I love potato gratin. My mother in law makes it every Christmas and I always eat an embarrassing amount even though, by Christmas evening, all I’ve been doing for the last three days is eat ginormous meals. A couple of months ago, my super awesome friend Betsy made the herbed potato gratin recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, Veganomicon, for our dinner club. It was awesome. I ate an embarrassing amount. And then, last week, one of my favorite bloggers posted a recipe for potato gratin with leeks on her super amazing vegan blog Vegtastic! I took it as a sign from the food gods that it was time for me to try to make my own gratin.
For this recipe, I combined Helen’s Potato and Leek Gratin and Betsy’s Veganomicon recipe and ended up with a very flavorful, tender, buttery-tasting dish that uses nutritional yeast and vegetable broth instead of vegan mozzarella. Why no “cheese”? Because it costs $6 a bag. I buy nutritional yeast in bulk and can fill up a 10-oz jar for under $3. I also used scallions instead of leeks because they’re cheaper and easier to clean. However, the ones that were resting on top during baking got a bit tough, so I would arrange them under potato slices to keep them tender while they’re in the oven.
Remember how I described this dish as “buttery-tasting”? It is. If you aren’t into eating a lot of fat, though, I would suggest using less olive oil in the potatoes, and olive or canola oil to grease your pan rather than Smart Balance or Earth Balance margarine. (Mark told me he’d prefer that I use less butter next time. I, however, loved feeling like I was eating butter gratin with potatoes. It’s up to you.) I used thin-skinned yellow potatoes that came in my Full Circle delivery box because I love the creamy, resilient texture they have when baked, and I used the thin slicing attachment with my mandoline. (Not essential, but super helpful and easy and FUN.)
I served the potatoes with broiled broccoli, my absolute fave way to cook it–just toss it in some olive oil and broil till it starts to brown. Then turn and broil some more, and add salt and pepper to taste before serving. Takes about 10 minutes. I also made fresh bread from my dough bucket (AMAZING), and barbecue glazed tempeh (did NOT turn out right… going to stick with crumbling tempeh from now on). Totally filling and satisfying, with leftovers for lunch today. I can’t wait.
If you wanted, you could probably make this ahead of time, cover, refrigerate and then bake before serving. My only concerns with that are that 1) the potatoes would absorb the liquid and get mushy and 2) the potatoes might get brown. I don’t know. Let me know how it goes if you try it, or have ever tried it.
And, in case you were wondering, this was after working all day and walking my dog and doing the dishes. And I made a giant bowl of that sweet potato & quinoa salad I’ve been bragging about to take to my parents’ house for dinner tonight. All in all, I was actively cooking in the kitchen for about an hour and a half, but look at all the things I made! Totally worth it. If you want awesome food, you can do it, too. I promise.
Time commitment: 10 minutes hands on, an hour in the oven
Makes: 4 servings
- About 1 1/2 pounds thin-skinned yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced THIN
- One bunch green onions (aka scallions), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup water or broth
- 1/2 teaspoon bouillon paste (I used the No Chicken flavor) — OMIT if using broth instead of water
- a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper
- margarine or oil for greasing pan
- Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 8″x8″ glass baking dish. Prepare potatoes and onions. Add to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- In a measuring cup, combine olive oil, nutritional yeast, water/broth, bouillon paste (if using water) and pepper. Stir till smooth then add to potatoes. Stir till each piece of potato and onion is covered with the broth mixture. Dump into pan and arrange so only potatoes are on top (onions will get tough if they’re not surrounded by potatoes).
- Bake for about an hour, uncovered, until bubbly, golden and tender. Cool for a few minutes before serving so it has a chance to set a bit.