Broccoli and Feta Gratin - FamilyEducation

Broccoli and Feta Gratin

November 07,2011

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and with it being perhaps the biggest of all kitchen-centric holidays, I thought I would spend the next two weeks or so leading up to the big turkey day blogging about recipes and ideas to help you have a tasty and easy Thanksgiving holiday.

Is there any holiday that has more emphasis on the actual meal than Thanksgiving?  I struggle to think of one as universally celebrated in this country than Thanksgiving.  And while most people think of feeling over-stuffed and full after the turkey dinner, I’d like to suggest that there are ways to feel a wee bit less guilty after eating the big meal.

Today I share a side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner that is lightened but no less tasty, than many rich sides.  Traditionally recipes that end in “Au Gratin” are rife with calories and fat.  However, this au gratin recipe uses skim milk and lower-in-fat feta cheese to create a decadent flavor without added calories and fat.  Add to this that the vegetable base is broccoli, instead of potatoes, and you have a much healthier side dish to serve with your turkey.

Broccoli Au Gratin

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 cups of broccoli)
2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cups skim milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup feta
½ cup breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Steam broccoli over the stove top for about 4-5 minutes or until just tender, but not mushy.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once melted, add the flour and stir vigorously.  Slowly add the milk, a couple tablespoons at a time, while you are stirring, to ensure the flour does not clump.  Once all the milk is added, continue to stir and turn the heat up to high.

Bring the milk mixture to a fast simmer, allow to simmer for one minute and then remove from heat. The milk should be thickened, if not, continue to simmer until it has thickened.  Add the salt and pepper and stir again.

Place the broccoli in a two-quart au gratin or glass dish.  

Pour the milk mixture on top, ensuring adequate coverage over all the broccoli.  

Sprinkle the top with feta and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Life is sweet,