These little beauties are a perfect way to make your guests feel special this Thanksgiving. Each ramekin is carefully layered and seasoned to perfection and it shows in appearance and flavor. If you don’t have ramekins, just layer all ingredients in a medium glass casserole dish and slice once baked. Top either preparation with dairy-free Macadamia Cashew Cream Sauce and toast to the infinite possibilities for a plant-based Thanksgiving.
Makes: 8 servings
Time: 60 minutes
4, 4″ Ramekins (or a medium glass casserole dish)
Mandoline slicer (or you can carefully, thinly slice by hand)
Pastry brush (or small spoon to drizzle)
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
5-6 golden beets
4 granny smith apples
1 butternut squash
1 red onion
1 tbsp sucanat (optional)
1/4 cup fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, warmed to liquid
Fresh ground black pepper
Fine ground sea salt
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, not soaked
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
Let’s get started.
Slice your onion on the mandoline and add it, 1 tsp of coconut oil and sucanat, to a pan and brown over medium-high heat 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. While onions brown…
…peel and slice your beets on the mandoline and set aside. Slice your apples (do not peel, the green is pretty) on the mandoline, and cut out the core/seeds on the slices where you find it. You want nice round slices of the beets, apples and squash to fill your ramekins.
Peel your butternut squash and slice as well. If your rounds are too big, use kitchen scissors, or a knife to trim off any extra diameter. Chop up and use your scraps/extra for a delicious batch of Peppered Lentils with Kale & Butternut Squash.
Using a pastry brush, or your fingers, grease your ramekins (or baking dish).
Place a beet round on the ramekin. Paint with coconut oil. With a very light hand, sprinkle—SPRINKLE!—a touch of sea salt and pepper on your round. It’s important to season all layers, so be sure to be delicate with your amounts. A tiny pinch will do. Imagine, if you had to (or could) count, you’d make it so only 20 little grains of salt/pepper are on each round. I like the kick of fresh pepper, but if you are not a fan, use pepper every third layer instead of on each one like I do.
Sprinkle beet with fresh thyme. Now place an apple slice on top of your beet. Then place a few onions on top.
Paint with oil. Add a pinch of salt/pepper. Now place a butternut squash round on the apple/onions. Season with pepper/salt. Repeat this order until you are able to exceed the height of your ramekin about 1/2″. They will bake down.
Again, use this order and repeat until ramekin is full:
Beet: coconut oil, fresh thyme, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Apple: coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Butternut squash: Coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
No matter what layer you finish on, make sure you top it with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
If you are using a casserole dish, follow the order and steps above. Just fill the dish.
Place your ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
While they are baking, place cream ingredients in the blender and mix until ultra smooth. Drizzle over warm gratins and serve!
You can prepare gratins a day in advance. Just make sure they are covered well and you reheat them in the oven, never a microwave. Always use fresh cream sauce to drizzle, too.
If you want to keep this recipe/prep simpler, I bet you can make it without the butternut squash and it is still delish. Let us know.
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