Beet and Fennel Gratin with Mint-Coconut Cream Sauce

Use any combo of beets you like for this obsession-worthy vegan gluten free side dish or main course.

Beet and Fennel Gratin with Mint-Coconut Cream Sauce

If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, grate the beets and fennel instead. You won’t get the same visual effect, but it’ll still taste incredible.
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • Avocado, grapeseed, or virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup shallots, diced or sliced
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews or sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 to 6 hours and rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt or fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 5 small golden beets, ends trimmed
  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds
  • 1 small red beet, ends trimmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet with oil.
  2. In a blender, blend the shallots, coconut milk, soaked cashews, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grindings of pepper until silky smooth. Fold in the chopped mint. Set aside.
  3. Using a mandoline, slice the golden beets into ultrathin round slices (the thickness of a dime) into a bowl. Into another bowl, slice the fennel bulb the same way and add a small handful of fennel fronds. Reserve a few fronds for garnish. Into a third bowl, slice the red beet the same way.
  4. To each bowl, add 1 tablespoon oil, 1 pinch of salt, and a grinding of pepper. Massage the oil into the slices until all are coated with oil and seasoning.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of the coconut milk mixture into the bottom of the prepared skillet and swirl to coat. Fill the skillet with the beet slices in a tight, overlapping spiral pattern with a small handful of fennel strips tucked between each slice. Drizzle on the remaining coconut milk mixture and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper.

  6. Bake until the beets are softened, but not mushy, about 55 minutes. Taste a beet slice; if it’s too firm, cook 10 minutes longer. Let rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with fennel fronds, chopped mint, and a sprinkle of salt and serve warm.

Photography Heather Crosby

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