During the summer months, I like to keep things as light, fresh and heat-free as possible. As the temperatures rise, my oven gets a bit of a rest and salads, wraps and lettuce cups become a daily affair; but if there’s one dish that will have me happily cranking up the oven even in the hottest of months, it’s a gratin.
There’s such a lovely simplicity about gratins, especially when made with the best produce the season has to offer. Hearty but not overly heavy and irresistibly golden on top, a gratin is summer comfort food at its finest.
Tender and mild tasting yellow squash and zucchini are in abundance at the moment since they reach their peak this time of year, so they make the perfect candidates for a summer gratin. And while most gratins rely on generous amounts of milk and/or cheese, this summer squash and zucchini gratin is entirely dairy-free while still remaining delightfully rich thanks to a creamy and vegan garlic and herb filled sauce.
Thinly sliced yellow squash and zucchini (slender squash is the best here since the larger ones have more seeds) are tossed with the creamy sauce then layered into a baking dish. A crumbly topping flecked with fresh herbs like, basil, parsley and chives is then piled on top to create a golden crust and the whole thing is popped in the oven to bubble and bake.
The tiles of summer squash soften and melt into each other in the heat of the oven, while the topping turns crisp, golden and brown. Easy and effortless, it’s the kind of dish that deserves a place on your table this summer, whether that’s entertaining with friends or just an everyday weeknight dinner.
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