Paleo Indian Butternut Squash Gratin

Au gratin potatoes used to be one of my favorite side dishes as a child.  Yes – those boxes of dehydrated potato slices and powdered cheese.  I don’t think I’ve had a potato dish like that in years, but the memory of them coming out of the oven brown and bubbly is as vivid as ever.  When I saw a recipe for a root vegetable gratin with Indian spices in my 500 Chili Recipes cookbook, I could not wait to put my own spin on it!

Believe it or not, this recipe is both gluten and lactose free and super delicious!  No need for cheese here!  The original recipe called for both regular and sweet potato, and a vegetable I’d never heard of before.  I had just finished the last of my sweet potatoes, so decided to use butternut squash instead.

It was a little bit of work to create thin slices of raw squash, but I used a mandolin to help me.  It was the first time I’d used a mandolin, and I’m thankful that I didn’t have to try to recreate dozens of 1/8 of an inch slices by hand!  They sell many varieties of mandolins, ranging from $17-$100.  I bought one on the higher end of the price range (and has different attachments), but if you watch any food network show, they always use the ones on the lower end of the spectrum.  Just be careful that you don’t move too quickly because all mandolins have a sharp blade.

This recipe takes almost two hours to cook, but it is worth it!  While it was cooking, I had the time to create the rest of our Indian-inspired meal of Paleo Ground Turkey and Zucchini Curry.  The beauty of this butternut squash gratin is that is could pair with any dish with Indian or Middle Eastern spices.  You could also use the same technique and spice it to match another type of cuisine!  The possibilities are endless!


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced thinly (about 1/8 inch)
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk (I used SoDelicious Unsweetened)
  • 2/3 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder (I used Madras Curry powder)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • sea salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
  • optional: dried parsley, to garnish


  • 1. Peel squash and cut into thin even slices using a sharp knife, slicing attachment on a food processor or mandolin
  • 2. Set slices of squash aside and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 3. Heat coconut oil in a large nonstick pan on medium/medium-high heat
  • 4. Add shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently
  • 5. Add curry powder, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper flakes and stir until well-incorporated
  • 6. Add coconut milk(s), stir, then gently toss in slices of butternut squash to coat
  • 7. Gently spoon squash mixture into a silicone pie pan or casserole dish so that there are many layers (no need to layer them by hand – it is meant to be messy)
  • 8. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes
  • 9. Remove aluminum foil cover and back for another 35-40 minutes, or until slightly browned on top
  • 10. Let stand for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving
  • 11. Enjoy!