Very Veg Gratin Served with Brown Rice

This recipe was rebellion! I was invited to a “girlie party” a couple of weeks ago, Loads of fun, a creative hostess and an interesting group of women, “Foxes in Socks”.

Why was I using my recipe to be rebellious? See…I knew many of the guests. AND I knew what kind of food people usually bring to a holiday party. Chips and dips, big meats, sausages and lots of really-yummy-but-super-bad-for-us desserts.

I decided to be different. I would bring an alternative dish, rich with veggies and spice, warm and inviting. And of course, since we were also PBBS (Please bring a bottle to share), I paired it with wine*.  How did my gratin fare on a table full of goodies? Very well, thank you. The lone vegetarian of the crowd was especially pleased, but even better was enthusiastic praise from the carnivores who savored the creamy texture of the veg and the crunchy pecan topping. Yes readers, I was happy.

Of course, you are all wondering now, “Did she not try the Brats and Sauerkraut? Ignore the Dirty Martini Dip with Potato Chips? The Wild Mushroom Casserole made with 2 cups of heavy cream? I am NOT a Food Nazi. I tried a bite of every thing on the gorgeous table. It was yum and so much fun to share the abundance from old and new friends. I even scarfed down the best of a piece of caramel cake that was topped with birthday candles, just for me.

You can have the same pleasure of serving friends and family a counterpart to the usual fare. Consider making this recipe when planning your Christmas feast. (Yes, I know it has a couple of steps more than my regular recipes. But, its worth it!) Or, a plan ahead weekday meal paired with a crunchy vinaigrette dressed salad. Layer it up ahead of time for a weekend gathering – be like me and share it for a potluck – your chance to be a rebel, too! When they scoop down into the many creamy layers, you’ll have undying gratitude from the whole bunch. ALL the carnivores, veggies and vegans at your table.

Very Veg Gratin Ready for the Oven!

Very Veg Gratin

4 Red Onions, chopped
3 TB Olive Oil, divided
2 TB Balsamic
2 TB Red Wine
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

8 Carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
2 Tsp Garam Masala

1 Recipe Creamy Cauliflower, Fennel and Rosemary Puree – last week’s blog post 11/25/13 (Make a double or triple recipe and save one for this dish – OR you can use mashed potatoes or parsnips)

2 Cans (15.5 OZ) Pumpkin

1 Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans

Step One
Saute the onions in 2 TB of the oil until soft, turn the heat to low and add the balsamic and red wine. Sprinkle with salt and a good bit of black pepper and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed.

Step Two
While the onions are cooking, cook the carrots in a 400F oven. Toss them on a sheet pan with the remaining oil and the garam masala, salt and pepper. Roast until browned about 20 minutes.

Step Three
When your onions, carrots and puree are ready, its time to layer. Spray a large flat casserole dish with non stick spray. Layer the pumpkin first, then a scatter of onions, followed by carrots and then puree. Repeat and top with the chopped pecans. Cook in a 350F oven until warm about 30 minutes.

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