I was too busy enjoying a feast with my family to bother taking a photo of this dish when it came out of the oven, but the picture above shows it just after assembly, and I think you’ll get the idea. ‘Potato bake,’ a variation on the french potato gratin, was a classic Australian BBQ side dish of my youth (although our family never seemed to make it, I never knew why), and I always loved it for its creamy savoury goodness. But alas, those omnivorous days are happily behind me and I am now enjoying ‘veganising’ my old favourites in the hope that my family will be happy to eat them too. With my recent ecstatic discovery of cashew cream I just had to try reinventing this old classic, and the results were pretty satisfying.
Here’s what I did:
I made one batch of cashew cream by soaking 2 cups of raw cashews for at least 3 hours (overnight is better), then blended them with enough water to cover plus an inch. This made about 1.25 litres of cream, enough for the potato bake with some leftover for a sweet cream as well.
Then I added the following additions to about a litre of the cream (adjust these quantities to your personal taste if needed), and blended it all again until it was very smooth:
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder or half a cooked onion
- 1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder or 1 to 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic grated/crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper (so you don’t see black flecks)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt
Then I thinned the cream slightly to the consistency I wanted. Other vegan potato bake recipes I’ve seen use rice milk, which is very thin, so bear in mind that if you want a gooey creamy end result you may want to thin the cream a bit more than you think you need to (mine was more solid than runny in the final dish, but very tasty nonetheless). You could thin the cream with water or other non-dairy milk, I used soy milk.
Then take as many potatoes as you think will go with the amount of cream you have (I used about 7 large potatoes, other vegies work well too) and slice them thinly. Overlap the slices to form as many layers as you can fit in your dish, pouring the cream in between each layer as you go. Top with some chopped spring onions, tomato slices, asparagus, whatever you like. I also drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top before baking.
Once the dish is assembled you can cover and store in the fridge until you are ready to bake it, or just go ahead and bake in a moderate oven (180-200 degrees C) covered for 40 minutes then uncovered for another thirty until the top is starting to brown and/or you can’t wait any longer 🙂
Uber good. You can’t go past the humble potato.