Our creamy vegan au gratin potatoes is a classic side dish that’s made with whole foods. It’s the ultimate vegan comfort food that’s perfect for a cozy weekday meal or for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s a great accompaniment to our vegan meatloaf!
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What to Expect
We’re all about helping you cook delicious meals, so here’s a quick outline of the questions we’ll answer about this recipe, so you can feel confident that it will turn out great.
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin Potatoes?
- Should the Potatoes be Peeled?
- Can I Prep it Ahead of Time?
- Tips for Making the Best Potatoes Au Gratin.
- How to Make it.
- How to Serve it.
- More Vegan Potato Recipes You’ll Love.
Now that you know what to expect to learn about this recipe, let’s do this!
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Potatoes Au Gratin?
This delicious potato casserole is all about a creamy cheese sauce. Without that component, you’ve got scalloped potatoes.
Au gratin means sprinkled with cheese and/or breadcrumbs and browned until it's crispy on top.
Scalloped means having a circular edge, so anything that is layered with circles will have a scalloped edge. Make sense?
So basically, you could call these scalloped potatoes au gratin, but that would take too long. 😉
Should the Potatoes be Peeled?
That’s up to you. Potato skins have a lot of nutrients, so if you want to leave them on, go for it.
The key to making these is to slice them super thin. We use a mandolin or the slicing blade in our food processor.
If you don’t have those things, sharpen your knife and take your time to get thin and even slices, so they cook evenly.
Thick slices and thin slices will result in unevenly cooked potatoes.
Can I Prep it Ahead of Time?
You can slice the potatoes a few hours ahead of time, just make sure that you put them in a bowl of cold water, which will prevent browning.
We recommend making the cream sauce just before baking, because cashew cream is at it’s best when it’s fresh.
Tips for Making the Best Potatoes Au Gratin
- Make sure that the cashews are soft. You can soak them in water for 8 or more hours or boil them for 20 minutes.
- Don’t skip cooking the onion. Sautéing it will bring out its sweet flavor and remove the sharpness.
- Scrape the sides of the blender when you make the cashew cream to ensure that there aren’t any solids in the sauce.
- Make sure that the potatoes are evenly sliced. If they’re not, they won’t cook evenly.
How to Make It
If you didn’t soak the cashews for at least eight hours, boil them in water for twenty minutes to soften them.
Using a mandoline or the slicing blade on your food processor, evenly slice the potatoes.
You can use a chef's knife, just be sure that the slices are sliced evenly, so they cook evenly.
Sauté the chopped Vidalia onion in olive oil or water until it softens, then put it in the blender with the cashews, spices, and acids and blend until smooth and creamy.
You don’t want to see any solids, so scrape the sides a few times between blending.
Now it’s time to make the roux.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan and when it’s hot, add the flour and whisk continuously until it forms a thick paste and lightly browns.
Whisk in the cashew cream and continue whisking until it thickens, approximately 3 minutes.
Pour a thin layer of the cream sauce evenly into the bottom of a deep 8-inch square or round baking dish.
Put a layer of potatoes over the sauce.
Evenly spread a layer of sauce over the potatoes and continue layering to the top of the pan or the potatoes are gone.
Pour the remaining cream sauce over the top and cover with a lid or foil and bake for one hour.
Remove the cover and bake for approximately twenty more minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and a crust has formed.
Let the potatoes sit for 5 minutes and garnish with minced fresh thyme.
How to Store It
You can store the potatoes covered in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator and cover and reheat in a 350˚F (176˚C) oven.
How to Serve
This is a great side dish for a simple everyday meal or a fancy holiday dinner, and it's always best when served hot.
We love our vegan potatoes au gratin with seitan chicken, ribs, ham, or our lentil loaf.
More Vegan Potato Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love
Vegan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Vegan Twice Baked Ranch Potatoes
Make our creamy vegan au gratin potatoes recipe and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.
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Creamy Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk we prefer to use Ripple pea milk, although soy, almond, cashew, or oat milk will work fine. Do NOT use coconut milk. It will ruin the flavor.
- 1 cup cashews soaked for up to 8 hours or boiled for 20 minutes to soften.
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 small Vidalia onion chopped
- 6 medium russet potatoes thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- Set oven to 350˚F (176˚C)
- Boil cashews on high for 20 min and drain and rinse. Put them in the blender.
- Slice potatoes on a mandolin as thinly as possible and cover with cold water in a large bowl to prevent browning.
- Sauté Vidalia onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil for approximately 7 minutes, or until softened.
- Remove the onions from the pan and put in the blender.
- Add the 2 cups of plant-based milk, 1 teaspoon paprika, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste to the blender and blend on the highest speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides once or twice while blending to ensure that there are not solids left.
- Place the 3 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add the 3 tablespoon of flour and continuously whisk until it forms a thick paste and lightly browns.
- Pour the cashew milk mixture into the pan and whisk until the roux thickens into a smooth and creamy sauce, approximately 3 minutes.
- Evenly pour a thin layer of the cashew cream into the bottom of a deep 8 x 8 inch baking dish
- Form the gratin by layering sliced potatoes and the cashew cream. For example, place a layer of potatoes over the sauce, then add a layer of sauce, add another layer of potatoes, and so on until you run out of potatoes. Pour the remaining cashew cream over the top and cover the dish with foil and bake for an hour.
- Uncover the dish and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until it has developed a crust on top and is a light golden brown.
- Garnish with the minced thyme.
- You can prep the potatoes ahead of time. Make sure to keep them in cold water so they don’t brown.
- We suggest making the cashew cream just before baking for best results.
- Store covered in the refrigerator or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat in the oven.
Sharine Borslien says
I made this recipe for a pre-Thanksgiving meal that I cooked for non-vegans! The wife is a chef, and she and her husband own a cool restaurant in town where my husband and I play music every week. Anyway, the Creamy Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin were the chef's favorite dish of the whole meal, so thank YOU, ladies, for this recipe!
I used vegan butter instead of olive oil and tapioca flour (2 Tbsp) instead of white flour, leaving out the smoked paprika for my first batch (I will add it in next time, perhaps with some Cajun spice blend, but not for Thanksgiving!).
Also, the "turkey" I cooked was TJ's turkey-less holiday roast, which you mentioned in another post as being your favorite of the packaged vegan options that you taste-tested. My husband and I agree, it is delicious!
Linda Meyer says
Hi Sharine! WOW, we are so excited to read your comment!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write us, it totally made our day. We love the tip about the tapioca flour, we're definitely going to try that to make it gluten-free.
Yes, that holiday roast is amazing. So happy you and your husband enjoyed it. 🙂
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Sharine Borslien says
Hi Linda. Happy to read your reply. I think you'll find that tapioca flour is an excellent choice, although I have to disclose that I didn't make a roux with it. I just sprinkled it onto the cooked cashew milk mixture and whisked it in! Easy, and no chance of ruining the roux, haha (not that experienced chefs like you would do that). The tapioca flour did NOT make clumps like other flours do, which is why a roux is de rigueur with those. You have a wonderful Thanksgiving, too.
P.S. I'm printing your Easy Vegan Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe now and plan to make it for an upcoming, post-T-Day party treat!
Linda Meyer says
Excellent, thank you so much, Sharine. We can't wait to try making it with tapioca flour. 🙂
Christine @ Run Plant Based says
Wow, this looks so comforting and rich. Can't wait to try it, thanks!
Linda Meyer says
Thank you! We can't wait to hear what you think!