Happy National Sweet Potato month! Yep, February marks a whole month in celebration of one of the world’s most nutrient-dense, and in my opinion, tastiest veggies. Nature’s orange candy is brimming with nutrients, like vitamins A & C, and potassium. It also ranks low on the glycemic index, unlike regular potatoes, helping to prevent those energy levels of yours from taking a roller coaster ride. (Unsure about what that means? Click here to learn more.)
All of this certainly merits a celebration (any time of the year), so of course I was happy to hop in the kitchen this month and shine a light on these sweet thangs. Fortunately, I still have some sweets leftover from my family’s late summer harvest. I decided to put a couple to use in a sweet potato gratin, combining them with flavorful, silky leeks and some buttery butter beans. The result: A healthy, hearty meal just in time for one of my newest favorite national holidays.
Layered Leek, Bean, and Sweet Potato Gratin
For the leeks:
- -1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced, discarding extra dark green ends (about 6 cups)
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
-1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
-Salt and fresh ground pepper, pinch
For the beans:
- -1 15 oz. can butter beans, rinsed and drained
–1 large onion, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
-1 bell pepper, finely diced
-Scant 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
-1 tsp. salt
- -2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
For the bread crumbs:
- -3 pieces of whole grain bread, toasted
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -Pinch of salt and pepper
- -Scant 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
-2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add garlic, leeks, and Italian seasoning and saute until leeks are tender, 8-10 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Add vegetable stock and simmer until nearly all of the stock is evaporated, but leaving the leek mixture moist.
In a large bowl, toss beans, onions, peppers, cayenne, salt, and olive oil.
Coat 2 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Layer bottom of dish with sweet potato slices. Spread leek mixture on top. Spoon beans on top to create an additional layer. Top with remaining sweet potato slices, slightly overlapping if needed.
Cover, and bake for 45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor. Toss crumbs with oil and pinch of salt and pepper.
Remove from oven and spread bread crumbs on top. Bake until bread crumbs are brown and crispy, about 10 minutes.