These creamy, oil-free, smoky, vegan scalloped potatoes are mouth-watering and delicious. They are the perfect dish for a weeknight dinner or any holiday, and they can be made ahead of time and cooked when needed.
Nothing tastes better than the 'cheesy' goodness of vegan scalloped potatoes. However, that same creamy, dreamy taste can easily be achieved using only vegetables and NO OIL! My oil-free smokey vegan scalloped potatoes recipe is nut-free, so dive into savory, creamy potatoes without guilt.
Although vegan, non-dairy cheeses exist in today's world, most brands are still full of preservatives and fat. However, making cheese sauce that tastes just as delicious as real cheese is possible with vegetables and a few creative ingredients.
For example, the vegan cheese sauce used in this scalloped potato recipe has a smokey, garlicky flavor. All I did was switch out some of my original cheese sauce ingredients to get the taste I was looking for.
I also chose baby red potatoes for the base because they are softer and cook well when baked.
Cheese Sauce Ingredients
Also, the cheese sauce can be made in advance if you wish to prepare food ahead of time. This recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce, so you will have two extra plus cups to use for pasta or to add to any of your other favorite recipes. You can even separate some sauce before adding the paprika and liquid smoke. That way, you can flavor a separate batch for a different recipe.
- Baking Potatoes: Baking potatoes have a relatively high starch content that gives you that soft and fluffy inside, making them the perfect creamy base for a cheese sauce.
- Carrots: Carrots provide color and texture to a vegan cheese sauce.
- Nutritional Yeast: Also called "nooch," nutritional yeast is the vegan cheese flavor for the sauce.
- Lemon Juice: The lemon juice gives the sauce the acidic component to make it taste like real cheese.
- Onion Powder: Dried onion powder brings a hint of onion flavor.
- Garlic Powder: I love combining garlic powder and onion powder for a savory combination.
- Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika add a little smokey flavor to the recipe.
- Organic Vegetable Broth: Vegetable broth is savory and salty, giving the sauce some depth.
- Tamari, Liquid Aminos, or Soy Sauce: Use any of these choices interchangeably to add a salty, savory taste to the sauce. This is also called umami flavor.
- Water: Water helps thin the ingredients, so it is just the right texture.
- Liquid Smoke (I used Hickory Flavor): Liquid smoke provides the smokey flavor in the scalloped potato recipe.
- Baby Red Potatoes: I chose baby red potatoes for their buttery, soft texture. I leave the skins on.
- White Onion: White onion has a strong flavor and works well in seasoning and flavoring red potatoes.
- Garlic: Garlic is the savory of this recipe. I always choose fresh garlic when possible.
- Salt: A little salt brings out natural flavors in the recipe.
- Pepper: I prefer ground fresh pepper to season most recipes.
- Chives (optional garnish): Green onions and scallions come from the same onion species, while chives are considered an herb and come from a different species of plant
Once the cheese sauce is made, I suggest cutting potatoes using a mandoline and then layering the potato slices in a casserole pan, slightly overlapping the potato slices.
Begin by layering the thinly sliced potatoes in the base of the pan, slightly overlapping in a circular direction. Conversely, use a square or rectangular pan. Next, add diced onion and minced garlic.
Next, I add the creamy vegan cheese sauce and spread it gently to cover the top, allowing it to sink into the crevices.
Then, repeat the entire process, layering potatoes and the other ingredients and ending with cheese sauce on top. As a result, all the layers bake into the potatoes, which absorb the flavors. The chives add color and additional flavor to the recipe.
We could have quickly eaten the entire pan of scalloped potatoes, but we restrained ourselves only so we could take some for lunch tomorrow.
Nutritional yeast adds to vegan cheese's taste and texture–you'd be surprised how much of a food's taste is linked to its texture. This ingredient imparts that signature 'cheesy' flavor to vegan cheese and is significant for cheeses that do not undergo an aging process.
Add it to a cheesy sauce with miso and lemon juice. Then, use it together with garlic and salt. These ingredients make cheese taste more salty and savory, which is how cheese tastes.
Nutritional yeast reduces inflammation during bacterial infection. It also reduces the response of human cells to pro-inflammatory substances. It further modifies the behavior of the immune cells and inhibits inflammation.
- Whenever I make the vegan cheese sauce, I always plan to make meals using the sauce throughout the week, such as mac and cheese, or use it for a breakfast burrito.
- My kids love vegan cheese sauce on broccoli or cauliflower.
- Make the cheese sauce ahead of time, and add it to the scalloped potatoes before baking.
- Adding a shallot or leek gives the potatoes a more savory flavor.
- Add jalapeno to add a little heat.
- Mix in some sauteed mushrooms and red pepper more an entree potato dish than a side dish.
- Scalloped potatoes freeze well for up to 3 months. When reheating, thaw completely before reheating in the oven.
The next time you're craving some cheesy potatoes, give this vegan scalloped potato recipe a try.
Great Side Dish Ideas
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Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Smokey "Cheese" Sauce
- 3 regular size Baking Potato 3 cups
- 3 Carrots 1 ½ cups
- ½ cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 cup Organic Vegetable Broth
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari Liquid Aminos, or Soy Sauce
- 1 seeded and veined Jalapeno
- ½ cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke yes Tablespoons
- 15 Baby Red Potatoes sliced thin
- 1 diced White Onion (1 cup)
- 3 cloves minced Garlic
- pinch of salt to taste
- pinch of Pepper to taste
Smokey Cheese Sauce
- Wash three averaged sized baking potatoes; cut into large chunks (leave skins on potatoes)
- Clean and cut three large carrots and cut them the same size as potatoes
- Cover in water
- Boil for 20 minutes
- While potatoes are boiling, put the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, jalapeno, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, garlic, liquid smoke, and soy sauce in a blender.
- Drain potatoes and carrots
- Put potatoes and carrots into a blender; blend until smooth
- The mixture will be thick; add water
- Transfer ‘cheese’ mixture into a container for storage or use now
Scalloped Potato Base
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Wash and slice red potatoes thin
- I always rinse them again in a colander to ensure I get all the first off the first time.
- Dice onion
Assemble in the Pan
- In a nonstick casserole dish (I used a stone casserole dish I love)
- Put a single layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan in a circle (make sure it is just one layer; the potatoes can touch and overlap but not too much)
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Using half the chopped onion, cover potatoes with onion
- Then do the same with the garlic
- Add 1 and ½ cup 'cheese sauce' over the top of the potatoes. Now repeat the entire process, relayering potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then onion, garlic, and cheese sauce.
- Cover with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove pan from oven and remove the aluminum foil
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives
- Cook for an additional 30 minutes uncovered, until brown and bubbly
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving
- Slice potatoes thin by using a mandoline.
- Make the cheese sauce ahead of time and use it in various recipes throughout the week.
- Change the sauce's flavor by adding different herbs and spices, such as adobo sauce or a jalapeno. Add more liquid smoke for a smokier flavor profile.
- Add other vegetables such as mushrooms and red bell peppers, and a pinch for an entree meal.
- Freeze scalloped potatoes in individual containers, leaving an inch between the top of the container and the potatoes to avoid freezer burn.
- For best results, thaw potatoes entirely before reheating.
- Scalloped potatoes last 5 days in the refrigerator covered.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂