Today we went over to the wonderful in-laws to catch up and have some serious talks regarding various life matters. On the more fun side of things the MIL and I dashed out to buy clothes whilst the men-folk were nattering about the fire they were making, and we also got some amazing gifts from their cruise around the Mediterranean. I’m always so happy and blessed to have such amazing people in my life, because I chose them specifically to be my family. Their endless kindness, warm-heartedness and ability to draw one into their nest so quickly and effortlessly is one of the big reasons I married Man-thing. Family is extremely important to me (and him!), and with such people one is pretty much set for life in terms of unconditional love and support.
When I phoned my FIL during the week sometime to hear what I should bring, he was asking random questions such as do I eat soy mince, and mash, and what not. We show up today and he had made the most delicious shepard’s pie all for me with mushrooms and rocket and wauw – I was so spoilt! Never mind that it was tasty (because he can most certainly cook), but the idea that he and my MIL spent time gallivanting around the shops to make something just for this silly vegan really made me have to gulp down some happy sprinklers that were threatening to burst from my face.
Whilst I munched on that, I had made them their own side dish of a sweet potato gratin. My FIL is diabetic so sweet potato is excellent for him, and luckily my MIL also loves it. Simple yet delicious, methinks. After doing much research I realize that bread crumbs is the way it’s done on top, but I was rather twitchy about carbs atop carbs, and plus there’s nothing better than a bit of nuts to give a different flavour to the dish.
Ingredients – base:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (approx 500g), peeled and sliced thinly – split in 3 bunches
- 2 cups green beans, steamed
- 2 cups cabbage, chopped & steamed
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup broth
- 2 TBSP jam of choice (I used ginger chili)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 3 TBSP nutritional yeast
- thyme + oregano spices
- small bunch coriander, chopped
- 6 or so stalks chives, chopped finely
- 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1 TBSP red wine
- 2 TBSP non-dairy milk
- 1/3 cup unsalted cashews
- 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- (optional: 1 TBSP nut butter + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar)
- smoked paprika, tumeric, etc
- Preheat oven to 230C.
- In a cup, add the wine, jam, onion powder, curry powder, 2 TBSP nutritional yeast and set aside.
- On a non-stick or oiled pan, fry your steamed green beans & cabbage for 2 -3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the wine mixture and give it a stir, letting it fry/simmer for another 5 minutes – hopefully your jam will also start to bubble wonderfully!
- Add your spices and herbs (coriander & chives) and stir, letting it carry on a few minutes more.
- Take the green mixture off the stove and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, in a prepared/oiled/sprayed 10″ round casserole dish, layer your first bunch of sweet potato slices, overlapping.
- By now your green mix should be cooled – place it in a food processor and blitz it – it shouldn’t become unrecognizable but just mushed down slightly.
- Place half the green mixture atop your first layer of sweet potatoes. spread it out nicely so that it covers all sides and angles.
- Layer your second bunch of sweet potatoes, then spread out the other half of the green goodness.
- Lastly, top it off with the final bunch of sweet potatoes – if you have any left over set them aside to roast by themselves later as a yummy snack with some almond butter or pesto on crackers.
- Pour your broth over the casserole/gratin, going in circles to ensure it gets everywhere.
- Place foil on top, shiny side in, and bake for 35 minutes.
- Towards the end of this quickly process your cashews and chopped tomatoes with spices (ESPECIALLY smoked paprika and white pepper if you have it!) and 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar until broken down significantly but not super smooth – there must be tiny bits of chunky cashews in there.
- Mix your 1 TBSP red wine, 2 TBSP soy milk + 1 TBSP nutritional yeast and pour it over the top of your sweet potatoes. Sprinkle on your herbs and spices.
- Spread over your cashew mixture, then bake for 15 minutes or so uncovered until crisp/cooked.
The layers of greenery in between the sweet potatoes is really lovely – it just gives it all the more flavour, and then the smoky cashew topping? Oh yarr! This is overall a very easy dish to make, and perfect to accompany some salads and portabello steaks or grilled tofu. You can even layer in some beans or slightly grilled, thin tofu slices in between to make this a complete meal., but it is pretty hefty. 😀