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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Creamy Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Casserole

Because I love being right!!!

Hey, so remember last week when I speculated that Swiss chard would be tasty paired with sweet potatoes?  Holy happy taste buds, was I right!!!  By baking the chard in a casserole, the bitterness of the chard mellowed right out, and paired with the sweet potatoes, you get a hearty, slightly earthy, slightly sweet dish.  And it's simply magical!

The sauce I made for this is based on the cashew sauce I've used before, with a few variations.  I actually think I could have used less sauce (I may have gotten a little carried away).  But hey, I'm a saucy gal.  I don't mind mopping up the excess goodness with toast.  This casserole would also be excellent served over rice or quinoa (check the update below!).

I kept the ingredients pretty simple, although I had considered adding in a few extras.  If you have a large enough casserole dish (of course I couldn't find mine...), feel free to add in beans (garbanzo or white beans would be lovely), corn, zucchini, or anything else you see fit.

So, two Swiss chard posts in a row isn't a bad thing, right?  I hope not, because we're going to have a repeat again next week.  Not another chard recipe, but another sweet potato recipe.  I have a dessert idea [which, I admit, are few and far between] that I'm hoping to get to tomorrow.  Stay tuned for more sweetness!

*UPDATE:  This casserole is fantastic with rice, and much more filling than just some saucy veggies.  I would suggest mixing in 2 cups cooked brown (or your preferred) rice to the veggie mix before pouring on the sauce, and cook at the same temp for the same amount of time.  Delish!

3/4 cups cashews, soaked*
3 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
4 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp rubbed sage

1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled; cut lengthwise and sliced into 1/4 inch half moons
1 bunch Swiss or rainbow chard; stems removed, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces; leaves chopped
2 cups cooked rice, optional (but delicious!)
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

*To soak the cashews:  Place nuts in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water.  Microwave for two minutes.  Set aside while you get the rest of the sauce ingredients together.

In a high speed blender, combine the veg broth, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, olive oil, and sage.  Drain the cashews and add those as well.  Blend on high until cashews are well blended.  Set aside.

In a large skillet pan, saute onion, garlic, and chard stems with 2 tablespoons of water for about 5 minutes on medium high heat.  Add the potatoes and continue to cook, partially covered, for another 5-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the potatoes are starting to soften, remove the pan from heat.  Arrange veggies in baking dish, stirring in the chard leaves (and rice, if using).  Pulse your sauce in the blender, (in case the ingredients have started to separate), and pour evenly over the veggies.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and has set (meaning it's not runny in the middle).  Remove from oven and let sit for 5-7 minutes.  Serve hot with rice, quinoa, or bread.

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