Each Friday, a wonderful group of women reaches across cyberspace and joins culinary hands to salute one very healthy food, one single beautiful ingredient from Power Foods : 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients.  (Scroll down for the list of blogs.)
 

I won’t say it’s not a challenge to come up to that gorgeous plate each week.  If I’m busy learning music for church or have my daughter home, or am busy with the soup book, I sometimes can’t give the opportunity the intelligent focus and attention it deserves.  I used one great recipe for more than one blog recently….life can get ahead of me sometimes.  Hopefully I’m forgiven!

This week, the week of pecans, I had the time I needed to give this a good stab.  To give it my undivided creative space.  I’m grateful for the opportunity and the chance to move one sweet iota further in my cooking and writing.  I hope you’ll enjoy the idea of this light vegetable gratin…which is maybe a bit more like a terrine in character, though not in the size and shape of a terrine.  There’s no cream and no butter here unlike most gratins.  There is a crusty, crispy topping; it’s a savory oatmeal granola without butter (yes, it has olive oil) to which I’ve added the traditional gratin component of cheese, but also finely chopped pecans.

While pecans are an American nut staple grown in the southern states, they’re not terribly common in other parts of the world, with the exception of South America. High in protein (though lower than almonds and walnuts), they are also high in healthy unsaturated fat, a good source of fiber and vitamin E,  calorically dense, and weigh in at nearly two-hundred calories per one ounce serving. Store them in the freezer and use as needed.  They are excellent for baking, cooking, and for general snacking.

 LIVESTRONG NUTRITIONAL INFO FOR PECANS

Gluten-free and easily vegan (leave out the Parmesan), this winter vegetable gratin with healthful  pecans in its topping is not only a gorgeous side if you need or your partner really needs a chop… but is a lovely lunch or entree for those in love with vegetables. (You might add more pecans for protein for the vegan version.)  A sharp knife, a shallow dish (I used a heavy quiche pan in lieu of a gratin dish as I liked the shape, but even a 2 quart Pyrex would do), and a boatload of winter vegetables are the central components of your beautiful, filling meal.  Try this:

winter vegetable gratin with savory granola

vegetables:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (needn’t be extra virgin)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 stalks celery, trimmed, stringed, and sliced thinly
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled, and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced thinly  
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth                                       
  • 2 tablespoons white wine      
  • finely grated lemon rind, optional garnish (at table)       


granola: (in a medium bowl, mix together well:)
 

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon each:  kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 (pinch) aleppo pepper (can sub crushed red pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan version)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, rubbed well in your hands or chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth   

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 Celsius).  In a small bowl, mix together red onion, garlic and parsley; set aside. With 1-2 teaspoons oil, brush the inside of a 9-10shallow casserole dish or gratin dish.
  2. Layer carrots, celery, parsnips, fennel, and turnips in dish, drizzling each layer with a little olive oil, salt/pepper, and sprinkling each layer with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the onion mixture.  (Place the rest of fennel at center if possible.)  Mix the broth with the wine and pour over the vegetables.
  3. Top  with savory granola mixture* by crumbling it evenly over the vegetables. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes until granola is crispy and vegetables are tender. 
  4. Serve hot with a bit of finely grated lemon rind, if desired.  

*You may not need all of the granola; you can eat the rest as is for a good snack.
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 If you liked this, you might like my Derby Pie–a Pecan-Chocolate-Bourbon specialty made only for the Kentucky Derby–May 3-4, 2013.

Or you might like my Go Nuts!  which can be made with all pecans or a mixture of  nuts:

 

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Here’s our wonderful group of bloggers.  Join us!

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

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P.S. If you linked my cinnamon rolls to your blog, I’d love to know who you are!  It’s now my top post in nearly five years.   I’d like to thank you…. 

Sing a new song,
Alyce