Family get-togethers are so much fun when there’s warm delicious food on the table. I have not known anyone who does not like potato au gratin. But dairy free potato au gratin, in some people’s mind can be a hard thing to comprehend. This dish is veganised from the typical cheesy au gratin I used to cook many years ago. But the taste is as good if not better than the dairy version. The rosemary and oregano exaggerate the warmth of this dish. I have used desiree potatoes but any waxy sort of variety yields a good dish. Herbs are paramount to this dish so use fresh if possible. Cracked pepper, again was freshly cracked. I have experimented and know for sure that any compromise on the herbs will impact the dish significantly. Dairy substitutes include dairy free milk, cashew cream and oil. Dairy free potato au gratin is a healthy alternative to the conventional French recipe minus the fat content.
The béchamel sauce is made prior to peeling and slicing the potatoes to prevent potatoes from oxidising and changing their colour to brown. Some people soak the sliced potatoes in cold water to prevent oxidation but that washes away the nutrients from potatoes. I don’t like consuming empty calories
- I kg potatoes – Desiree or any waxy veriety
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup cashews
- 2½ tbsp flour
- 1½ cup soy milk (or other dairy free milk)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp finely minced garlic (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 tsp of cracked pepper
- A pinch of good quality saffron threads
- ½ tsp hot English mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel the potatoes,
- Crush cashews into a fine powder
- In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic paste until fragrant. Stir in half of black pepper and English mustard. Use wire whisk for making a smooth creamy béchamel sauce.
- Add flour and stir until very lightly brown.
- Remove from heat and add non-dairy milk, salt, saffron and cashew powder. Keep stirring until the flour and cashews dissolves into the milk.
- Place saucepan back on stove and stir cook until the sauce thickens into a runny cream consistency. Be sure not to thicken sauce too much it will thicken further in the oven.
- Cover saucepan with lid and put aside.
- Peel and slice the potatoes thin with mandolin and arrange in a medium-large baking dish. For pro cooks, simple slicing is good.
- Pour béchamel sauce over the sliced potatoes and sprinkle remaining cracked pepper, oregano and crushed rosemary.
- Cover the dish with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked.
- Remove foil and cook for further 10 minutes or until the top later is golden brown.
- Serve hot as a side dish.
Tip: Substitute 1 tbsp potato or corn starch for flour for gluten free modification.
This dairy free potato au gratin is so invitingly delicious that my son who refrains from eating carbs gets seduced by this dish.
Any leftovers are great for lunch boxes and envy for others around. Almond milk is also a great substitute if soy is not your preference but buy unsweetened variety whatever your selection.
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