Practical, healthful eating and living.

Sweet Potato Gratin November 8, 2009

Sweet Potato GratinSweet potatoes are one of my favorite power foods.  When I lived in Japan, street vendors would sell hot baked sweet potatoes and they’d keep your hands warm as you walked and nibbled.

But sometimes you want to dress up your favorite foods.  When I saw this recipe with lime, coconut, black beans and spinach, I knew I had to try it.

It was delicious.  Warm and creamy.  Comforting and filling.  I will definitely make this again.


from “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.”

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lime peel

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups coconut milk (Most people get low-fat coconut milk but I use regular.  I consider this one of the essential fats, not the bad kind.  If you have extra, store it in the freezer.)

4 cups peeled and thinly sliced sweet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup cooked rice (I like brown rice, but either brown or white is okay.)

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (15 ounce can, drained)

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed  and chopped.  Frozen spinach works well, too.  Be sure to thaw it and drain it, even wring out the extra water, before measuring.


3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tabelspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan

Combine the garlic, lime peel and juice, cilantro, thyme, salt, pepper, and coconut milk in a measuring cup.  Pour one third of this mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Layer half of the sweet potatoes in the bottom, topped by half of the rice, half of the black beans, and half the spinach.  Pour on anohter third of the coconut milk mixture and repeat the layers of sweet potatoes, rice, beans and spinach.  Pour the remaining coconut milk mixture over all.

In a small bowl combine all of the toppping ingredients and sprinkle over the gratin.

Bake, uncovered, for about 60 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven after 30 minutes to ensure uniform baking.  When the potatoes are tender and the topping is crisp and golden brown, remove from the oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes until the potatoes absorb any remaining liquid.

This recipe reheats beautifully.  Make a big batch and keep it on hand for the rest of the week!