This gorgeous Turnip and Beet Gratin is made with gruyere cheese and fresh thyme! Serve it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even Valentine’s Day.
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Welcome to November in the Veg World! Today is just the beginning of some delicious (and pretty!) recipes I have in store for you for the holiday season. I’m also planning some posts for slow cooker recipes and super easy weeknight meals, because we all know how crazy it gets during this time of year!
But let’s focus on Thanksgiving first, shall we?
I can hardly believe it, but turkey day is less than three weeks way! It’s early this year…the earliest it can be. Will and I are celebrating with my family back in Philly, and we’ll be visiting the City of Brotherly Love for an entire week.
And true to form, I’m already brainstorming what I should contribute for Thanksgiving dinner. I think it might have to be this Turnip and Beet Gratin with Gruyere, plus my Healthier Green Bean Casserole with Almonds!
Why I Love this Colorful Root Vegetable Gratin
I had such a fun time experimenting with this dish. I’ve never made a gratin for the blog before, but the assortment of colorful beets available at the Kingfield Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago piqued my interest in developing one. There were also some beautiful turnips at the market, and I really don’t give as much attention to turnips as I should!
So I snagged both root veggies, picked up some shallots, thyme, and gruyere at the co-op and got to work. I knew that red and golden beets would look gorgeous in a layered gratin, and that they would complement the other ingredients.
And boy was I happy about how this turnip and beet gratin turned out! The final product is a melt in your mouth side dish that’s savory, decadent, and bursting with rich flavor.
Pssst. Love beets and turnips? Take a peak at the Roasted Beet and Cabbage Slaw, Turnip Noodles with Eggs and Chives, and Roasted Turnips and Pears with Rosemary Honey Butter while you’re here!
Expert Tips for Making Turnip and Beet Gratin
When I was preparing this dish, I didn’t even attempt to slice the veggies with a knife.
Nope, I went right to the mandoline, and if you have this kitchen instrument I suggest you do the same. Although it can be done, using a knife to slice the veggies would probably take three times as long.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind when making a gratin:
- Small beets and turnips work especially well for this dish, because you can pack more slices into each layer. You can use larger ones too, if that’s all you can get. I used Hakurei (Japanese) turnips for this dish, which tend to be smaller than purple top turnips. If you can’t find those, just use one purple top turnip instead. For more info on Hakurei turnips, check out my Roasted Japanese Turnips Recipe.
- Try to get a variety of beets, such as red, chioggia (with candy cane stripes, like you can see in the photos below), and golden beets to make this dish extremely visually appealing.
- Don’t have turnips? You can sub rutabaga.
- If you are making this turnip and beet gratin to bring to a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner, prepare it before you leave and then put it in the oven at your host’s house. Or you can bake the gratin at home, keep it wrapped in foil, and reheat.
- To reheat the entire gratin, cover with foil, and put in a preheated oven (350-400 degrees F) for ~10-15 minutes. Leftovers/single servings can be reheated in the microwave.
How to Layer a Gratin
To layer the gratin, start by placing the thinly sliced turnips in an even layer on the bottom of the skillet. Add another layer on top using beets, then a layer of turnips, and so on and so forth.
The key is to make the edges of each consecutive layer slightly further away from the edges of the skillet than the layer before it, as shown above. It should look like you are going from big to small circles of veggies, from the outer rim to the center.
If you don’t want to bother with all that, you can just layer the turnips and beets on top of each other until you fill the skillet, like you would for a classic scalloped potatoes dish.
That’s the most difficult part of the recipe, and it’s really not that hard at all! After you finish prepping the veggies, you can whip up the gratin sauce, pour it over the beets and turnips and let the oven do the rest of the work.
Want some other recipes to serve alongside turnip and beet gratin? Give these a try:
- Vegan Mushroom and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf
- Gluten Free Sweet Potato Casserole
- Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce with Parsnips
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear how you like it! Please rate it using the stars on the recipe card, and let me know any other thoughts in the comments section.
Turnip and Beet Gratin with Gruyere
- 12-inch cast iron skillet
- 2 pounds beets - red and golden mix preferred; get small/baby beets if you can
- 2 turnips - get small white turnips (Hakurei/Japanese) if you can find them
- 1 shallot - diced
- 6 tbsp olive oil - divided
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme - more to taste
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese - freshly grated
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet.
- Prepare the beets and turnips by trimming and scrubbing them (you can also peel them if you'd like). Use a mandoline to make thin slices. Layer the vegetables in the cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof skillet) by starting with a layer of turnips, followed by a layer of beets, and so on.
- In another large skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the other 4 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter until melted. Add the chopped thyme and vegetable stock. This is your gratin sauce.
- Pour the sauce over your layered vegetables. Wrap foil over the skillet and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, take off the foil, and sprinkle the shredded gruyere cheese over the vegetables. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and slightly brown.
- Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. Serve warm and enjoy!
- You can use larger beets for this recipe if you can't find baby ones.
- When layering the gratin, try to make each consecutive layer further away from the edge of the skillet than the one before it. This will make for a really pretty dish, but you can also just make flat layers, as you would with a scalloped potato dish.
- If you are making this in advance, you can reheat the entire gratin in its skillet, covered with foil, for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 to 400 degrees F. But it does taste best fresh out of the oven.
- If you don't have a mandoline, you can try using a sharp knife, but it will take longer.