Food, Side Dishes

Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

Nicoletta January 21, 2016

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Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

I’ve been reading lately, more often than not, articles on 2016 being the international year of pulses. That means that we are all called to cook, eat, and share dishes where the main ingredients are the so-called pulses: lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas. I couldn’t be any happier. Most of my years have been the year of pulses, my diet being mostly focused on leguminous and vegetables. I love them, and eat them constantly (even when I don’t share my dishes with you).



In Italy we have quite a few soups/pasta staples that have been my favorite since childhood: Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas, but it’s more of a creamy soup than an actual pasta dish), Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta with Beans, again, more of a soup than a pasta), Riso e Lenticchie (Rice and Lentils) just to mention some. I’ve had them repetedly through all my life. Plus, Minestrone, where you have your pulses with the vegetables and the pasta. Amazing.

The dish I am presenting you today, is based on a recipe found on a cookbook we bought during our wine tour in B.C. last summer, “Spilling the Beans”,  an excellent cookbook full of fantastic recipes using beans and grains from appetizer to dessert, sure to please everybody.

This recipe is a comforting, creamy, cheesy, delicious Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin.

Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

A filling, nourishing, yummy gratin; layers of healthy and colorful vegetables, pulses and cheese: sweet potatoes cut in rounds, canned (or cooked) white beans and sautéed swiss chard. To hold every flavor together a bechamel and a generous sprinkle of your favorite cheese: Gouda, Gruyère, Cheddar, Edam, Asiago, you name it, then baked to a bubbly cheesiness.

Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

You’ll want to dig in this delicious gratin as soon as it comes out of the oven, but I suggest you wait a little so not to burn your tongue and palate, like I did.

You can eat it as a side dish, but I can guarantee you, it is great on its own as the main star of the show. We had a big piece, and a second helping, for dinner. So tasteful!

If pulses are not a regular part of your diet, try to dedicate one day a week to a recipe based on lentils, beans, chickpeas or peas. There are so many good dishes that you can make. Your body will be pleased and your family will be surprised at how tasty they can be.

Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

Song of the day: George Ezra “Blame it on Me”.

Recipe for this Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin, adapted from the cookbook “Spilling the Beans” by Julie Van Rosendaal and her long-time friend Sue Duncan.


Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Edam cheese (or Gruyère, Cheddar, or Gouda)
  • olive oil (or canola oil) for cooking


  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in the pan over medium-high heat and cook the onion for a few minutes. Add the chard, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until the chard wilts and there is no moisture left in the pan. Transfer to a bowl, set aside.
  2. Add the butter and flour to the pan and whisk together to make a roux. Whisk in the milk, then add the garlic and bring to a simmer. Boil for 2 minutes, whisking. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a baking dish with oil. Spread half of the sweet potatoes in the baking dish. Top with half the beans, a sprinkle of nutmeg, half of the greens mixture, half the cheese, and half the sauce.
  4. Layer with the rest of the potatoes, beans, greens and sauce, and top with the rest of the cheese.
  5. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 45 minutes, then take the foil off and bake for another 15 minutes, until Golden and bubbly.
  6. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.


It is a nice side dish, but it is pretty fabulous on its own, too.


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
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Ricetta in italiano:

Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

Gratin di bieta, cannellini e patate dolci

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1/2 cipolla, tritata finemente
  • 1 mazzo di bieta, pulita, lavata, lessata
  • 1 noce di burro
  • 1 cucchiaio di farina
  • 1 tazza di latte
  • 1 spicchio d’aglio tritato
  • sale e pepe
  • 1 pizzico di noce moscata
  • 1/2 patata dolce americana (grande, o 1 piccola) lavata, sbucciata e tagliata a rondelle sottili
  • 1 lattina di fagioli cannellini (o 1 tazza di fagioli secchi ammollati e lessati)
  • bieta, lessata e ripassata in padella
  • 1/2 tazza di formaggio Asiago, Groviera, o Fontina, grattugiato
  • olio e.v.o. per cucinare


  1. Soffriggete la cipolla in padella con un cucchiaio d’olio, a fuoco medio, per alcuni minuti. Aggiungete la bieta lessata e strizzata, aggiustate di sale e pepe e cuocete per qualche minuto. Mettetela in una ciotola e tenetela da parte.
  2. Aggiungete il burro e la farina nella stessa padella dove avete cotto la bieta e mescolate, aggiungendo il latte poco a poco e l’aglio tritato, fino ad ottenere una besciamella.
  3. Fate sobbollire per un paio di minuti, sempre mescolando. Aggiustate di sale e pepe e togliete dal fuoco.
  4. Pre riscaldate il forno a 200° C. Ungete d’olio una pirofila da forno.
  5. Fate un primo strato di patate dolci a rondelle. Metteteci sopra uno strato di cannellini (metà porzione), un pizzico di noce moscata, metà porzione di bieta, metà di formaggio grattugiato e metà della besciamella.
  6. Proseguite con un altro strato di patate dolci, fagioli, bieta, besciamella, e finite mettendo il resto del formaggio grattugiato.
  7. Coprite con carta d’alluminio e cuocete per circa 45 minuti, poi togliete la carta e cuocete per ulteriori 15 minuti, o finché risulti dorato e il formaggio sia fuso.
  8. Lasciate riposare per circa 15 minuti prima di servire.


Può essere servito come contorno, ma è anche un ottimo piatto unico.


  • Serving Size: 4 abbondanti porzioni
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Chard, White Bean & Sweet Potato Gratin

Here are some more ideas on how to incorporate pulses in your favorite food.

From the same cookbook “Spilling the beans” Loreto made these gorgeous, healthy: Whole wheat White bean Pancakes

whole wheat white bean pancakes

I hid the pulses in this: Black bean Cake with Strawberry Compote

black bean cake with strawberry coulis

We enjoyed a super flavorful: Curried Lentil Cashew Burger

Curried lentil burger

And loved a nutritious and delicious: Whole wheat Cous Cous with Roasted Vegetables, Feta and Chickpeas

whole wheat cous cous

Enjoy your pulses!

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  • Avatar
    Reply Dana January 22, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Oh my gosh Nicoletta, I am so making this soon. It looks divine and hearty and hella delicious!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks so much Dana, it really is super delicious and hearty. You’re going to love it.

  • Avatar
    Reply carole January 22, 2016 at 11:57 am

    ive never thought of putting beans in a gratin, what a great idea!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you Carole, try it, you won’t be disappointed. Of all the flavors of the layers in this gratin, the white beans are my absolute favorite.

  • Avatar
    Reply Pina at One Two Culinary Stew January 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    You had me at “bechamel”. Going to make this!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 23, 2016 at 12:10 am

      Thanks Pina 🙂 . The bechamel blends perfectly all the flavors.

  • Avatar
    Reply Meaghan January 22, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    I would never have thought about adding beans into a gratin. Sweet potato gratin is one of my favorite dishes and I can not wait to try this recipe!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 23, 2016 at 12:12 am

      I had never had a sweet potato gratin before 😉 , but I can assure you that the white beans in this gratin are phenomenal!

  • Avatar
    Reply Angela Chu January 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    You had me at Pasta e Ceci ? This gratin looks delicious as well and I’m happy to say that I have all the ingredients needed to make it! Woohoo! Oh and by the way, I made your ricotta cocoa cakes yesterday and they were THE BOMB. I didn’thave raspberries so I served it with banana, but my oh my, my mom and I LOVED them 😀

  • Nicoletta
    Reply Nicoletta January 23, 2016 at 12:15 am

    We’re going to have Pasta e Ceci at my parents for lunch today 🙂 . I love it! Thanks for giving us a feedback on a recipe. I can imagine how they tasted: chocolate and bananas…yum!!

  • Avatar
    Reply BDDD January 31, 2016 at 6:32 am

    What size baking dish do you recommend?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta January 31, 2016 at 11:07 am

      We used a Corningware oval 9 x 12.

      • Avatar
        Reply Deni February 7, 2016 at 5:57 pm

        Yes, round corningware dish worked well and this was a wonderful, different vegetarian dish for my family. A little time consuming so not on a weeknight but delicious option for the weekend. Thank you for sharing!!!

        • Nicoletta
          Reply Nicoletta February 7, 2016 at 11:43 pm

          I am so glad to receive some feedback on a recipe! Thank you so much! Yes, you’re right it’s a little time consuming with all those ingredients, but the final texture and flavor is unbeatable.

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