Sunchoke & Sweet Potato Gratin

May 25, 2023
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

Welcome to Plus One, a column by Food Editor Emily Ziemski where those small-but-mighty additions that instantly upgrade whatever’s on the table—ingredients, sauces, toppings—are the star of the show. Today, taking the classic gratin to new, dairy-free heights.

I love potato gratin. There are few things more satisfying than arranging near-transparent slices of potato in an overlapping design, then covering all your hard work with creamy cheese sauce and breadcrumbs and baking until golden perfection. A gratin is a true work of devotion in which you transform those paper-thin potato slices into a browned, bubbling casserole that’s deeply rich and satisfying to behold…and I can’t eat any of it. Lactose-fueled jealousy in full-force, I decided that I wanted to make a gratin for the folks who, like myself, can’t deal with dairy.

When developing this recipe, it felt important to capture the truly rich depth of flavor that comes from aged cheeses and silky cream. Without just swapping in dairy-free “replicas” of both, I wanted to challenge myself to actually build that flavor using some different techniques and ingredients. To start, I swapped classic golden potatoes for sweet potatoes and sunchokes—the latter providing a mild, nutty flavor. Both sunchokes and sweet potatoes hold up nicely to roasting, so I didn’t have any fear of them becoming soggy or falling apart.

For an extra-savory boost, each layer is brushed with stock concentrate (like Better Than Bouillon) that’s been *just barely* thinned. This imbues the vegetables with extra moisture, and also a touch of salt. From there, all I needed was a simple homemade cashew cream and a 1:1 parmesan cheese swap for nutritional yeast, and I had my creamy, dreamy, dairy-free gratin.

Note: If you want to eat your gratin on the same day you make it, you can skip soaking the cashews overnight if you have a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix.Emily Ziemski

What You'll Need
  • For the cashew cream:
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • For the gratin:
  • 3 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Vegetable or Chicken
  • 4 small sunchokes (8 ounces), sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 large sweet potato (8 to 10 ounces), halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch-thick half moons
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)
  1. For the cashew cream:
  2. In an airtight container, combine the cashews and ½ cup of water. Set in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
  3. Once soaked, drain the cashews, and combine in a blender with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 8 tablespoons of water, salt, and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Store in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 5 days.
  1. For the gratin:
  2. Heat the oven to 425°F. Add the bouillon to a small bowl and thin it out with 1 teaspoon of water (this should be a slightly thick paste). Stir to combine.
  3. To a large bowl, add the sunchokes, sweet potato, 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil, garlic, shallot, sage, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Toss to thoroughly coat the vegetables.
  4. Oil a small 11-inch ceramic baking dish, or a 1-quart ceramic round gratin dish. Arrange the slices of sunchokes and sweet potato one layer at a time, alternating vegetables and shingling about 8 to 10 slices with slight overlap. Brush each layer with the bouillon glaze. Repeat with the remaining slices. Once all the slices have been layered, pour the cashew cream over the top. Finish by sprinkling evenly with the breadcrumbs; drizzle with the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and nutritional yeast (optional).
  5. Cover with dish lid or foil and bake in the oven, 30 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Turn the oven to broil. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LizetteFemie
  • Garlic
Emily Ziemski

Recipe by: Emily Ziemski

Food Editor @ Food52

3 Reviews

LizetteFemie June 14, 2023
Mike, outstanding work. I commend vcxd your efforts since I presently produce more than $36,000 each month from just one simple web company. Despite the fact that these are the most basic internet "|r4 operations jobs,
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LizetteFemie June 14, 2023
Mike, outstanding work. I commend your efforts since I presently produce more than $36,000 each month from just one simple web company. Despite the fact that these are the most basic internet "|r4 operations jobs,
Garlic May 25, 2023
I don’t eat dairy or like potatoes, so traditional gratin is not my favorite. This recipe inspires me to give it a fresh try!