Thanksgiving recipes that combine favorite preparations and ingredients with some healthier substitutions.
The countdown to Thanksgiving is on, and while the day is the country’s greatest culinary celebration, ending the afternoon in a sofa-ridden food coma shouldn’t be the only outcome of a festive feast. To keep things satisfying and celebratory without overdosing on decadence, I’ve created recipes that combine favorite preparations and ingredients with some healthier substitutions. Use all of the recipes in this and upcoming installments of this series to create a healthier yet delicious holiday meal, choose one dish to bring to a potluck, or swap a few dishes for your usual butter- and cream-filled traditional recipes.
This lighter gratin recipe is incredibly versatile: You can substitute any vegetables for the squash or potatoes suggested here; you just may need to adjust the bake time. Cauliflower and broccoli make delicious substitutions; a kale or Swiss chard, parsnip and potato version would be excellent as well.
Potato and Squash Gratin
1 1/2 pounds yellow squash or zucchini (or a combination), sliced thinly and evenly with a knife or mandolin
2 pounds medium-sized red, purple and gold potatoes (or any combination you’d like), sliced thinly and evenly with a knife or mandolin
3 tablespoons Smart Balance butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
3 cups low-fat or nonfat milk, or soy milk
1 cup fat-free half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and heat olive oil. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Cook until mixture turns a light, sandy color, about six minutes. In a separate pan over medium heat, warm milk and half and half. Add milk 1 cup at a time to roux (butter and flour mixture), whisking until smooth between additions. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Add minced garlic and season with salt, nutmeg and fresh herbs.
In a medium-sized casserole dish, add about two tablespoons of the bechamel sauce to coat the bottom of the dish. Spread out with a spoon. Layer the bottom of the dish with one layer of potatoes and one layer of squash. Add three or four tablespoons of bechamel sauce and spread over vegetables. Sprinkle with a thin layer of cheese. Continue layering squash and potatoes with sauce and cheese until casserole dish is filled. Spoon remaining sauce on top of the last layer of veggies and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender. Remove top and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.[sig:SabrinaGrotewold]