Creamy Zucchini Gratin

A spin on the traditional gratin, this version nixes the cream, adds the nuttiness of walnuts, and has a hint of olive oil. It takes a few moments to put together, and can easily be doubled to use up extra zucchini.

Creamy Zucchini Gratin 2

Creamy Zucchini Gratin

For the filling:
3 tablespoons medium extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch half-moons
2 tablespoons sorghum flour or other whole grain flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup hot unsweetened nondairy milk (see Note)

For the topping:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sorghum flour or other whole grain flour
2 tablespoons large-flaked nutritional yeast
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons medium extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Have a 9-inch deep dish pie dish ready.

To make the filling, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, cooking until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until softened, about 8 more minutes. Add the remaining oil, mixing well. Stir in the flour, nutmeg, and a few dashes of salt and grinds of pepper. Mix to coat. Slowly pour in the hot nondairy milk while stirring. Let cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish.

To make the topping, put the walnuts, flour, nutritional yeast, and a few dashes of salt and grinds of pepper in a food processor. Process until mixed and the walnuts are coarsely ground. Add the oil. Process for about 30 seconds until the mixture can stick together when squeezed in fingers. Evenly sprinkle the mixture over the zucchini.

Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes, until bubbly and the topping has browned. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving, though it will thicken more as it stands. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: The best option for nondairy milk in this recipe is coconut milk beverage (in the carton), as it is fattier and richer, has produces a creamier (but neutral tasting) result.

Smoky Potato and Zucchini Hash

If you like a bit of a kick, use hot smoked paprika instead of sweet, and serve with a few dashes of a Louisiana-style hot sauce.

Smoky Potato and Zucchini Hash

Smoky Potato and Zucchini Hash

1 pound (454g) russet potato, grated and rinsed
1 pound (454g) zucchini, grated
1 small yellow onion, grated
1/4 cup (60mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons (7mL) smoked paprika
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the grated potato, zucchini, and onion in a large, clean dish towel. Squeeze tightly, removing as much excess liquid as possible. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato mixture, pressing down snuggly. Let cook for about 8 minutes, until the mixture cooks on the bottom and is golden brown.

Transfer the pan into the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and it starts to turn golden on the top. Change the oven setting to the broiler and move the pan to the top rack. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes until the top begins to brown. Cut into slices and serve warm.

Lemon Zucchini Layer Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

A gluten-free and vegan lemon-kissed moist, light zucchini cake, loaded with a rich strawberry buttercream. Summery and fresh, you can do double duty with the recipe and nix the frosting for a simple brunch cake that goes perfect with tea.

Gluten-Free Lemon Zucchini Layer Cake with Strawberry Buttercream2

Lemon Zucchini Layer Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

For the cake:
7/8 cup (210mL) unsweetened nondairy milk (see Notes)
2 tablespoons (30mL) cider vinegar
1 cup (240mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup mild or medium extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60mL) dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons (30mL) ground flaxseeds
2 teaspoons (10mL) vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (300mL) sorghum flour
3/4 cup (180mL) millet flour
6 tablespoons (90mL) tapioca flour
1/4 cup (60mL) arrowroot flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (6mL) baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons (6mL) xanthan gum
1 teaspoon (5mL) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4mL) salt
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 cups tightly packed grated zucchini, squeezed dry

For the buttercream:
1 cup (240mL) chopped strawberries
1 cup (240mL) vegan buttery spread, such as Earth Balance (see Notes)
3 1/2 cups (840mL) icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon (15mL) vanilla extract

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil two 8-inch round baking pans, line them with parchment paper, and lightly oil the parchment paper.

Put the nondairy milk in a bowl or measuring cup. Add the cider vinegar and let stand until the mixture is curdled, about 3 minutes.

Put the sugar, oil, brown sugar, flaxseeds, vanilla extract, and curdled milk mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Turn the mixer or a hand-mixer on medium high speed and beat until well mixed and emulsified.

Put the sorghum flour, millet flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in the lemon zest. Mix well.

Turn the mixer to low speed. Add the flour mixture, about a third at a time, beating after each addition, until well mixed. Turn off the mixer. Stir in the zucchini by hand.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans using a spatula, smoothing evenly. Bake in the centre of the oven for 23 to 27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean. The cakes will be golden brown, begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, and will spring back when lightly touched.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and put them on a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature before frosting.

To make the frosting, put he strawberries in a small saucepan. Cook the strawberries on medium heat until softened, then mash to a puree. Turn heat to low, then continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about 1/3 cup (80mL). Let cool completely.

Put the vegan buttery spread in the stand mixer or large bowl. Using the stand mixer or hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until the buttery spread is fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed. Add 1 cup (240mL) of the icing sugar, 2 tablespoons of the strawberry puree, and the vanilla extract. Beat until well combined. Alternately add the remaining icing sugar and remaining strawberry puree, beating until smooth. Once the mixtures are both added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until creamy and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, adding a little extra icing sugar if needed.

To assemble the cake, carefully transfer one layer to a service dish. Spread a layer of frosting using a metal offset spatula over the top of the layer. Cover with the other layer, pressing down slightly. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Serve immediately let stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving. Store leftovers at room temperature or in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Notes: It’s best here to use a nondairy milk such as coconut milk beverage (in the carton) or almond milk, as they are fattier and richer, producing a more tender cake.

When measuring the flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cups, then level the top with a flat edge for optimal results.