This cheesy gratin makes a nutrient-dense alternative to the usual scalloped potatoes; it’s a delicious use of both squash and sweet potatoes. Butternut is easiest to peel and thinly slice, and the darker-fleshed sweet potatoes, often labeled as yams, are richer in beta carotene.
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard, baby kale or spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
2 tbsp (30 ml) flour
2 cups (500 ml) milk
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1–2 cups (250–500 ml) coarsely grated Gruyère, old cheddar or aged Gouda cheese
Heat a drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for 4–5minutes, until soft and turning golden. Chop the chard or baby kale (removing any tough stems) and add to the pan; cook for five minutes, or until wilted. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the butter and flour to the skillet and whisk together to make a paste. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2–3 minutes, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter a casserole dish. Spread half of the sliced squash and sweet potatoes in the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with half of the greens mixture, half the cheese and half the sauce. Layer with the rest of the squash and sweet potatoes, the rest of the greens, the rest of the sauce, and top it all with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a knife inserted shows that the vegetables are tender, and the top is golden and bubbly.
197 calories, 6.8 g fat (4.1 g saturated fat, 2.2 g monounsaturated fat, .5 g polyunsaturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 28.2 g carbohydrate, 6.3 g protein, 3.8 g fibre.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2014.