Would you like to treat yourself to vegan dauphinoise potatoes that are low-fat and dairy-free but still full of flavor and creaminess? Et voilà – here you’ll find what you’re looking for. In this post, I’ll tell you how to make the best vegan dauphinoise potatoes without cream, made with a hidden veggie sauce instead. In this delicious creation, we use cauliflower and cashews to create a tasty and very creamy sauce. This healthy combination of potato cauliflower casserole and scalloped potatoes is perfect if you are looking for a vegan recipe with potatoes that is quite quick and easy to prepare, but is still special.
Best Dauphinoise Potatoes
No matter what you want to call this dish, whether potatoes au gratin (which would fit its origin, as it’s a classic French dish – if you make it by using cream, no cheese and only rub the form with garlic instead of putting it into the sauce itself), potato casserole, scalloped potatoes, or vegan dauphinoise potatoes – it is simply heavenly, and this one for me (and hopefully for you too) the best one of its kind.
This vegan or vegetarian recipe is somehow classic and yet something completely different because it does not use any dairy products such as milk or cream, even not in its vegan version. It also contains no eggs, but more vegetables.
Despite these changes, it doesn’t lose any of its creaminess or taste. A vegan potato gratin with vegetables that is low in fat (or lower in fat than with cream), healthy, and at the same time creamy, rich, tasty – yes, that is possible – and easy to make yourself.
Side Dish or Main Course?
These dairy-free dauphinoise potatoes can be served as a side dish or as a main course – both are fine! How much potato gratin you should calculate per person: The amount of one kilogram (35 oz or 2.2 lb) of potatoes specified in the recipe is enough for around four main dishes or for around six side dishes.
If you’re wondering what vegetable goes well with dauphinoise potatoes, I recommend a simple salad, like a green salad or coleslaw, or steamed or roasted vegetables like these Brussels sprouts from Elavegan.com.
Or my favorite quick version, which is made with peas (I believe they go so well with potatoes): simply put frozen peas in a pot with a piece of vegan butter and a little salt. Defrost them by heating them for a moment. Serve your green and crunchy peas over your creamy dauphinoise potatoes – nom! And if you like add some smoked tofu: simply cut it into small cubes and fry it in a little bit of oil
What is a must Ingredient for Dauphinoise Potatoes?
That’s right – potatoes, of course, you definitely can’t avoid them. At best, use (mainly) waxy types of potatoes for dauphinoise, because floury ones would lose their shape and you would end up with mashed potatoes.
To peel or not to peel: I do peel them. But if you want to prepare this dish even healthier and in a time-saving manner, then use organic potatoes, because you can use them unpeeled and ultimately have an even more nutritious potato gratin with the peel on.
I’ve tried this a few times, and it’s good, but you notice the skin (but it’s not that bothersome) – the dish isn’t quite as delicate anymore. But it’s possible – if you also asked yourself this question.
Speaking of potatoes: If you are also a potato junkie, then try my other vegan recipes with potatoes, like these Potato-leek soup with beluga lentils, delicious Bohemian potato pancakes, fluffy potato dumplings, or this tasty Viennese potato salad.
Without Cream but Creamy
The star besides the potatoes is definitely the sauce (instead of the cream). The main players in this dairy-free and lactose-free sauce are cashews and cauliflower. Together with water, they create a wonderfully creamy sauce.
For the taste, you will need oil or a tablespoon of unsalted vegan butter to sauté the onions and garlic. Also, nutritional yeast *) for a slightly cheesy taste, broth (at best my homemade vegetable stock powder), freshly grated nutmeg, pepper, and a little turmeric for the beautiful color (and another health benefit). You can also add some fresh thyme leaves if you like. Rosemary, and parsley, would also be options, or fresh chives after baking.
What inspired me to make this kind of sauce were vegan Alfredo pasta sauce recipes that I saw on Instagram for a while. Plus, I like to eat potatoes and cauliflower bake – it was obvious that this sauce must be a great fit.
Yes, making a sauce is a little more complicated than simply opening a package of cream and peeling some garlic. Nevertheless, these are quick and easy dauphinoise potatoes, that can also be prepared during the week because the sauce is certainly not science.
- Basically, all you have to do is peel the onion and garlic and, since everything is ultimately mixed anyway, there is no need to chop them finely. The cauliflower can also be cut up roughly and unpretty.
- While you are sautéing the onion and garlic in a little oil and simmering them in a pot with cauliflower, cashews, water, salt, and/or soup powder, you can peel the potatoes, cut them into thin slices, and put them in the oiled baking dish. No, we do not boil the potatoes before making dauphinoise as they kind of cook directly in the flavorful sauce.
- Then you just blend *) the cooked veggies and cashews into a sauce, together with nutritional yeast, turmeric, black pepper, and nutmeg, and then pour the creamy mixture over the layered thinly sliced potatoes. If you like and don’t care if it’s low-fat or not, top everything with grated vegan cheese. But in order to achieve a crust, it is not necessary.
- Last but not least, everything goes into the oven. Since the potatoes are still raw, your dauphinoise potatoes need a correspondingly long time to cook, at an oven temperature that is not too high. I have had good experiences with approx. 150 degrees (300 F) circulating air or 170 degrees (340 F) top/bottom heat and a baking time of 50 minutes plus 220 degrees (430 F) grill function for 10 minutes (if your oven has it, else just turn up the temperature). But: Even 200 degrees (390 F) and 30 minutes also produced good results on more stressful days.
How to prepare them ahead, and can you reheat them?
Have you wondered whether and how long in advance you can prepare your vegan dauphinoise potatoes without cream? Yes, you can make them ahead, the day before. You approach the whole thing by baking only 2/3 done, so the potatoes shouldn’t be completely cooked yet.
After everything has cooled down, and you have kept it covered in the fridge, you can easily bake it the next day. At best, you don’t add any cheese until the next day. And: either put the cold baking dish in the oven and only then turn it on. Or leave it outside for a bit. A cold baking dish probably won’t crack in a hot oven, but better safe than sorry.
If you have also wondered if you can keep dauphinoise potatoes in the fridge and if you can reheat them: Yes and yes. What I can say about its shelf life in the fridge is that I’m quite picky and would eat it after two days at the latest. But since it’s a vegan potato gratin without cream and other animal “products”, it doesn’t need to be looked at so meticulously, because salmonella has less of a chance here.
Theoretically, you can still eat it after three to four days, as boiled potatoes from the refrigerator can be eaten safely for that long. And if you want to keep them longer, simply put them in your freezer. Yes, you can even freeze and reheat your dauphinoise potatoes.
- 1.5 tbsp vegan butter (or taste-neutral oil such as rapeseed oil. ½ tbsp of it is for oiling the baking dish)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 500 grams cauliflower (equivalent to approx. 1/2 cauliflower or 18 oz or 2.5 cups of cauliflower florets)
- 3 tbsp cashews
- 1 tsp (homemade) vegetable stock powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 700 ml (23.7 oz or a tiny bit less than 3 cups) water
- Approx. 1 kg (35 oz or 2.2 lb) of (mainly) waxy organic potatoes
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast *)
- 1/3 tsp ground turmeric
- Black pepper
- Approx. 5 tbsp (60 grams or 2 oz) grated vegan cheese
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (or 300 F) fan circulation (or 170 degrees = 340 F top and bottom heat).
- Peel onion and garlic. Cut the onion into coarse pieces; the garlic can be left whole (if necessary, cut off the ends).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegan butter (or oil) in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent. Meanwhile, divide the cauliflower into florets and cut the stalk into pieces.
- Add cauliflower, cashews, vegetable stock powder, salt, and water. With lid closed, let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, oil the casserole dish, peel the potatoes, cut them into thin slices (or let them cut *)), and place them in the casserole dish.
- Put the cooked vegetables including cashews and the remaining liquid into the blender *). Also add nutritional yeast, turmeric, black pepper, and 1-2 good pinches of freshly grated nutmeg. Blend for a minute or two until the sauce is creamy.
- Pour the sauce evenly over the potatoes, and, if you like, sprinkle the grated vegan cheese and thyme leaves on top.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, on the level below the middle.
- Finally, gratinate for 10 minutes at 220 degrees (430 F) with the grill function on (if available, otherwise just increase the temperature) until the surface is brown in places.
- Yes, the sauce tastes or is too salty. This is intentional because the potatoes absorb the sauce. Ultimately, everything balances out wonderfully again.