These scalloped potatoes sidestep traditional unhealthful ingredients like cream, butter, and cheese—and even added salt, and they still taste amazing. Garlic, paprika, black pepper, sweet onion, and fresh thyme combine to deliver top-notch flavors!
Note: Despite all the text below, this is not a difficult recipe. I just thought I would go ahead and address the questions that will likely come up, including types of potatoes, cashews, pan size, mandolines, aluminum foil, etc.
- 2 cups water
- 2 ounces raw, unsalted cashews (about ½ cup)
- 1 tablespoon old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 medium clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ medium yellow onion (I like sweet onions in this dish)
- 2½ pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes, peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, loosely packed
- To start the sauce, place the water, cashews, rolled oats, garlic, paprika, and black pepper into a blender, and set aside (so the cashew can soften).
- Preheat the oven to 370°F. Set aside a 2½ quart baking dish (you do not need to oil or use parchment paper).
- To thinly slice the onion and potatoes, I recommend a mandoline slicer to get uniform slices, especially of the potato. Thinly slice the onion and place into a small bowl. Slice the peeled potatoes to be ⅛ inch or so, and place the stacks on a plate.
- To finish the sauce, blend the soaking ingredients until smooth. Add the thyme leaves, and blend just briefly, so you can still see small flecks of thyme.
- Assemble the casserole as follows: (1) Pour 2 tablespoons of sauce into the bottom of the dish, tilting the dish to coat evenly. (2) Place ¼ of the potatoes in the bottom dish, only slightly overlapping them (use the thickest potatoes). Spread ⅓ of the sliced onions over the potatoes. Pour ½ cup of the sauce over the top. (3) Add a second and third layer in the same way. (Use any oddly shaped potatoes for the inner layers.) (4) Place the fourth and final layer of potatoes on top (save the nicest looking potatoes for the top), layering in the same way, or cutting the potatoes in half lengthwise (as shown below) for a nice design. Pour the remaining sauce (will be about 1 cup) evenly across the top.
- Cover (see Notes) and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cover, and pierce the potatoes with a knife. They should be tender but not falling apart (if they’re still pretty hard, you may want to bake another 5 to 10 minutes), and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes to cook down some of the remaining liquid.
- If you’d like a browned top, set the oven to broil, and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, watching carefully that it does not burn. Remove from the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Potatoes: Waxy potatoes, like Yukon gold and red, work best for this type of recipe so that they’ll hold their shape after the long baking period. You could use Russets in a pinch, but check for doneness earlier in baking, so they don’t get too mushy and overdone. Ideally, you want the potatoes to retain their shape and layers while still being tender.
Cashews: This dish really needs some creamy richness (to replace traditional butter and cheese), and the cashews are perfect for this; and the fat helps hold the layers together (along with the bit of oats). If you don’t eat cashews, you can try another nut or seed, although I have not experimented beyond cashews. Sometimes I recommend replacing white beans for cashews in salad dressings, but I don’t think that would work here. If you find an alternative that works well, please leave a comment below.
Oats: I used the 1 tablespoon of oats to help thicken the sauce; but any kind of flour would work.
Herbs: I like thyme in this, but I think fresh rosemary would be great too. A little sage would also be nice. If you don't have fresh herbs on hand, use a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning blend.
Mandoline: This recipe is the perfect dish for using a mandoline, which is a very sharp and precise slicer made for uniformly cutting vegetables of all types. For this recipe you want the potatoes the same thickness so they bake evenly. If you don’t’ have a mandoline, you could use a sharp 8-inch chef’s knife, but be very careful not to cut your hand when slicing.
Baking dish: My favorite glass dish for this recipe is 2.5 quarts. If you use another dish close in size, that is fine. Since different sized dishes cooking at different rates, just be aware of how done the potatoes are getting; you don’t want them too underdone (hard) or overdone (mushy).
Above: This shows the very top layer, where I have cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and added the remaining sauce over the top, just before covering and baking.
Above: This is after baking and browning the top on broil. The cashew “cheese” does a great job of replacing dairy to create a creamy effect.
Above: Reheated leftovers that I have dusted with ground cashews, using a rotary cheese grater to give the impression of a dry cheese. The green garnish is thyme.
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