Vegan Sweet Potato Gratin

I was making this gratin on a lark.  I wanted something a little more healthy than a cream laden gratin, so I chose cashew milk and vegan cheese.  I’m not vegan and I love cheese, so I was happy to discover that I do really like Diaya cheeses.  They taste great and melt well.  Next time, I think I’ll make my own cashew milk so I can control the thickness of the milk and not have to resort to using a thickener as I did this time with cornstarch.

2 medium sweet potatoes
about 2 cups cashew milk (you could use coconut milk or almond milk)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons organic cornstarch diluted in 1/4 cup cashew milk
1 cup Daiya cheddar style shreds
Nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350.

Grease a pie plate, large casserole dish or individual ramekins with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Set aside.

Peel and thinly slice the sweet potatoes. I used a mandolin to get uniformly thick slices, and you can get an inexpensive V slicer just about anywhere. It really makes a difference. Otherwise, just use your trusty chef’s knife.

Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a 12 inch saute pan. Add garlic and cook briefly.

Place potato slices into the sauté pan and add the cashew milk, along with a pinch of cayenne, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add milk until the potatoes are just covered. Stir gently to incorporate the salt and peppers. Bring to a simmer and add cornstarch slurry mixing in gently. Bring back to simmer- sauce will start to thicken. Simmer about 5 minutes until potatoes begin to get tender. Cool slightly. Taste the cashew milk and adjust for seasoning.

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Begin layering the potatoes in your baking dish. After each layer or two of potatoes, add a pinch of nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Continue until potatoes are all layered in the dish, however, leaving the last bit of cheese until milk is added. Pour the cashew milk over the potatoes until they are just barely covered. Add remaining cheese to the top of the gratin.

Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the top is browned and bubbling.

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