Veganish Gratin Dauphinois
We’ve all enjoyed a luscious dish of sliced potatoes with cream and cheese that is the French equivalent of Mac+Cheese in terms of high-calorie comfort food. The classic recipe takes a lot of time, effort, and skinned knuckles as we slice the potatoes very, very thinly, layer them with warmed cream and gruyere, and leave them in the oven for an hour. This version is faster, easier, and has fewer calories, but is still luscious and way more virtuous.
Prep time is 20 minutes; baking time is 30 minutes, for a total of one hour before you can eat. It is vegan apart from the optional cheese on top; this quantity serves 6-8 depending on what other dishes are served.
4 large cold baked potatoes – I always make extra when I have the oven on.
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 15 minutes in hot water or overnight in cold water
1 Tbsp tomato puree
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp umami seasoning
1 tsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp sea salt, black pepper, and mace or nutmeg if desired
2-3 oz cheese – Gruyere or Jarlsberg, or meltable vegan cheese (available at whole food shops)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a fairly deep pan or ovenproof dish – 9” x 9” works well.
2. Remove the skins and slice the cold baked potatoes as thinly as practicable.
3. Puree the soaked cashews in their water, together with the tomato puree, mustard, soy sauce, umami, and nutritional yeast to taste. It should taste like béchamel. Season to taste with mace or nutmeg, sea salt, and/or black pepper. If the sauce seems too thick, add plant milk and reprocess until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream. The potatoes will soak up some of the liquid.
4. Pour about a quarter of the sauce into the ovenproof dish. Place a layer of overlapping potato slices edge to edge over the sauce. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and mace.
5. Repeat with layers of sauce and sliced potatoes until you have three layers each of sauce and potatoes, then top with a final layer of sauce. Sprinkle with cheese or vegan cheese.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and let rest for ten minutes before serving in squares.
This recipe can be frozen, or will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also assemble it a day beforehand and bake when needed.
Variation: You can make a similar dish with warmed vegan broth, caramelized onions and sliced potatoes, sprinkling crushed nuts and/or nutritional yeast over the top.
As usual, here is a printable .pdf file…