All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016
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I get Farm Fresh To You deliveries every other week. You are allowed to customize the deliveries but, sometimes, I forget and the result is that I end up with an infinity of leafy greens. This week: two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard & kale. And fennel. And more. But thatsalotta greens! Plus, I already had fennel from the last delivery & about 5 pounds of spinach. So – I decided to make something that would use as many of the greens as possible – this dish. The greens you use can vary but you need a lot of whatever you select because they reduce dramatically.
I used real Parmesan in this (because I had it) but vegan Parm – or even another vegan cheese (like mozzarella or cheddar) would work. I used almond milk but I think a thicker milk might have been better.
NOTE – Also – you might want to add some cheese to the veggie mix. I didn’t because I was trying to keep this dish on the light side.
Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)
5 TBS vegan butter
2 small bulbs fennel – chopped
1 onion (I used 1 brown & 1/2 red onion) – diced
4 or more garlic cloves (I used 4 cloves & 2 stalks of green garlic) – chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard – ribs removed & chopped
1 bunch kale – ribs removed & chopped
2-4 cups spinach
2 TBS fresh thyme
3 TBS flour
1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – optional – for adding to the veggies – see NOTE above
1 1/2 cup vegan milk (I used almond milk but a thicker milk might be better – or half & half, if you are not vegan)
2 14 oz cans white beans – drained & rinsed
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – or other cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) for topping
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt TWO of the five TBS of butter in a large stock pot. Add the fennel and onion & saute until soft. Add thyme & combine. Add the garlic & stir for a minute. Add the greens – in stages – adding more as each bit wilts.
Add the flour & milk & bring to a boil. Reduce to low & simmer as it thickens a bit. Add the beans & season with S&P. If you are adding cheese to the veggies – do that now & stir to combine.
Meanwhile – melt the remaining 3 TBS butter & toss with the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of cheese.
Treat a 9 x 13 casserole pan with cooking spray or oil & put the veggie mix in. Top with the breadcrumb mix. Bake for about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs turn golden.
Let rest 10 minutes & serve.