Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin for Oahu Fresh

‘Tis the season for comfort foods, and what could be cozier than a cheesy sweet potato dish? As a bonus, this recipe includes a full bunch of kale so it’s got some greenery too! We ate potato gratins (also called scalloped potatoes) all the time as kids, but I don’t make them nearly often enough nowadays. And there is no good reason for this, and this recipe serves as a reminder that potatoes need to feature into my diet more frequently… especially when smothered in a smokey, cheesy coconut sauce.

This recipe is pretty easy to toss together, and can be made ahead of time. It also makes awesome leftovers! I personally love the combination of coconut and cheesy, umami flavors, but I know not everyone does. If you think that flavor combo sounds weird, you can substitute a more neutral-tasting plant milk like unsweetened soy or almond to keep it more savory. And of course, play with the types of cheese you love (pepperjack would be great, or any type of smoked cheese, too!), and add herbs that you love, like chopped rosemary, thyme, basil or even dill.

This recipe is not especially pretty as a final dish, but it’s what’s inside that counts, right?! It’s mega delicious, and for real, I’m making it again tonight!

I served this with some sauteed broccoli for added greenery and nutrition. This final dish would look nicer if I had not lost my daylight! Be sure to take into account the long cooking time if you need photo ops!
Add the cheese once potatoes are fully cooked, and give it another five minutes in the oven to the cheese gets melty and delicious.

See all my other Oahu Fresh recipes here (featuring eggplant, sweet potato, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, Kabocha pumpkin, breadfruit, and more). For the Instagram video archive, check out the Oahu Fresh Instagram TV. 🥕

Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin

1 large bunch curly kale
3 large sweet potatoes (orange or white is best here)
2 cups shredded cheese or vegan cheese
1 cup coconut milk (or other unsweetened plant milk)
1 cup veggie broth or water (alternatively, use 2 cups of a lighter milk, like Mac nut or almond milk
1 Tablespoon starch
1 cup minced onion
2 cloves fresh garlic (or 1 Tsp garlic powder or flakes)
1 tsp. salt (smoked salt is excellent here)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Fresh rosemary, thyme, or dill (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a saucepan, cook onions and garlic with the olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the saucepan, and set aside. Brig 4 cups water to a boil in the same saucepan. Add a pinch of the salt.
  3. Remove kale from stems, and mince finely. Line a colander with a tea towel or paper towel.
  4. Dunk kale for just a few seconds in the boiling water (you may have to work in batches). Remove from pan and add to lined colander.
  5. Once cool, squeeze out all excess water from the kale, and set aside.
  6. Slice potatoes as evenly as possible, in 1/4 inch slices (use a mandolin slicer if you have!)
  7. Lightly grease your baking dish with a little olive oil.
  8. Line the bottom of the pan with the sliced potatoes, with the potatoes just overlapping on the edges.
  9. Add the kale atop the potatoes, and then cover the kale with the half of the cheese.
  10. Layer remaining potatoes atop the kale.
  11. In a bowl, whisk together milk (and broth), starch, salt, pepper, and herbs (if using) until starch dissolves. Add in the onion/garlic mixture. Pour this over the top layer of potatoes.
  12. Cover baking dish bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, test for doneness and bake for 20-25 minutes more (this will depend on your cookware, how thin the potatoes are sliced, and individual ovens). Once potatoes are fully cooked (check with a fork), add final layer of cheese, and put back into oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese. Allow to sit 15 minutes before serving to allow the mixture to thicken and cool. Slice into even pieces and serve immediately. I served this with some simple sautéed broccoli and grilled tempeh.

Yield: As written, this recipe makes a 9×13 pan; in the video I’ve made a half small batch to fits into the tabletop oven in our demo kitchen. 

I made this thing and it is totally delicious. We ate nearly the whole pan soon after this picture was taken!

This post may contain some affiliate links. Currently I am affiliated with Avocado and Mountain Rose Herbs, and Amazon Affilaites to support my favorite supplements and superfoods. If you purchase something from these links I make a small commission that supports my work and keeps the site running. Thanks for supporting Vibrant Wellness Journal! 


About Andrea Bertoli 591 Articles
A vegan chef, cookbook author, wellness educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in Honolulu. Follow my delicious adventures on Instagram

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