Did you realise how easy it is to make vegan oil free scalloped potatoes?
I mean it doesn’t have to be easy. You can make it as complex as you like.
But I go for simple, so this recipe’s the easiest method ever, to make this delicious, versatile and crowd-pleasing dish.
You can prepare it in advance, it’s easy-peasy and of course it’s tasty; so a pretty good hands-off dish all round.
I like to serve scalloped potatoes with sweet potato with chickpeas in a coconut sauce and some black rice on the side, but really you can match it with almost anything.
I reckon if you try making this dish once, you’ll make it over and over again.
(That is if you like simple cooking that tastes great.)
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Vegan vs Traditional Scalloped Potatoes
Traditional scalloped potatoes are cooked in pure cream and cheese.
The cream and the cheese blend together during the cooking process to make the final sauce that holds the potatoes together and makes the dish.
This vegan oil free scalloped potato recipe is every bit as delicious, but it’s not meant to copy the traditional recipe.
It’s proud to be different. Lol. I mean who needs cheesy right?
Ok, well maybe it’s a little bit cheesy, in a vegan kind of way.
Actually I’m never really trying to exactly reproduce the dairy flavour because I don’t even remember it, let alone want to copy it.
But I do want to create dishes which can be eaten in the same way, at the same moment and to fill the same need (yummy potato-ey comfort food for example).
These vegan oil free scalloped potatoes are cooked in plant milk and nutritional yeast.
You can even get a great result without the traditional yeast if you don’t have any, but I do personally prefer it with.
Is it different? Yes.
You may find the sauce separates. Does it spoil the flavour? No.
Should You Peel Potatoes for Scalloped Potatoes?
There’s no need to peel the potatoes for vegan oil free scalloped potatoes.
But if you’re not buying organic potatoes, which, at the time of writing, I can’t actually get), then the chemicals as well as the fibre, are all lurking in the skin.
Personally, I still eat the skins. I’ve always eaten the skin and for me, it’s the tastiest part.
So I’m not about to stop now.
But I would buy organic if I got the opportunity.
So it’s your choice, whether to preserve the nutrient qualities of the potato by leaving the skin on or whether to remove it because of the chemicals.
The obvious solution is to buy organic potatoes and leave the skin on.
The other reason for peeling potatoes is that some people (my husband is one of them) think the skin is horrible. Gasp. Yes, I know.
It’s such a shame, but if you have someone who you’re cooking for that doesn’t like the skin, then you’d better peel the potatoes to keep your eaters happy!
And if you do peel the potatoes, don’t forget to make some crunchy potato peeling chips from the skins!
Can You Make Scalloped Potatoes in Advance?
The best way to make these oil free vegan scalloped potatoes is to prepare the dish ahead of time and cook it just when you’re going to eat them. I do this in 3 stages.
- In the morning, wash/peel the potatoes and place into cold water. Add a little ice if the water isn’t cold. Peel and slice the onions. Set aside for the day, or do this later on.
- A couple of hours before eating, slice the potatoes into thin rounds and layer a baking dish with potato scallops followed by onion rings. Sprinkle salt and nutritional yeast on top of each layer and pour on some plant milk to fill the gaps. Repeat the layers. Place the casserole dish in the cold oven until you’re ready to cook.
- Remove from the oven, heat the oven to 200ºc and return the dish to the heated oven for about 45 mins or until cooked. Leave to sit in the oven for 10 minutes to absorb the extra liquid after turning off the heat.
But if you like, of course you can also cook the dish completely ahead of time, like the day before for example, and then reheat it in the oven for about 30 minutes before serving.
Or cook it ahead of time and freeze it in portions for eating at a later date.
I always make too much so that I can eat the leftovers the next day and it reheats just fine. And it tastes just as good as it did on the first day.
Personally I haven’t frozen this dish, because I don’t really freeze any of my food, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t freeze well.
Which Potatoes are Best for Scalloped Potatoes?
This isn’t a question that’s relevant for many of us, as we don’t get the option of different named potatoes.
But mos people recommend Russet potatoes or Yukon Gold for making scalloped potatoes.
I just get ‘potatoes’.
If you don’t have the luxury of choice, just use your regular potatoes.
It is a logical fact that the type of potato you use will affect the end dish, but it’s not something you can always do anything about.
Should You Soak Potatoes Before Cooking Scalloped Potatoes?
For me personally, the most convenient way to pre-prepare this dish is to peel the potatoes in advance and leave them in a pan of cold water (in the fridge if it’s a hot day).
I prefer not to slice them thinly but just to take off the peel (if peeling), or to cut out the bad bits if leaving the peel on.
Either way, leaving the potato to sit in cold water before making scalloped potatoes is a good plan and does seem to help the cooking process.
They say you can leave potatoes in water overnight, but I usually prepare them on the same day.
Soak for a maximum of 12 hours.
I usually soak them in the morning so that I have less preparation to do in the afternoon/evening.
Should You Pre Cook Potatoes Before Making Scalloped Potatoes?
Some people do pre-cook the potatoes in milk – but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Pre-cooking takes away the whole point of a simple dish which you can prepare in a jiffy and then bake whenever you’re ready to eat it.
I also don’t think pre-cooking would benefit the flavour of the dish, but I haven’t personally tried it because as I said, it doesn’t make sense to me.
I’m all about simple. Shhh, I mean my cooking.
Should You Cover Scalloped Potatoes While Baking?
Again, this depends. You can cover the dish to encourage equal cooking, and if you see that the top is getting crunchy while the dish is still raw it can be a remedial step to cover the dish for a while.
Remove the cover towards the end of cooking.
But personally I don’t cover my scalloped potatoes. I try not to use silver foil more than absolutely necessary (which is almost never) and that makes it hard to cover the dish.
Also, it doesn’t need it.
And I like the crunchy top.
If the top was getting crunchy and the rest wasn’t baked, I would add a bit more milk.
How to Fix Under Cooked Scalloped Potatoes?
If you find the potatoes aren’t cooking it may be that there isn’t enough liquid in the pan and by adding some extra plant milk and returning to the oven for another 15-20 minutes solves the problem.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, if there’s enough liquid already in the pan, you may choose to cover the dish with silver foil. Remember to remove it for at least the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Finally, if you put something very acidic in with the potatoes (like tinned tomatoes for example) that could be stopping them from cooking through.
Can I Freeze Scalloped Potatoes?
You can freeze scalloped potatoes for serving at a later date.
If you’re cooking the scalloped potatoes purely for freezing (rather than eating any of them), then you can slightly undercook them and then later reheat the whole dish by cooking in the oven at about 175ºc from frozen.
Alternatively, cook the scalloped potatoes properly, eat some and freeze the leftovers in serving sized portions which you can reheat in the oven or microwave.
What’s the Difference Between Scalloped Potatoes and Potatoes Au Gratin?
Scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin are very similar dishes.
The actual name ‘au gratin’ refers to a crunchy top layer made with breadcrumbs and cheese, so that is the defining character of potatoes au gratin. They are often made with leeks instead of onion (but you could choose to use leeks with scalloped potatoes too).
Scalloped potatoes on the other hand don’t have a particular topping. Both dishes consist of thinly sliced potatoes cooked in a casserole dish in a creamy sauce, though potatoes au gratin tends to be a cheesy cream sauce whereas scalloped potatoes can be just cooked in cream (or plant milk in this case).
Some people do use the two terms interchangeably these days. I guess it depends on how correct you want to be with your terminology!
Tips for Making Perfect Vegan Oil Free Scalloped Potatoes
- Make sure to keep the potatoes in cold water before cooking to avoid them from turning blue/grey or purple.
- Pour on enough plant milk to fill all the gaps of the casserole.
- Check the dish half way through cooking and add more milk if necessary.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper and nutritional yeast in between each layer.
- Let it sit in the oven for at least 10 minutes after turning off the heat and before serving.
Vegan Oil Free Scalloped PotatoesCourse: Main or side dishCuisine: Hearty
Simple to make and prepare in advance
8 medium large potatoes finely sliced into rounds
2 Spanish onions sliced into half rings
2 cups of nutritional yeast
3/4 litre unsweetened soy milk (or other plant milk)
salt and black pepper
- Peel the potatoes and set aside in cold water. You can cook the peelings in the air fryer for a tasty additional snack (peel them thicker for this).
- Finely slice the potatoes into thin rounds.
- Slice the onions into half rings.
- Layer a casserole dish with potatoes, onions, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper. Repeat layers until the dish is full.
- Pour the plant milk onto every level of the casserole. Finish off by checking that the milk fills the spaces in the casserole.
- Sprinkle the top with nutritional yeast.
- Cook in the oven at 200ºc for 45 minutes or until soft through and crunchy on top. Check half way through cooking and top up with extra plant milk if necessary.
- Turn off the heat and leave the scalloped potatoes to sit in the oven and absorb the extra liquid for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Simple crowd-pleasing satisfying dish that you can make time and time again.
Variations on Vegan Oil Free Scalloped Potatoes
When you get used to making this little beauty, you can let your imagination run riot with ideas for variations.
Here are some of my suggestions . . .!
- Add some dried herbs in the layers to make herby potatoes.
- Choose thyme for a more pungent herb character flavour.
- Sweeten it up with some sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis).
- Sneak in a layer of different vegetable in the middle of the casserole – pumpkin, courgette or red peppers, for example.
- Use cashew sauce in the middle layer for a creamier, heavier version.
- Spice it up with hot red chilli powder.