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For quite a while now I’ve been trying to think about the perfect Thanksgiving dinner side dish.  Of course, turkey is the star of the show, but the deliciousness of turkey always delivers.  Unfortunately, however, all side dishes are not created equal.  There are the usual standbys, like stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and the ever-present holiday green bean casserole.  But year after year, I get a little tired of the same old side dishes.  Then I remembered a potato gratin that Rachael Ray had made on one of her special Thanksgiving shows…she called it Autumn Potato Gratin and it sounded perfect. 


I changed up Rachael’s recipe a little.  She used a mix of baby potatoes; I just had regular on hand so that’s what I went with.  Rachael used half a stick of butter and 2+ cups of cream in her recipe; I know this is a holiday dinner, but I thought this sounded like a LOT (don’t forget that there will be many other side dishes, plus dessert!) so instead I used olive oil and thickened up some milk with a little flour.  Lastly, for the pretty color and mostly because I had it on hand, I added fresh pumpkin to the mix.

If you want more holiday ideas, be sure to check out!  Allrecipes is featuring a Thanksgiving Budget Menu for 8 for less than $50!  Their menu includes Roast Turkey, Bread and Celery Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Pumpkin Pie.  (Pretty fabulous, right?!)  On Wednesday, Nov. 25 from 8 AM to 4 PM PST, Allrecipes will host a live webcast where they demonstrate how to cook the recipes in their budget menu, answer your live cooking questions, and give Thanksgiving cooking and entertaining tips.  (You can read more about this here.)


To Make This Dish Ahead and Reheat:  The casserole can be made up to three days ahead.  After making it, allow it to cool completely, then store it (covered) in the fridge.  On the day you want to use it, let it sit at room temperature for two  hours, then bake (covered with aluminum foil) at 325F for about 30 minutes or until it starts to bubble (if it gets a little dry you can add a splash more milk).


Substitutes for the Fresh Pumpkin:  If you don’t want to use fresh pumpkin, you can use sweet potato instead to get the same gorgeous color…just thinly slice the sweet potato along with the other potatoes.


How to Peel a Pumpkin:  I peel pumpkin the same way I peel cantaloupe.  Just trim off the top and bottom then run your knife from top to bottom, cutting the rind off in strips.  Once the rind is off you can cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.

Autumn Potato-Pumpkin Gratin (Adopted from Rachael Ray’s recipe for Autumn Potato Gratin)


(Yield:  About 8 servings)


3 ½ c chopped fresh pumpkin

3 medium potatoes, washed and thinly sliced but not peeled (about 4 c sliced)

2 TB olive oil

1 small white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 TB all-purpose flour

2 ¼ c low-fat milk

1 TB minced fresh thyme

3 TB minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

½ c fresh grated Parmesan

Butter, to grease the casserole dish

Cooking spray


2 ½ quart casserole dish with high sides


For the pumpkin:  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Roast the pumpkin with a little salt and pepper on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray for about 15-20 minutes (stirring once), until the pumpkin is just starting to get tender and light golden brown.  Toss together the roasted pumpkin and raw sliced potatoes.


For the milk:  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and sauté 5 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and sauté another minute.  Sprinkle in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk.  Bring the milk up to gentle boil, turn off the heat, and add the parsley and thyme.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


For the gratin:  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly butter the casserole dish, then pour in the pumpkin and potatoes.  Pour the milk mixture over top until the liquid comes to just under the top of the pumpkin/potatoes (note:  you might need to add a splash more milk to make sure that the liquid level is just under the top of the pumpkin/potatoes).  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 60 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Turn the oven up to 425, remove the foil, and bake until the top starts to brown (about 15 mintues).  Then preheat the broiler, sprinkle the cheese on top and broil the casserole for another couple minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to brown in places.  Allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.







Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. This looks like a super use for pumpkin! Thanks for sharing it; I’m printing it out immediately. I just made a pumpkin and tomato gratin dish and it was also lovely, and pretty healthy, too.

  2. Rachel Ray’s recipes are always loaded with butter and cream, it was definitely a good idea to lighten it up! I was going to make sweet potato puree as a side dish to the turkey, but this looks awesome too…

  3. This looks fantastic. I’ve never cooked pumpkin in such a dish. We generally make its sweet versions. But I love the idea of parmesan with other flavors in this recipe. Sounds like a good change for me.

  4. That gratin looks really appetizing! The kind of dish I never get tired of eating!



  5. y dnt you invite us to have some of ye thnx giving yummy dishes! ;) hhehe this sound delicious!! love the idea faith!!

  6. I love pumpkins!!! Pumpkin Potato Gratin looks fabulous!

  7. Whoo, that looks fabulous…very pleasing to my ye, guess your guests will be lot more happy:) Perfect choice:)

  8. This is beautiful! I love the combo of pumpkin and potato – I bet it’s delicious together. I also like your adaption – you made it much lighter.

  9. I am always trying to come up with different side dishes! My family is so traditional that there are some dishes I HAVE to make, but I always try to throw one or two new ones in there. I can only hope to start a new tradition!
    This gratin looks wonderful. Think I would nibble away on this for lunch the next day. (If it didn’t get polished off for dinner)

  10. I really love this gratin. I also love the changes you made to make it healthier. Nice!

    I’ll be sure to check out the webcast! Thanks for letting us know about it!

    Have a great weekend! :D

  11. This dish sounds fantasic and I really like how you slimmed it down from the original. My arteries cringed when I read how much butter and cream Rach used!!

  12. i believe this dish is definitely a contender for the ultimate thanksgiving side–it has everything! taters and pumpkin and cheese, oh my! nicely done. :)

  13. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says:

    This is so delicious, would be just a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!

  14. Heavenly Housewife says:

    I love any kind of gratin. These seasonal flavours are great. I havent eaten yet, so now I am SUPER hungry! Have a great weekend daaaaahling! *kisses* HH

  15. WHOAA!! That looks so, so, so, SO good! I actually have some potatoes, and I was thinking about making a gratin too, but yours just trumps anything I could have come up with!

  16. Oh this sounds just lovely. And the perfect color for the Holiday table. RR has some really good recipes.

  17. What a perfect Thanksgiving side dish! I love that you added pumpkin and cut down the fat content a bit. I’m never sure how to do that because I’m always scared I will ruin the recipe. I love that you just go for it:) It always works out too!

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