top with the coconut milk sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove and sprinkle with cheese (if using), then bake for another 45 minutes, uncovered, until bubbling and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm.