Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Gratin

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Caramelized Onion Goat cheese gratin

One of my favorite activities is flipping through cooking magazines for inspiration.  While I often spend more time in the kitchen experimenting without any particular recipe in hand, I do love learning from recipes and adapting the ones that inspire me to be gluten free, healthier, or both.  In this case I adapted the recipe from Clean Eating magazine to be slightly less healthy (I thought they were a little stingy in some areas), a bit more user friendly, and of course gluten free. I haven’t been getting this magazine too long, but so far I really like it. The recipes are super healthy, the nutritional advice is interesting and I’ve actually learned some handy new cooking tips that don’t feel like more of the same. Clean Eating also includes gluten free recipes in their line up each month and showcase a gluten free recipe section on their website, which I recommend for inspiration. 

Even though I did beef up some of ingredients in this recipe, I promise it is still the magical combination of “healthy but doesn’t taste like it” that brings me so much joy.  Using goat cheese is a smart swap here for the traditional heavy cow’s milk cheeses that are more typical for a gratin style dish.  Goat cheese is strongly flavored, so you don’t want to smother the dish with it and just a little bit goes a long way. Goat cheese is also very creamy, which gives you that happy gratin texture without actually adding any cream or butter.  There is so little cheese for this type of dish, I wasn’t actually sure I could call it a gratin- but thanks to some google searching found that something can be considered a gratin as long as it has breadcrumbs and cheese. Done and done. 

Just writing this post makes me want to go into the fridge and heat up the leftovers for breakfast. I’ll try to use some willpower to wait until lunch but might need you to send some encouragement my way. Happy gratin making! 

Prep Ahead: Use your prep day to get ahead so you can make even on a busy work night!

  • Slice and caramelize the onions, let cool and store
  • Chop and pre-bake the sweet potatoes chunks, let cool and store

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a side dish)

  • Olive oil, kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks (about 1/2 inch)
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • About 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves pulled from stems 
  • About 2 ounces of fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh gluten free bread crumbs (note: don’t bother with the ones you buy in the store, I’ve yet to find any that impress me.  I recommend buying gluten free bread that you like and using the blender or food processor to make fresh bread crumbs.  To make life easier, make a big batch and keep them in the freezer so they are ready whenever you need them)
  • Cooking spray

       

Directions: 

  • Pre-Heat the oven to 425
  • (prep ahead) Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add your sliced onions, and sprinkle with salt and pepper . Cook on medium high heat until the onions begin to soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low and let the onions caramelize, stirring occasionally to scrape up the tasty brown bits and make sure they cook evenly- about 30 minutes+
  • While the onions are cooking, chop the sweet potato and arrange in your casserole dish (making sure it is large enough to add the rest of the ingredients later)
  • Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Use your hands to toss together and make sure the potatoes are evenly coated with the oil and seasoning
  • (prep ahead) Roast the potatoes for about 8 minutes, until slightly tender
  • While the potatoes roast, combine about 3 tablespoons of fresh orange juice and a generous tablespoon of honey in a small bowl and whisk together.
  • Add about half of the orange juice/honey mixture and gently stir to coat evenly, making sure the potatoes aren’t drowning in juice because they will get soggy instead of crispy.  Bake the potatoes for an additional 8 minutes until they start to brown (if prepping ahead, stop after this step).
  • Pull out the roasted potatoes and add the caramelized onions, remaining orange juice mixture, and fresh thyme leaves- gently folding so they are evenly mixed with the potatoes.
  • Crumble the goat cheese on top
  • Sprinkle on the bread crumbs and spray the entire thing with cooking spray (which helps the bread crumbs get crispy)
  • Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes until the cheese is is starting to brown and the topping is crispy
Adapted from Clean Eating magazine, June 2012 

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