Gratin (/ˈgrätn/): In the culinary arts, the term gratin refers to a dish that is baked with a topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese. The gratin topping should be golden brown, which can be achieved by baking or by placing the dish under a broiler.
Now you would think that 12+ years of french class (I was in french immersion) would have taught me that but no…the late great Julia Child is responsible for introducing me to this french word. I have a serious obsession with Julia Child. I’ve read her biography “My Life In France” multiple times, paid way too much for an original copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which I then proceeded to lose gah!) and Julie & Julia might be my favourite movie of all time.
Julia is famous for her Potatoes au Gratin recipe which I’ll be honest, I have yet to try. I’m a crispy potato kind of gal. But no surprise, the recipe consists of butter, cheese, potatoes and more butter!!! She is known for saying “if you’re afraid of butter, use cream!” While I wish I could live life this way my stomach would probably rebel against me. I figured this recipe could use a makeover…even if it does make Julia roll over in her grave.
For my version I swapped in cauliflower for potatoes, kept things dairy-free and used my favourite chili flavoured Simply Chips to up the protein and lower the guilt. It doesn’t exactly taste like 5-year aged Gouda, but for being entirely dairy-free this is good. Plus I am proud of my kitchen creations, even if they don’t exactly compare to the original. I think Julia would be proud too
Serves: 4 sides
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (warmed)
- 3 T tapioca starch (any starch or flour will work)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup crumbled Simply Chips or Bread Crumbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast for 15 mins. Remove from oven and flip florets. Roast for another 10 mins until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, cook onion on stovetop with 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat for about 5 mins.
- Combine warmed almond milk with tapioca starch.
- Turn stove down to low and mix almond milk with onions.
- Stir until mixture has thickened.
- Add in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper.
- Combine stovetop mixture with cauliflower and add to an 8 x 8 baking dish.
- Crumble Simply Chips or breadcrumbs on top.
- Bake in 425 degree F oven for another 20 mins.