Thinly sliced potatoes, kale, and dairy-free cheese sauce come together deliciously in this Vegan Kale and Potatoes Au Gratin. Similar to scalloped potatoes, this potato bake dish is the ultimate side for your holiday meal.
This casserole style recipe is perfect for your Thanksgiving feast, Christmas dinner, or any time you're craving a little comfort food. It's non-dairy with a gluten-free option.
Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin
Growing up, I was never a fan of mashed potatoes. Weird, I know. They were just a little too paste-like for me. (I didn’t like apple sauce or oatmeal either.) I loved roasted potatoes and French fries, though. My favorite potato dish was potatoes au gratin. Cheese covered potatoes? What’s not to love about that?
My mom made potatoes au gratin from a boxed mix. I haven’t seen that it in years, but I know that it does still exist. I’m kind of curious as to how potatoes can come packaged in a box now that I’m older. They can’t be good, can they?
I haven’t lost my taste for potatoes au gratin. I do, however, prefer them to be made with fresh ingredients. And, of course, they need to be dairy-free.
What are Potatoes Au Gratin?
Last year, I shared my scalloped potatoes recipe for Thanksgiving. This recipe is similar, but there are a few differences.
Both scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin are casseroles that contain thinly sliced, or scalloped, potatoes and a creamy sauce, which is why people sometimes think they’re both the same dish.
“Gratin” comes from the French word for grated, so potatoes au gratin are topped with grated breadcrumbs by definition. Usually they’re toasted buttery breadcrumbs, but here, I’ve left out the butter and allowed the oven to do the toasting.
Potatoes au gratin are made with cheese where scalloped potatoes are made with a cream sauce. Since Americans love their cheese so much, cheese is often added to scalloped potatoes, which is another reason that the two dishes can be confused for each other.
Potatoes Au Gratin with Kale
I’ve mixed things up a little with this vegan potatoes au gratin recipe. I’ve added some kale between the potato layers for a little extra boost of nutrition. And of course, I’ve used dairy-free cheese sauce. My Veggie-Packed Vegan Cheese Sauce is made with carrots, cauliflower, onion, making this dish a great way to sneak extra veggies into the meals of picky eaters.
What You Need
- Tuscan kale
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Veggie-Packed Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Nutritional yeast
See recipe card for exact amounts
How to Slice Potatoes
Slicing potatoes by hand can be a little tricky. You can use a mandoline slicer (just watch your fingers!) or the slicing blade of a food processor. I use my food processor, which creates perfect slices in a matter of seconds.
How to make Vegan Potatoes au Gratin
- First, steam or blanch the kale.
- Then, thinly slice the potatoes using a mandoline, food processor or sharp knife.
- Next, layer half of the potato slices in a casserole dish.
- Top those potatoes slices with a layer of kale and half of the cheese sauce.
- Finally layer on the rest of the potatoes and cheese sauce and top with bread crumbs.
- Cover with foil and bake!
Serving Your Potatoes au Grain
Serve your potatoes as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It's great anytime you're craving comfort food, too! It's great alongside lentil loaf or stuffed portobellos with Brussels sprouts, roasted vegetables, or green bean casserole.
If you’re not cooking this dish immediately, the potato slices might turn a not-so-appetizing grey color. Just place the potato slices in a bowl of cold water immediately after slicing to avoid that.
I've used kale here, but you can use spinach, collard greens, or chard, if you prefer.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your breadcrumbs are gluten-free.
In case you're wondering, yes, potatoes are nutritious! Check out my article on the health benefits of potatoes.
Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin with Kale
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Add about 2” inches of water to a large pot, and bring it to a boil. Place a steamer insert into the pot and add the kale. Cover the pot and allow to cook for 5 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and is bright green. Remove the kale from the steamer and set aside until ready to use.
- If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can blanch the kale. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and have a bowl of ice water standing by. Place the kale into the boiling water and allow to cook for about 3 minutes, or until bright green. Use a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the kale to the bowl of ice water. Then place the kale in a colander and squeeze out any excess water.
- While the kale is steaming, cut the potatoes. Use the slicing blade of a food processor or mandoline slicer to cut them into thin slices. They should be about ¼” thick.
- Mix the breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast together in a small bowl.
- Layer half of the potatoes into a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Top with half the kale, and then pour on half of Veggie-Packed Vegan Cheese Sauce.
- Repeat with another layer of potatoes, kale, and cheese sauce.
- Top with the breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle the paprika on top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Serve hot.