Guest Post: The Healthy $1 Menu, Turnip and Squash Gratin


Don’t forget that tomorrow is our regular Pennywise Platter Thursday! The winner of the Chaffin Orchard giveaway will be announced soon too.

Today we have another great guest post as part of the Healthy $1 Menu. Katy says that this substantial side dish could also be a main with the addition of salad and bread. The picture makes this gratin look divine! Thanks for sharing Katy. What a gourmet dish for our $1 menu! Everyone be sure to check out Katy’s blog, Thought for Food.

Cost analysis (all local/organic vegetables and pastured milk/eggs):

    1 medium turnip: $0.50
    half small winter squash: $1.00
    one onion: $0.25
    1 garlic clove: $0.10
    2 eggs: $0.60
    milk: $0.20
    parmesan: $0.75
    herbs: $0.10

TOTAL: $3.50 for 4 small main-dish servings (or 6 side-dish servings)

Winter Squash and Turnip Gratin

    * about 4 cups peeled and chopped (appx. 1″ pieces) winter squash and turnips
    (you could do this with all squash, but I wouldn’t do it with all turnip, since they are so strong)
    * 2 Tbsp olive oil
    * 1/2 onion, chopped
    * 1 clove garlic, minced
    * 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
    * 1 tsp minced fresh sage (or a pinch of dried sage)
    * 2 eggs
    * 1/4 cup milk
    * 1 oz. parmesan, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 425º. Place squash and turnip pieces in an 8×8″ (or smaller — as long as they fit) baking dish, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, toss to coat, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pieces are tender. Remove from the oven (this can be done ahead, and refrigerated until ready to finish).

Meanwhile, heat another Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until tender but not brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the parsley, sage, and cooked squash/turnip mixture (keep your original baking dish handy; no need to wash it), and stir to mix well. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and milk with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Pour the squash/turnip mixture back into your baking dish, and pour the egg mixture on top. Top with grated parmesan, return to the oven, and bake another 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the eggs are set. Serve warm.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Melissa K. says

    Dear Kimi,
    This recipe sounds great! I recently found your blog, and have been enjoying it immensely. I have been trying to incorporate some NT processes into my cooking. I was wondering if you might have suggestions on decreasing the amount of acidity (flavorwise, it tastes sour) remaining after the soaking process, that affects the taste of the foods. This flavor really bothers my 13 year old. I have been using kefir, but I wonder if you can compare this to your experiences of things like whey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
    I could not find any way to e-mail you directly, so I hope this isn’t inconvenient for you!
    I used to live in Portland, OR and miss it lots–especially New Seasons and Trader Joe’s. There is no TJ in Boulder, Co!! 🙁

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Melissa,

      One method you can use is to rinse the grains after the soaking period and cook in fresh water (use less as the grains will have absorbed some water). This helps a LOT with the sourness issue. Otherwise, fresh lemon juice is pretty mild in my experience. 🙂 The bottled has a bit of funny taste to it. I haven’t tried kombucha yet.

  2. says

    Katy, this dish is so beautiful! I’m adding local turnips to my shopping list for today and will make these as a side dish for my husband’s birthday coming up this weekend. Thanks!

    Melissa ~ I like using homemade Kombucha for soaking and find that it leaves no sour taste.

  3. says

    Mmmmm, this looks really lovely. I will have to try this one soon, maybe with all squash. I love simple little dishes like this. So easy to make, but so flavorful and healthful, too!

    Melissa – Sometimes I soak grains in plain water if I think the sour flavor is going to bother my family. I don’t mind the taste really, but my husband and kiddos balk if the wrong food tastes sour. I can usually get away with buttermilk biscuits and pancakes, but I soak my oatmeal and rice plain to avoid complaints (sometimes I soak for a longer time to try and get the benefits without the acid medium). I don’t keep kombucha around (yet), but that might be worth a try, too, like Wardeh suggests above.

    I did a post today at The Nourished Life about soaking grains. It also links to a couple articles I wrote for Natural News about the subject, including a FAQ piece about soaking grains.

  4. Melissa K. says

    Thank you Wardeh and Elizabeth, for your comments. I will try Kombucha..
    I do have one more question. Is the whey from cheesemaking acidic like the whey from yogurt? Is rennet acidic? How about “vegetarian rennet”?
    Any other ideas would be welcome!

  5. says

    We actually do make an all turnip gratin that my husband and children love! Cooking it in the cream and with the onions really tempers the strength of the turnip, but you still taste its flavor. If you want, you can include the turnip greens in the gratin for extra nutrition and flavor.

  6. Jessie says

    Hi Melissa – just to chime in – the whey is the whey from straining yogurt. I use this for soaking & don’t notice any off tastes. But I know each person’s taste buds are different.

  7. Rachel says

    One way to cut the acidity flavor is to add baking soda; that is what’s recomended in my 2 soaked bread recipes. For two loaves, it is 2 tsp. the next morning when you add the rest of the recipe.

  8. Melissa K. says

    Thank you all for your comments and answers. I have been a “lurker” on this blog for quite a while!
    Soaking whole grains and then draining the liquid makes sense and seems easy to do.
    It’s the soaking of FLOUR that causes me difficulty, since I can’t drain that!
    So, some more questions, and an experiment.
    I’m trying crepes again, this time using 1/2 milk and 1/2 kefir. Do you think that is acidic enough?
    Is using (raw) milk plus a T of acidic addition safe to leave out you think?
    When you use kombucha to soak, or whey, do you use that for all the liquid, or do you use water, or a non-dairy like the coconut milk tonic and then add the Tablespoon per cup of liquid of the kombucha or whey, etc.
    Is there a forum you all know of for these kinds of questions?
    Thank you again for this blog-and the others intertwined with you!

  9. says

    Melissa – Add 1 T of Kombucha per cup of whole grain, cracked grain, rolled grain, or flour, and the rest of the liquid is water (or milk in some recipes). This is the same proportion you’d use whether your acid is raw apple cider vinegar, yogurt, kefir, etc. If you’re making over a recipe, reduce the amount of liquid by the amount of acid, so that together they equal the original amount of liquid. Keep out the leavenings and/or salt until the end. It is safe to leave it out with raw milk and the acid, or water and acid for that matter. 🙂

    Katy – got my turnips and squash yesterday! 🙂

  10. Michelle says

    Thanks for suggesting rinsing the grain–I noticed it makes a huge difference in the taste too! I am just wondering if this represents a significant nutritional loss? Was there “good stuff” in the soaking water it might be better to retain?

  11. Julia says

    Just found your site because a friend posted it to Face Book. I am excited to try this recipe and will substitute rice milk and goat cheese, because of a soy/dairy allergy.

  12. Lisa says

    I have some baby turnips that I need to use up and just to be clear, do you mean acorn squash, butternut squash for the winter squash? Thanks.

  13. Bethany Shondark Mandel says

    This was amazing – a definite add to the rotation. I got the squash and turnips in my CSA last week!

  14. says

    I never know what to do with turnips when I get them in my farmshare and am so glad I found this recipe. I made it using half of an acorn squash and it is so delicious!


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