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Drew Barrymore’s Squash Gratin with Cashew Cream

by Drew Barrymore from Rebel Homemaker: Food, Family, Life

This creamy squash gratin from Drew Barrymore is made with cashews and almond milk, and makes for a comforting vegan main.

Introduction

I love the idea of a gratin anything—cheesy, gooey, warm—that is so my happy place. And when I get that craving, but I am trying to take a break from all the cheese and cream and milk, we make this recipe. Cashew cream is a great base substitute for a lot of creamy recipes, and we use it often at the house (think béchamel or cream sauces, and dressings like vegan ranch or Caesar).

There are a lot of sweet notes in the recipe from the squash, the almond milk, and the onions, so I really like to amp up the freshly ground black pepper. With the yummy sage and a dash of nutmeg, this dish screams fall.

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Ingredients

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped sage
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup Cashew Cream Dressing
2 tbsp (packed) fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 medium delicata squash (2 pounds), halved, seeded, and cut crosswise into ½ -inch half-moons
For the Cashew Cream Dressing:
2 cups raw cashews (about ½ pound)
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp white miso paste
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need: a broiler-safe 9-inch cake pan or casserole dish.

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make the Cashew Cream Dressing. Soak your cashews. Place the cashews in a small bowl and add just enough water to cover. Let sit, at least 1 hour at room temperature or up to 2 days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Drain the cashews and rinse. Combine the cashews, warm water, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and miso paste in a blender. (An immersion blender also works!) Blend until the mixture is very smooth and creamy with no grainy bits remaining, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cashew cream can keep, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.

Make the cream sauce. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions, garlic, and sage and season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring, until the onions are softened and begin to turn golden brown, about 6 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the almond milk, Cashew Cream Dressing, thyme, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth and season to taste with more pepper.

Assemble the gratin. Lightly grease a broiler-safe 9-inch cake pan or casserole dish with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Working from the outside of the pan in, place one layer of squash in the pan, shingling the pieces in a circular fashion. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and a generous pinch of pepper. Pour a third of the cream sauce over the squash, spreading with a small spatula to make sure that all the pieces are covered. Repeat, alternating layers of squash and cream sauce, finishing with the cream sauce on top (3 layers total of each).

Bake. Transfer the prepared gratin to the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the squash is tender and golden on the edges and the cream sauce is set.

For an extra crisp. Turn the broiler on high and broil, watching carefully to avoid burning. Broil until the top of the gratin is browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

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