Hearty and flavorful, this Brussels sprouts gratin is made with a special dairy-free onion 'cream' sauce!
I'm hoping so much that today's pictures showcase the deliciousness of this recipe.
I've been working on this for weeks now, trying to perfect it in both ingredients and technique. Since we've moved, however, I haven't been able to find my 'sweet spot' in the new house for picture-taking.
This week, though, I was able to carve out a little niche in the garage, of all places.
Back to the sprouts, I wanted to create something using my Onion Cream Sauce in lieu of the heavy cream typically added to gratins.
Flavor-wise, it turned out to be a great pairing with Brussels sprouts. The onion, garlic, and thyme all play a part in helping this really come together.
In one of my first attempts, I didn't pre-cook the sprouts, which yielded a crunchy bite that I didn't hate, but knew others would (including my 'I-have-to-have-my-vegetables-soggy' hubsy).
Because I didn't want to lose out on the nutrients of the Brussels, I chose to steam them first, which produced MUCH better results!
I also like to chop them up, cole slaw-style, as the kids eat them better that way. You can leave them halved though, if you prefer.
After steaming, a good mix with my Onion Cream Sauce, a handful of cheese, and a sprinkle of homemade breadcrumbs (technique for that is listed below the recipe), I feel I've created my best version of this Thanksgiving staple. It's one I know our family will return to again and again!
Healthy Brussels Sprouts Gratin
FOR THE ONION 'CREAM' SAUCE:
- ½ cup water
- 1 large (or 2 small) yellow onion(s) about 15 ounces in weight, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch dried thyme
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
FOR THE GRATIN:
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts ends trimmed
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (see Notes for how I make my own breadcrumbs)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- Begin by heating the water for the 'cream' sauce in a 8-9 inch pan.
- Add in the onion, garlic, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf.
- Bring the mix to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low.
- Cover the pan with a fitted lid, and let the onions cook for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice in the interim.
- While the sauce is cooking, halve your Brussels sprouts and steam them in an appropriate pan for 10-11 minutes, until fork tender. Alternatively, you could boil them, but I feel they lose more nutrients that way.
- Once the sprouts are steamed, deposit them onto a cutting board, and (when cool enough) chop them into bite-size pieces.
- Oil or butter an 8 x 8 inch baking dish, and spread the sprouts across the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, at this time.
- Once the onion mixture has cooked for 20 minutes, remove the bay leaf, and add it to a high speed blender along with the olive oil.
- Blend until smooth, adding salt to taste. Add in a splash of water if needed for blending.
- Pour the 'cream' sauce atop the Brussels sprouts, giving it a little mix with a spoon.
- Top the mix with the cheese, mixing it in a bit as well, if you like.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the two tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of salt.
- Spread the breadcrumbs atop the cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.
'Cream sauce' adapted from my previous post
To make your own breadcrumbs at home, put the bread of your choice (I usually use Ezekiel bread) into an oven (no pan underneath) set at 400 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping once at about 5-6 minutes, until bread is crisp and has dried out.
Cool a bit, then pulse it in a food processor for 5-10 seconds until it resembles coarse sand. Use as directed.
Making the onion 'cream' sauce, pre-blend...
Chopping the steamed sprouts...
Greased baking dish ready to go!
Layer in the sprouts...
Bake until bubbly!