Creamy Parsnip Gratin is about to become your favorite side dish. This Vegan Au Gratin with Parsnips that has all the flavor, texture, decadence and taste that you expect from a creamy gratin. Oh this incredibly delicious side dish is so good, it’s worthy of a place at your holiday table.
I’ve been making Thanksgiving Dinner (well, we eat at 1:30..so maybe some would call it lunch) since before I even knew how to cook, so I know a thing or two about what people gobble up and go back for seconds on….the writing is on the wall for this Vegan Au Gratin Dish…BEST SELLER here we come.
You definitely don’t need heavy cream, potatoes or grated cheese to make a creamy gratin. This dairy-free Vegetable Gratin is subtly sweet, rich and creamy, and everyone will love it. Layers of sweet parsnips are covered in an easy to make vegan bechamel sauce, sprinkled with vegan parmesan and bread crumbs, then baked to perfection.
The Perfect Side Dish
- Au gratin vibes all the way
- Vegan…with a creamy, dreamy consistency
- Make ahead and reheat to serve.
- No fake food…wholesome ingredients combine for side dish perfection.
- Gluten-free…so everyone can enjoy this beauty.
- There are enough potato recipes on the holiday table..variety is the spice of life and this one is special.
- They are easy to find in grocery stores and relatively inexpensive.
- If your parsnips still have their tops attached, remove them before storing.
- They’ll stay good in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.
- Look for firm, unblemished parsnips.
- Larger parsnips have a tough, woody core…but it will soften and sweeten in this parsnip gratin recipe, so you can buy any size.
- Parsnips look like a white carrot, and are in the same family, but they’re sweeter and have a bit of a spice to them along with a nutty taste.
- Parsnips are high in fiber and Vitamin C with modest amounts of iron, folate, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.
- Root vegetables like parsnips are perfect for making a gratin.
- If you love parsnips, try another great side dish: Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips Recipe.
Vegan Cheese Sauce Ingredients
- Cashews: Use raw cashews and soak them in boiling water for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Nutritional yeast: You can find nutritional yeast at your local grocery store.
- Garlic: Mince garlic cloves or use a microplane zester.
- Olive oil: Helps emulsify this sauce, making it super creamy.For an oil free gratin, substitute with veggie broth.
- Salt and Pepper: Use coarse sea salt and either black pepper or white pepper.
Gratin Topping Ingredients
- Pine nuts: they’re soft and grind up with great texture.
- Hemp seeds: rich in protein, fiber and omega 3s.
- Nutritional yeast: imparts a cheese flavor
- Breadcrumbs: Easily make your own with your favorite bread that meets your dietary needs.
How to make Creamy Parsnip Gratin
Step 1: Make the dairy-free gratin sauce.
Soak cashews in boiling water for minimum of 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
Cook grated garlic in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, over medium heat for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.
Drain cashews. Add to blender along with nutritional yeast, garlic mixture and water.
Blend until thick and creamy. It should be pourable. If too thick, add another ¼ cup water and blend again.
Step 2: Make the gratin topping
Add pine nuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt to a spice grinder.
Pulse until crumbly. Mixture will resemble parmesan cheese.
Toast a piece of your favorite bread. Break into small pieces and pulse in the spice grinder or food processor until the texture of bread crumbs. Use the same small fry pan and heat one tablespoon olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring until golden brown.
Step 3: Assemble Parsnip Gratin
Peel parsnips, then trim off the tops and bottoms.
Place sliced parsnips in a large bowl and pour over half the creamy sauce.
Use tongs to mix until all parsnips are coated with sauce.
Arrange half the coated parsnips into the bottom of a casserole dish. Make sure layers of parsnips are evenly dispersed. Drizzle on half the remaining cheese sauce.
Sprinkle with half the crumbly parmesan cheese mixture.
Now add the last layer of parsnip slices. There should be enough parsnips to fill the baking dish. You can take time to make nice looking overlapping rows, or not…it will taste great either way!
Pour on the remaining sauce and then sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan mixture.
Evenly spread the breadcrumbs over the top of the layered parsnips.
Bake in preheated 375 oven on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes. cooking times will vary depending on how thick you sliced the parsnips. The top of the gratin should be crisp and the inside layers should be tender.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Don’t skip the breadcrumbs…that crisp topping is possibly the best part. It’s easy to make your own as directed, but there’s no shame in buying panko to sprinkle on top.
- Make it a parsnip potato gratin recipe by using just a pound of parsnips and the rest potatoes.
- You can add a little sprinkling of nutmeg into the sauce, to bring out all the earthy flavors.
How to Serve and Store
- Serve warm alongside your favorite holiday dishes or as a side dish anytime. I’ve been known to eat leftovers for breakfast as my main dish!
- Store tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week.
- Texture and flavor will suffer in the freezer, I don’t recommend freezing.
- Meal prep: Assemble gratin, but don’t bake. Cover tightly with foil , refrigerate and bake as directed later or the following day.
- Reheat: Cover with foil and heat in 350 oven for 15 minutes, then turn up to 450 for an additional 5 minutes to brown the topping.
Parsnip Gratin FAQs
A gratin is a baked casserole, usually potatoes or other root vegetables, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs.
Absolutely! The key to a good au gratin is depth of flavor, which can be achieved with a creamy vegan sauce and also to have crunchy breadcrumbs as a topping.
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- 3 lbs parsnips
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews soaked in boiling water 30 minutes or more
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup gluten-free bread crumbs made from 1 slice bread
- 1 tblsp olive oil extra virgin
- Soak cashews in boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
- Grate garlic. Heat olive oil in small pan, add garlic, salt and pepper and stir, cooking, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drain cashews and add to blender along with garlic and oil, nutritional yeast and water. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Place pine nuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and sea salt into spice grinder (or use a coffee grinder or very small food processor/blender. Pulse/grind until well mixed and crumbly, careful not to turn into a pasty mush. Set aside this vegan parmesan cheese.
- Toast one slice of bread. Pulse in small food processor or spice grinder until the texture of breadcrumbs is acheived. Use the same small pan from the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss the breadcrumbs in it until golden brown.
- Trim and peel parsnips. Use mandolin or slicing disc of food processor to thinly slice (about ⅛") parsnips. Place sliced parsnips along with half the sauce into a large mixing bowl. Continue to mix until all parsnips are thoroughly coated with sauce.
- Arrange half the coated parsnips in casserole dish. Pour on half the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on half the vegan parmesan.
- Add the remaining parsnips, then the remaining sauce and finally the remaining vegan parmesan mixture. Then sprinkle on the toasted bread crumbs.
- Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until parsnips are tender.