For years, it’s been a Thanksgiving (and Christmas!) tradition that I make a Gratin Dauphinoise for the Chief Taste Tester over here at Meatified HQ. The first year I made it, he had no idea what it was. His eyes practically rolled back in his head at first taste and every subsequent year he’d beg me to make a bigger pan so there would be leftovers. Then, we went Paleo. And not only were potatoes out, but so was the cream. Uh oh. Thus came the inevitable request for a Paleo Sweet Potato Gratin. No pressure.
So I set about trying to come up with something which could take the carb and starch-fest’s place on the table at special occasions. At first I thought this would be easy: yay sweet potatoes! Yay coconut milk! Until I, of course, realized that coconut milk really doesn’t thicken too much on its own. I thought about using some arrowroot as an extra thickener, but that stuff is a pain in the butt due to the fact that it’s really not stable if you get it too hot. That wasn’t going to work in an oven dish.
So then I did some research and realized that heavy cream thickens because it has such a high fat content. Much higher, in fact, than coconut milk. So smartypants me thinks, “Easy! Add fats!”. This did – kind of – work. Aside from the fact that I added far too much coconut oil. While it was a pretty promising attempt, not only was it not thick or “creamy” enough, there was a really grody layer of sweet-potato-orange fat on the bottom of the dish. Not exactly appealing. So still no Paleo Sweet Potato Gratin.
So then I attempted to outsmart myself. I needed less oil, but more thickening. So out went the coconut oil; in came a smaller amount of coconut butter.
Then I recalled how pumpkin had helped me make an awesome paleo risotto not too long ago and I realized that would help round out the sauce and give more substance to the layers between the sweet potatoes. Genius! Now I just have to remind the Chief Taste Tester that he’s not getting this Paleo Sweet Potato Gratin every weekend!
How to make a Paleo Sweet Potato Gratin, step by step!
Slice sweet potatoes to approximately 1/8th inch thick. Unless you have the patience of a saint, use a mandoline or the slicer on a food processor. I think I’d lose some digits if I tried to do this by hand.
Thinly slice the shallot, too and set aside while you grease a 7×11 baking dish with oil of your choice (or you can make individual ramekins, as pictured). You can use a slightly larger dish if you need to, but this one works really well to get enough depth to the gratin. If you make it in a larger dish, you’ll have fewer layers so you’ll need to reduce the cooking time later. Place an overlapping layer of sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish; alternate with sliced shallots.
Continue until all sweet potato and shallot slices are used up: this should make 4 layers of sweet potato (& 3 of shallots). Save the larger slices for the final layer.
Preheat oven to 400F while you make the sauce. Add the coconut butter to a saucepan over very low heat (mine was 1/10); when melted, add the almond flour. You’re basically making a paleo / starch free white sauce here.
Whisk the almond flour into coconut butter until large crumbs are formed.
Add the coconut milk in half cup increments, whisking each time to combine. There will be a few lumps which is fine!
Now you should have something which looks like a thin cream sauce. Too thin, actually.
Add seasonings and fresh herbs of your choice. I used thyme here, but sage would work beautifully – so would a combination! Stir in and keep things simmering.
Now it looks more pretty, but it’s still too thin.
Here’s where the magic happens! Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth.
Yay, your sauce is much thicker now! In fact, it’s just a tad thicker than cream would be, which is perfect. Turn up the heat to a low-medium and heat for a few minutes until sauce is warm and pourable.
Pour the sauce over the gratin dish, making sure the top is evenly covered, but leaving a little gap between the top of the potatoes and the lip of the dish or dishes. That way they won’t overflow! If you are using individual ramekins, put them on a baking tray before cooking.
Bake the sweet potato gratin in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is brown. If you let this rest for 5 – 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven, it should slice perfectly!
This recipe is Whole 30 compliant. To make it fit the Autoimmune Paleo protocol, omit the almond flour.Print
Paleo Sweet Potato Gratin
This paleo sweet potato gratin is creamy and delicious, while still being vegan and dairy free! This baby is perfect for Thanksgiving!
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Yield: One 7 x 11 inch tray, or 6 - 8 individual ramekins 1x
- 2 lb sweet potatoes (about 2), peeled and sliced 1/8th inch thick
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup almond flour (omit for AIP)
- 2 tbl coconut butter
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tbl garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbl fresh thyme or sage
- Slice sweet potatoes to approximately 1/8th inch thick. Unless you have the patience of a saint, use a mandoline! Thinly slice the shallot, too.
- Grease a 7 x 11 baking dish with oil of your choice (or, as pictured 6 – 8 individual ramekins).
- Place an overlapping layer of sweet potato slices on the bottom of the dish; alternate with sliced shallots. Continue until all sweet potato and shallot slices are used up: this should make 4 layers of sweet potato & 3 of shallots in a 7 x 11 dish. Save the larger slices for the final layer.
- Preheat oven to 400F while you make the sauce.
- Add the coconut butter to a saucepan over very low heat; when melted, add the almond flour.
- Whisk almond flour into coconut butter until large crumbs are formed.
- Add coconut milk in half cup increments, whisking each time to combine. There will be a few lumps which is fine!
- Add salt and fresh herbs; stir in.
- Add pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth.
- Turn up the heat to a low-medium and heat for a few minutes until sauce is warm and pourable.
- Pour the sauce over the gratin dish or ramekins.
- Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is brown.
This recipe is Whole 30 compliant.
To make it fit the Autoimmune Paleo protocol, omit the almond flour.
Do you use canned coconut milk or the one that comes in a milk container?
Hi Sarah, I use the canned version as it seems to be thicker / creamier and the cartons often have sugar in them which I try to avoid.
Thanks! I was thinking the same about the sugar and I love full fat coconut milk. I can’t wait to make this for thanksgiving. It looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!
I almost changed my dinner plans on the spot when I saw this! Yum…
Bookmarking to try in the future!
Let me know how you like it, Alex! Honestly, I’m glad I’ve finished up all the leftovers because I could eat this on an obscenely regular basis if I let myself!
Yum, this looks amazing! I’ve been thinking about how to make a paleo gratin for awhile, so reading your write up was really helpful. I would love to make this for Thanksgiving!
Thank you so much! Glad to share my mistakes, too, they’re usually more helpful than the finished recipe, I find! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did 🙂
Perfect timing, had the husband pick up a few extras from the market this evening. Couldn’t resist….excited to try it for dinner tomorrow. yum!!
I’m thinking that layering ham in this would make it a great main dish. . .
This is an absolute keeper!!! I made this tonight to do a test run for Thanksgiving and it’s absolutely delicious & super easy to make! I noticed the ingredients call for fresh thyme and the print-instructions mention Sage in the steps. I had already intended to put Sage in this; I used both fresh Sage & fresh Thyme.
If anyone has read this recipe and is on the fence, don’t be! It’s amazing! If you’re going to make this for Thanksgiving, you’d probably want to double or triple the recipe because I can’t imagine this lasting very long on the table.
Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
Oooh, good catch, Yvette, thank you so much for pointing that out – I’ll make sure they match in just a second!
I’m so glad you liked it and thank you so much for taking the time to let me know!
I made this last night, adding layers of ham, and my husband and 2 kids LOVED it. Great job!
Yay! Thank you for letting me know 🙂
This looks like a wonderful recipe! I love gratin — and you’re using all of my favorite ingredients! 🙂
Question about the almond flour. Can something else be substituted for it? Perhaps garbanzo bean flour? Anything else in your experience that can be used instead? No reason, I just don’t typically have almond flour.
I’m not familiar at all with garbanzo flour since I don’t personally eat legumes. You could try using a tablespoon or so of coconut flour OR omitting it entirely to rely on the pumpkin as thickener, but I have not personally tried either of those ideas.
Oh my gosh!!! Amazing! I added some sausage and a bit of hot spice to it. This is a keeper! Thank you 🙂
You do realize that paleo diet does not include either salt or potato. I do suggest for you to do some research before you post.
It is a sweet potato gratin. Sweet potato is perfectly Paleo, since it has nothing to do biologically with a white potato, coming from a completely different family of plants. I don’t believe that a small amount of unprocessed sea salt in the diet is unhealthy, but to each their own.
This recipe looks great! Do you use sweet potatoes or YAMS (which are darker and sweeter than sweet potatoes)? I really like the taste of garnet yams, but not sure this is intended for this recipe or not. I want to make this for Thanksgiving!
I used sweet potatoes here. What’s confusing is that a lot of places label sweet potatoes as yams, although they are completely different and unrelated vegetables! Here’s a good breakdown of what’s what from Mark’s Daily Apple – your garnet yam is really a sweet potato 🙂
This recipe is delicious. It was one of many dishes on our vegan table for Christmas and it was a hit. We loved it and will definitely make it again.
Thank you so much! 🙂
I know I’m very late to the party but I made this tonight and it was amazing, thank you
New to this Paleo thing… is coconut butter the same thing as coconut manna? I have coconut oil at home, as well as coconut manna… but any “coconut butter” I have seen in stores is a highly processed definitely not Paleo food. I love scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin… but am trying to maintain a mostly paleo diet these days… need replacements!
Yes, I believe it is the same thing – this is the product I used 🙂
This is delicious. I’ve made it twice in 3 days. It is Soooooo good. My dad is on an autoimmune protocol and this is one of his favorite things that I’ve ever made. ❤️❤️❤️
Aw, thank you! That’s so cook to hear 🙂 I have a version of this in my book with caramelized onions so if you ever make those, save some for the gratin 😉
This looks great and in fact it’s baking in the oven as I write. Would you bake it the same amount of time if you do individual ramekins? Thanks Minna
The smaller ramekins do take about the same amount of time, which surprised me the first time I made them! You might want to check on them a few minutes early since the edges will caramelize up, but there’s not a huge difference between a full sized gratin and smaller individual servings. Hope that helps! 🙂