Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

For what seemed like such a looooong week – this weekend sure flew by!

There was lots of pancakes. The best pancakes of my life.


There was lots of finishing up on schoolwork.

There was lots of Bruins watching.


There was lots of sweet potatoes.


There was lots of following recipes…


…as well as creating recipes.


There was lots of rain. Too much rain.

I’m sick of rain. And wind. I just want snow. And blizzards. I want to be snowed in. I want to step outside and be up to my waist in fluffy, pillowy snow. I want to hear the stillness of a town covered in snow. To look down my road and see nothing but pine trees covered in white, and the road revealing that only the plow truck and sander braved go out.

I don’t want rain. Or wind. Last time we had rain and wind, we had no power for three days, anyway. And I got cold.

Okay, anyways. I’ve cried my river (and it suddenly makes sense why it’s raining) and now I’m building my bridge.

How do I build my bridge?



By baking. Naturally.

I think the only part of working all week last week that I hated (besides not riding Teddie – that’s a given) was not being prepared or getting to spend time in the kitchen.




Unfortunately, it’s still too early to get some real Christmas baking done – but it’s never too early to just bake for fun, at least. I chose Vegan with a Vengeance’s Orange Glazed Scones, while my mom baked some of her classic anisette cookies.


…and got an arm workout while she was at it. And reminded me of a night with a certain alcoholic substance that tastes of anise. I never realized it until today but that is probably what anise will forever remind me of. Shudder.


Before anyone asks, no, I will not post this recipe. I don’t post recipes from cookbooks when I haven’t changed anything, or have only changed a fraction of the ingredients, or have only made a simple swap. I don’t consider  a recipe to be “adapted” when I’ve simply switched the flour or added some nuts. I used Earth Balance in place of the oil, sure – that’s pretty far from me adapting the recipe, however. Regardless of how I feel about “adaptations” of recipes, however – these scones are delicious enough that they could convince you to buy the book Winking smile


At one point, my mom tempted me with her food coloring and I attempted to turn my glaze orange. The color frightened me, but hey – it’s a special occasion and I was playing – but I had to start over when the glaze was way thinner than it should have been. I started over sans icing. That fascination was short-lived.


I did, however, make what I consider adaptations of a couple recipes while in the kitchen today! I wanted to prepare stuff for the week so if I am working every day again, I won’t be so frantic and at a loss as to what to have for lunches and dinners. One recipe was for burgers that I’ll share sometime soon (tomorrow?) and another for an Italian Sweet Potato Gratin.




This is an adaptation of Moosewood’s Italian Sweet Potato Gratin. I realize I’ve done dinners like this before…but this one is good. I don’t think casseroles ever get old!


The only bad thing about this gratin?


It used up the last of my Bove’s pasta sauce Sad smileWell worth it, I suppose – you’ll want to use a good tomato sauce for this recipe! I suppose that’s silly to say, though; I can’t really imagine when you would want to use a bad tomato sauce?

Anyways. Here you go.

Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 T. basil oil (or olive oil) divided
  • 1/2 t. italian seasoning
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1T. water
  • 3-4 large kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. roasted red pepper hummus (or garlic)
  • 1 t. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 T. water
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. good tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400*.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 T. of the oil, italian seasoning, vinegar, and 1 T. water. Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix together the hummus, nutritional yeast, mustard, and 2-3 T. water. Set aside.

In a casserole dish, spread the remaining 1 T. of oil and then uniformly layer half the sweet potatoes followed by half the onion. Sprinkle with salt and then pour half of the oil mixture over top. Spread half the hummus mixture over top, and then half of the tomato sauce. Layer on the kale, followed by the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and repeat the layering process, finishing everything: sweet potato, onion, oil, hummus and pasta sauce. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over top.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove cover and bake another ten. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.



Oh, yes. This was pretty simple to prepare, even though there was a bit of hands on and hands-off time. The perfect warm meal to make on a weekend and enjoy on a week-day Smile

In other news, I was finally able to replenish my peanut butter that I’ve been going through like crazy:


I may or may not have made that in my mom’s bathroom. I didn’t think whirring a food processor for five minutes straight was going to go over very well.

I still get all excited when peanut butter reaches that peanut butter state. It’s like this clumpy ball one second, and then the next…peanut butter. It’s magic. I don’t know if I can ever buy it again.


To jazz it up a little this time, I combined:

  • 1/2 c. honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • drizzle maple syrup
  • pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove
  • crystallized ginger pieces

And of course I replenished my banana stash so I can resume having bananas dressed up in peanut butter for snack Winking smile

So! That is all for now…but! stay tuned for:

  • lemon-poppyseed blueberry cornmeal-oatbran pancakes
  • broccoli and cashew white bean burgers
  • more fun things that I don’t even know about yet. I hope.

What’s your favorite peanut butter add-in?

What was one fun thing you did this weekend?


Filed under breakfast, dinner, lunch, recipe, sweet potato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

18 responses to “Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

  1. I am so looking forward to the lemon-poppyseed blueberry cornmeal-oatbran pancakes 😛 Those sound like a mouthful.. both literally and otherwise!

    Call me crazy, but I just don’t see how sweet potatoes would pair well with tomato sauce. I guess I am just a girl who prefers her potatoes prepared sweet rather than savoury. I do appreciate the comfort of a good casserole though!

    One fun thing I did this weekend? Made homemade pizza for the first time ever!

  2. Everyday of my 15th year I would eat an apple with chocolate peanut butter for dessert.

    The most fun I had this weekend was last night. My fiancé and I watched Zombieland and drank margaritas. I was apprehensive about seeing it since the trailers for it made it seem completely lame. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Anything with a little bit of Bill Murray is gold in my book.

  3. The peanut butter looks divine! I think it’s too funny that you make peanut butter in your mom’s bathroom! But I totally think it makes sense. I only make nut butter when no one else is home, my family would kill me with the loud crushing of nuts in the Vitamix for 5+ minutes straight!

  4. I like vanilla and cinnamon in my almond butter so I’d probably stick to those for my peanut butter, maybe a little bit of maple syrup. But crystallized ginger? That’s worth a try!

    One fun thing I did this weekend was stay alive. You want snow? We have 16 inches of it along with 25-35mph winds, come and take some, I’m fully willing to share. ^_^

    I find it coincidental that you made / adapted that burger recipe – it was one of the burgers I really wanted to make while reading through the book. Your gratin and scones look fabulous too! Do you use that strainer to sift flours and other dry ingredients? I was wondering how I could sift things without a sifter… 😮

  5. I totally agree with the satisfaction of making your own nut butter! And I had this pasta dish with sweet potatoes and tomato sauce yesterday and I totally loved the combination, I’m sure your gratin was delicious!!

  6. Great recipe for the sweet potatoes – can’t wait to see the burger and pancake recipes!!!! Yes it rained way too much this weekend!!!!!
    One fun thing i did this weekend – i bought a real Christmas tree!!!! I love the smell of real trees!!!!
    Thanks for sharing your yummy eats!!! xo aimee

  7. There’s so many things I love about this post, including the gratin and nut butter! HOly cow!

  8. Baking is a cure all. I’m convinced.
    Well… it’s probably not the best for my waistline- but hey, it’s been a weekend of crazy… very well deserved!
    I like to add honey into my pb. The sweet/savory combo gets me everytime…

  9. i really really really wanta make my own nut butter…but i litterally don’t have any “power tools” to do that! 😦 i’m hoping for a vitammix…hoping. or at least something of the sort. everything looks delcious. if i did make my own pnut butter..i’d add in: vanilla and maybe some spices. i wish is was snowing here!!!!

  10. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Very nice mix in the PB there. Honey is always a good add-in for me. I also like a little crunch from some flaxseeds, have you ever tried that?

  11. I love adding honey to my peanut butter…and flaxseed too! I’m adding ground flaxseed to just about everything these days. Those scones look scrumptious (Ryan was just asking if we could make scones soon…so I may need to track down that cookbook). As for fun this weekend? We went to see Black Swan last night, which was amazing (and disturbing). Thank you for sharing with me, love. I hope you have a great Monday!

  12. movesnmunchies

    GORGEOUS gorgeous photos!!! i had a huge pancake hit this weekend too! gah so jealous you could make pb!! i dont have a food processor.. !

  13. You had a busy weekend! I am glad you finally got some time in the kitchen! We watched quite a few Christmas movies this weekend with the boys so it was quite a fun weekend. I have never done the ginger thing in my peanut butter, but I think I need to try that next time! Have a great week Jessica!

  14. If you want snow you should come here! I think you would have been in heaven during our snow storm last week!

    My thinking is along the same lines as Tatianna’s – I’ve never paired sweet potato with tomato sauce! I always go the sweet route with cinnamon. But I trust your tastebuds, so it must be good! 😉 Now that it’s winter I’ve totally been craving hearty casseroles.

    Fun? What’s that? That word barely registers with me anymore. 😛 I spent my weekend studying for an exam, writing it, and then starting to study for my next exam. Wednesday can’t get here fast enough!!

  15. Both recipes look amazing!
    I can’t wait to go to Dad’s house and use my Grandma’s food processor 😀

  16. jen

    I love the quiet of a snow storm, the silence that follows after a storm. We got about 8″ of fresh powder yesterday and as I broke free this morning, I was just in awe of how pretty everything looks 🙂


  17. Oh my word. You have totally convinced me that homemade peanut butter NEEDS to be my next adventure with the food processor. I love that you added ginger to the mix. That sounds amazing!

  18. Ashlei

    You make your own peanut butter? That’s awesome! Have you tried any other nut butters?

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