Roasted Mushroom, Cauliflower & Rainbow Chard Gratin
Fall is the smell of roasting vegetables. At least in my kitchen. And this roasted mushroom and cauliflower gratin mixed with sauteed onions and Rainbow Chard really puts me in that happy place where I can picture myself with a big bowl of hearty roasted veggies and crunchy, cheesy topping curled up in a chair next to a fire and reading a book. Okay that might not actually happen. More likely I’ll be eating big spoonfuls out of the pan as I dash off to my kid’s soccer game or basketball practice. But still….a girl can dream.
Starting with roasting the mushrooms and cauliflower brings out the nuttiness of the cauliflower and the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. You really want to get that golden brown, caramelized color on the cauliflower and the mushrooms. The Rainbow Chard (Swiss Chard) is a green leafy veggie so you don’t want to roast it. It is pretty hearty and has a milder flavor than spinach and adds a nice fresh element to this dish. I removed the leaves from the stems and chopped them up and sauteed them until just wilted in a bit of olive and butter with onion and garlic. You don’t want to overcook the Chard or it will be soggy in texture. Then the mixture gets added to the roasted cauliflower and mushrooms right in the pan and then topped with some heavy cream, a bit of cheese, and a crunchy almond and fresh thyme breadcrumb mixture. The veggies are all cooked through so baking is just for a few minutes to bring together the flavors and let the cream soak in and the topping get crunchy.
And best of all, if you are looking for a good make-ahead dish whether for Thanksgiving as a side dish or just a busy weeknight dinner this one is perfect. Everything can be done and assembled ahead of time, up to overnight) and then the final baking can be done right before serving. It happens to be vegetarian also which is nice if you have any vegetarian friends or family members popping over for the holidays. It’s sometimes hard to find a good, hearty dish for them to enjoy where they won’t miss the meat:)
Here’s the step by step on how to pull together this delicious roasted mushroom, cauliflower, and rainbow chard gratin:
Preheat the oven to 400 and grab a rimmed baking sheet. Start by cleaning the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove the stems. Slice into equal pieces about 1/4 inch thick and place on the baking sheet.
Then slice the core from the cauliflower head and slice the florets into pieces about the size of the mushrooms. See picture below.
Arrange the mushrooms and cauliflower in a single layer on the baking sheet. Then drizzle with 3 Tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with 8 -10 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes and then turn. Continue to roast for another 10 and then remove the mushrooms.
Place the cauliflower back in for another 5-10 minutes or until caramelized. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.
Set aside and move on to the greens. Reduce oven to 350 if baking gratin to serve right away.
Remove the Swish Chard leaves from the stems and chop.
In a large sauce pan heat 1 Tablespoon of the unsalted butter with the last Tablespoon of olive oil. When melted…
Add in the onion, garlic, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook until softened – 3-5 minutes.
Then add the chopped Chard to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon. It will begin to wilt and cook down. Don’t over cook. You just want to soften it and then remove it from the heat.
Now it’s time to butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and start layering in all this goodness. Just spread it out evenly with your hands.
Add the wilted chard and onion mixture and spread evenly.
Time to add the heavy cream….
Then the cheese…..
Time to make the crumbly topping. Start with slivered blanched almonds and them to a food processor and pulse until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Add to a bowl with the Panko breadcrumbs and add in the leaves of 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Add that final layer of yummy, crunchy almonds and breadcrumbs and thyme on top of the veggie gratin. Drizzle with olive oil so that the breadcrumbs get nice and brown and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes then place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to get the top golden brown. Serve warm.
- 8 oz Crimini mushrooms
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard or Rainbow Chard
- 12 -14 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onions, diced (approx 2 cups)
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (plus drizzle for top of gratin)
- 1/2 cup shredded 3-cheese blend (Romano, Asiago, Parmesan) or just Parmesan
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup slivered blanched almonds
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 400. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove stems and dice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Remove cauliflower from the stalk and slice florets to match the size of the mushrooms. Drizzle with 3 Tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme. Bake for 15 minutes, turn veggies, then another 10. Remove mushrooms after 25 minutes and bake cauliflower for 10 more minutes, if needed. Remove from oven and discard thyme stems. Reduce oven to 350.
- Remove Swiss Chard from the stems and chop. In a large sauce pan heat 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil and then add in the onions, garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add in the chopped chard and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat.
- Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with the last tablespoon of unsalted butter and layer in the mushrooms and cauliflower and then the swish chard and onion mixture. Pour on the cream, then sprinkle with cheese.
- Make the almond breadcrumb thyme topping by pulsing the slivered almonds in a food processor and adding to a bowl with the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and then add in the leaves of 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Top the gratin with the almond breadcrumb thyme mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes and the put under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes to brown. Serve warm.