Phew. We just got back into town from the first camping trip of the season! Man, was it tough to camp right next to Skaha Lake and watch everybody go off to climb the bluffs each morning knowing that I’d have to stay behind. My ankle is getting better with each week, but it still isn’t ready to take on hiking or climbing. I did manage to do a super fun bike ride through Myra Canyon in Kelowna. We went up on a whim, rented mountain bikes, and cruised over the 18 trestle bridges and through 2 tunnels. So fun! And I was totally psyched that my ankle held up for the whole ride.
I’ll put some pictures of our trip up soon, but for now I have a delicious casserole-type thing for you to try. I’m always searching for new ways to pack our meals with green, and this one does the trick while still managing to be extra tasty.
A huge bonus is that you get all the nutrients from the leaves AND the stems of the chard, and the woody stems offer a bit of substance and crunchiness. Mmm.
The nutmeg and the coconut milk add a bit of sweetness that pairs well with sweet potatoes and is lightened up nicely by the chard. The coconut milk doesn’t thicken up as thick as a traditional roux, but I think it still makes a great, creamy substitute for those wanting to avoid dairy. Daiya vegan cheese shreds are a great addition if you want to make this a vegan meal but still have some cheesiness.
SWEET POTATO AND SWISS CHARD GRATIN
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
serves 4 as a main, 6 as a side
1+1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 bunches Swiss Chard, leaves separated from stems and each chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp nutmeg
1 can coconut milk (not light, it’s just watered down – you want the creamy goodness!)
2 tbsp arrowroot starch to thicken (or any starch or flour will do)
2-3 large sweet potatoes (or yams), thinly sliced (peel if you wish)
2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced (if using dried, use a little less)
2 tbsp fresh sage, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup gruyere, grated (you could also use Daiya vegan cheese shreds for a delicious vegan option)
Preheat oven to 400F.
On med-low heat, cook onion in 1 tbsp coconut oil until softened. Add chard stems and nutmeg, and cook until stems are tender, about 10 minutes. Add greens and stir, cooking until the greens are wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain the greens in a strainer and press out the extra liquid.
In a small pan on med-low, heat coconut oil and mix in the arrowroot starch. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Spread half of the sweet potatoes in a baking dish, followed by half of the greens. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the herbs, salt and pepper, and 1/2 the cheese. Pour over half of the coconut cream sauce. Layer the rest of the potatoes, greens, herbs, and salt and pepper. Pour the rest of the sauce over the gratin and top with the other half of the cheese.
Bake for about 1 hour or until golden and bubbling.