Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Gratin (dairy-free, vegan)
1/2 to 3/4 head of heirloom cauliflower (I like green), sliced into 1/4 inch slices as flat as you can make them (enough for one layer of cauliflower in your gratin pans or ramekins)
1 lb. of heirloom multicolored carrots, peeled and sliced on horizontal into 1/4 in. slices*
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. toasted onion powder or garlic powder
2 tbsp. vegan margarine or olive oil
1 or 2 tbsp. sorghum flour
2 to 3 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Slivered raw almonds and almond meal for topping
4 to 6 gratin pans or medium ramekins (4 inch wide or larger)
Preheat oven to 425F. Lay carrots in a single layer on a dark baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, using fingers or basting brush to distribute the oil evenly over the surface of the cauliflower. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes and prepare the cauliflower, putting the cauliflower slices on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the oven with your other baking sheet), baste with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in the oven. Roast both veggies until crisp tender. You may wish to the veggies over halfway through the roasting time, or when they start to brown or turn color. Check on the veggies every 10-15 minutes and remove from oven when done to your taste. I believe the carrots took around 30 minutes and the cauliflower was more like 15-20 in my oven.
While the veggies are roasting, heat a sauce pan on medium and melt your margarine or heat your olive oil. Throw in your diced onion and saute until translucent. Add you sorghum flour,nutritional yeast and onion or garlic powder and stir it into the butter. Whisk in non-dairy milk, one half cup at a time, letting the mixture thicken slightly before adding more non-dairy milk. When you have two cups of non-dairy milk thickened, evaluate. Do you think this will be enough sauce for your gratin pans? If not, add up to one more cup of non-dairy milk and thicken as before. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare, turn oven down to 375F and get out your gratin pans or ramekins. You have two options. You can either create a carrot “crust” by placing a layer of roasted carrots on the bottom and around the sides, or you can simply create a carrot layer on the bottom. I tried both. The crust was a more attractive presentation, but the layer gave me the proportion of carrot flavor to cauliflower that I preferred. You will use more carrots with a crust and less with a layer. If you have any leftover roasted carrot slices (or cauliflower!), they make a delicious snack and pack well in lunches.
Cover your carrot layer (or crust*) with a layer of your prepared dairy-free white sauce and pop in the oven to cook for 10 minutes or so. You want the flavors to blend and your carrots to cook a bit more.
Remove gratin pans from the oven and add a layer of your roasted cauliflower. Spoon over your final layer of dairy-free white sauce, top with crumbled slivered raw almonds and almond meal if desired and season with paprika and pepper.
Place in oven and bake until top is lightly golden brown, to your preference. Enjoy!