These layered boulangère potatoes make a wonderful vegan side dish for family meals or entertaining. They’re easy to prepare, cook slowly in the oven while you make the rest of the meal, and they are universally loved! This delicious vegan version of the French classic features thinly sliced potatoes and onions layered with garlic and nutmeg, cooked in vegetable stock with a drizzle of oil on top. It makes a lovely lighter alternative to the heavier scalloped or dauphinoise potatoes. Plant-based, gluten-free, nut-free, only a little oil… what’s not to love?
In my non-vegan past, I was a big fan of creamy dauphinoise potatoes and they always featured in our large family get-togethers and dinner parties. Over the years I started favouring a lighter, non-dairy alternative to scalloped potatoes which didn’t leave you feeling quite so stuffed after eating it and so I started making the stock-based boulangére potatoes instead. Now vegan, I have adapted the recipe to make a plant-based version of this classic French layered potato dish.
Why you’ll love these vegan layered potatoes
- The delicate slices of potatoes perfectly flavoured with onions, garlic and nutmeg are soft and unctuous. The starch from the potatoes combines with the vegetable stock and the olive oil while cooking to create this luxurious smooth sauciness to the dish.
- These potatoes are great for serving to a crowd. They are so tasty that everyone, vegan or not, will LOVE them!
- I also love this version because it’s so quick and easy to prepare and leave cooking in the oven for when you need it! This is a quick way of making the dish that massively reduces the faff factor but doesn’t compromise on flavour. Personally, I don’t have the time or the patience to do the delicate layering of ingredients and so one day, in a huge rush preparing a dinner party in double quick time after getting stuck at work, I just mixed the ingredients in a bowl and poured them into the casserole dish instead. Honestly, no-one noticed any difference! I made the top layer look a bit prettier by re-arranging some of the slices but the underneath bit wasn’t neatly arranged and no-one cared! Everyone loved it just as much! So now I don’t bother with the layers and just do this quick way instead every time. It’ll revolutionize your life!
Origins of Boulangère potatoes
Those with knowledge of French will quickly realise that this translates to baker’s potatoes. They are so-called because in the past, when many French households did not have their own ovens, they would prepare this tasty dish at home and then take it to the bakery to cook in the baker’s ovens that were cooling after baking their breads.
It is such a lovely rustic dish that is very easily veganised. The original recipe calls for chicken stock and butter but I swapped these for vegetable stock and olive oil. The flavour is no less delicious and having now served this vegan version to non-vegetarians at quite a few family occasions and dinner parties, I can confirm that everyone loves it just as much!
This dish is a healthy potato side dish. Since it is cooked in vegetable stock with only a little oil, it is far healthier than the dairy-heavy creamy scalloped, dauphinoise or gratin potatoes.
Potatoes have a bad reputation nutritionally but, although I wouldn’t count them as part of my vegetable intake, they are a great carbohydrate to use, as they contain fibre, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants. The fibre in potatoes is “resistant starch” which is a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds your gut bacteria. This makes potatoes great for your gut health. See this article for other health benefits of potatoes.
- Potatoes – you want an all-purpose potato – not too waxy (which doesn’t have enough starch content to make it saucy) and not too floury (which would make it go mushy). I like Desiree potatoes in the UK (which I believe are similar to Yukon Gold in the US) or in Qatar I like the sandy Oman potatoes that you get loose in the supermarkets.
- Onions & Garlic – thinly sliced. Use as much or as little as you like, depending on how much you love these flavours! (I’m a big fan 😁)
- Olive oil – only a little oil is needed to mix in and loosen up the ingredients. This prevents the potatoes sticking to the bottom of the dish and adds a rich luxurious texture to the “sauce” surrounding them. Drizzle a little oil on top too for drool-worthy browning.
- Vegetable stock – use a good quality, tasty stock as this is the “sauce”.
- Nutmeg, salt and pepper – you could also add herbs if you like but I quite like the flavour of nutmeg standing out in this dish so I tend to leave out herbs.
- Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, onion, and garlic.
- Gently mix all the ingredients (except the stock) together with your hands in a large bowl.
- Pour into a casserole dish and pour enough vegetable stock in to just reach the top layer of potato (but not cover the top of the potatoes). Drizzle with a little olive oil and a final sprinkling of salt and pepper and nutmeg.
- Bake for 1¼ - 1½ hours at 180°C / 350°F until a fork slides in and out of the middle easily.
- This is really a quick and dirty version of how to make this beautiful dish. I rarely have the time to fuss with layering but if you want to perfect this dish, you could do alternating layers of potato, then onion, garlic, oil, seasoning, back to potato and so on with additional layers. Then you save the best-looking slices of potato for the top layer and lay them in an artful pattern. This is not essential, but it is the traditional way of making this dish. When the flavour is good, I’m not sure anyone really notices the perfect layers so I don’t bother with this extra faff!
- At the end of the cooking time, check that the potatoes are cooked by sliding a fork into the middle. If it goes in and out easily without resistance, then the potatoes are cooked enough. If you feel any firmness or resistance, then pop it in the oven for a little longer until they are soft.
- For really thin slices (3mm), it is easiest to use the slicer function on a food processor or Kitchen Aid. Alternatively, you could use a mandolin or, if if you have brilliant knife skills and a fair bit of patience, you could slice them by hand. That might make this dish too annoying to make frequently though!
- The slicer attachment I use is this Kitchen Aid attachment (Affiliate link). You literally just attach it to the top of the kitchen aid and then pop the potatoes in. It takes seconds to chop a kg of potatoes into perfect 3mm slices and it’s easy to wash up too!
These vegan boulangère potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast. If you’re catering for meat-eaters who want the traditional joint of meat, make amazing vegan side dishes to go alongside it or, if you’re lucky enough to be able to do a full vegan Sunday lunch, you could swap the meat for a classic nut-loaf or vegan roast. Either way, these layered potatoes will be the perfect starchy side dish. Also serve with my favourite roasted beetrootor carrot and swede and a green vegetable like broccoli, kale or green beans for a spectrum of colours and nutrients on the plate! In warmer weather, serve these potatoes warm with a light salad.
Variations / Substitutions
This recipe is so simple it doesn’t really call for much in the way of variations. If you’re not a fan of nutmeg or you want to change it up a bit, swap the nutmeg for some herbs instead. Depending on what you’re serving it with, any of the classic French herbs would work well here – rosemary, thyme, tarragon or chervil would all be delicious.
You could also bulk up this meal to make it more of a meal in itself by adding some hearty fried mushrooms to the mix. Or add some sliced roasted peppers, lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley to liven up the flavours.
If you’re making ahead, I would advise partially cooking the dish to avoid the potatoes turning grey, which can sometimes happen when raw potatoes are left out for a while. Cook for ¾ hour or so, then cool and keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to serve them, re-heat in the oven until heated through. Test with a fork in the middle and when you take it out, touch it against the inside of your wrist. It should feel piping hot and require you to immediately pull it away from your skin!
Since a large dish like this takes a while to re-heat in the oven, it might get a little too browned on top with the double cooking so you may need to cover it with a lid (or some baking paper and foil) for the second cooking time. Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes to brown the top. If you take them out of the fridge for a while to come to room temperature before cooking, this will also speed up the second cooking time.
These potatoes are great leftovers to have in the fridge! Keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Re-heat either in the oven, air-fryer or microwave until piping hot. Use a lid if re-heating in the oven or air-fryer since you just want the potatoes to warm up, not to brown further.
For mid-week leftovers, I often serve these potatoes quickly re-heated in the air-fryer or microwave with some fried slices of smoked tofu or even just simple baked beans and a portion of steamed broccoli for a very quick but nutritious supper.
Recipe Card 📖
Vegan Boulangère Potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.2 kg all-purpose potatoes
- 2 onions
- 8 garlic cloves
- salt and pepper
- ground nutmeg
- 500 ml vegetable stock (or up to 1L as needed)
- Set the oven to 180°C / 350°F.
- Thinly slice the potatoes, onion and garlic. Put them in a big bowl and add a generous sprinkling of nutmeg, salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp). Gently mix them together with your hands to ensure even distribution. Then pour the mixture into a large, preferably shallow, oven-proof dish.2 tbsp olive oil, 1.2 kg all-purpose potatoes, 2 onions, 8 garlic cloves, salt and pepper, ground nutmeg
- Pour in enough vegetable stock to come up to just under the top of the potatoes. Press the potatoes down to ensure they are tightly pressed with just enough stock. Top up with more stock if needed. (It will depend on the shape and size of your dish – see notes below). Drizzle a little more olive oil on top and sprinkle some more nutmeg, salt and pepper on top.500 ml vegetable stock (or up to 1L as needed)
- Bake in the oven for 1¼ - 1½ hours at 180°C / 350°F until the potatoes are fully cooked and soft in the middle.
- This is the quick and dirty way to make this dish. If you have more time and want to do it perfectly then layer the ingredients artfully instead.
- Test whether the potatoes are cooked by inserting a fork or knife in the middle. If cooked, it will slide in easily without resistance. If it still feels a little firm, pop it back in the oven for a little longer until soft enough.
- Casserole dishes vary in shape and size. Scaling up or down the recipe is easy but the amount of stock required is dependent on the particular dish you use. Use the amount given in the ingredients list as a rough guide but go instead by the look. You need to include as much as is necessary to come up to just below the top of the potatoes so that all the potatoes are submerged except the very top which will go brown and crispy.
If you like this recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free side dishes too:
I’d love to know how you get on with this recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and please give it a star rating too! Thank you!