Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin

As I’ve mentioned before, my godmother can’t tolerate gluten. Or soy. Unfortunately, my mom’s side of the family isn’t the most adventurous or experimental when it comes to culinary traditions. I don’t even get to do the vegetables at Thanksgiving, which are always boiled carrots, and boiled green beans with pearl onions. (Next year, I’m taking over and bringing sweet leek and chicken pie, Jamie Oliver’s French beans, and boiled carrots with orange and cumin.)

So when we have family events, my aunt and I collude in order to make sure that we both have something to eat. Vegan? Gluten-free? Soy-free? Done. Luckily, I love a challenge.

I made this dish for my cousin’s sixteenth birthday party this past March. I came upon the idea of a gratin, and after some searching, decided that I would use sweet potatoes and some kind of leafy green.

I had also recently developed a vegan Béchamel sauce, and decided that Gruyère cheese couldn’t be that hard to veganise, could it? The result is a sweet, tangy, sweet, bitter dish that’s easy to prepare, can be refrigerated the night before, and is a pretty cheap investment for all of the servings that it produces.

Enjoy! And let me know how you use the Béchamel sauce and Gruyère cheese elsewhere! I’ve been meaning to get around to a vegan French onion soup…

Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin Recipe

By M. M. Cassidy Published: July 5, 2011

  • Yield: 1 9x13 Pan (8 Servings)
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 10 mins

This beautiful dish combines orange, green, and creamy yellow in a combination that both eyes and palates will love. It's gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, and the perfect invite to a comfortable Sunday brunch. The vegan Gruyère cheese adds a tart bite to the dish and helps make the flavour a little more complex. Don't be intimidated—it's so easy to prep! It goes well with asparagus quiche, vegan gluten-free scones, and an excuse to drink before noon (recommend Fontezoppa Verdicchio).



  1. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the EB over medium-high heat.
  2. When melted, add the onion and sauté until translucent.
  3. Grate a bit of nutmeg over the onion, stir, and then add the kale.
  4. Fold the kale and onion mixture to mix, cover, and steam until the kale is softened, but still crunchy (excuse to keep eating bits of kale!).
  5. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
  6. To assemble the gratin, start by buttering the inside of a 9x13" baking dish.
  7. Spread half the sweet potatoes in one layer across the bottom of the dish.
  8. Sprinkle with thyme, sage, salt, and freshly cracked pepper.
  9. Dot with a quarter of the Gruyère cheese by spooning small spoonfuls around the layer.
    layered sweet potatoes, vegan Gruyère, herbs and spices
  10. Next, spread half the kale mixture across the dish. Sprinkle with thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Dot with another quarter of the Gruyère.
    layered kale sauté mixture over sweet potatoes, vegan Gruyère, et cetera
  11. Pour half the Béchamel sauce over these two layers and press to ensure that the layers are submerged.
  12. Repeat with the last half of the sweet potatoes, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and another quarter of the Gruyère.
  13. Then repeat with the last half of the greens, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Save the last quarter of the Gruyère to dot the top of the gratin.
  14. Pour the remaining half of the Béchamel over the gratin, pressing gently to ensure that the gratin is submerged. It's okay if it isn't perfectly covered.
    vegan Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin, with vegan Béchamel and vegan Gruyère, ready for the oven
  15. Dot with the remaining quarter of Gruyère.
  16. Bake for 45 minutes.
  17. Test sweet potatoes with a fork—if they break easily, then the gratin is done. If they're still somewhat firm, then bake for 10 more minutes before testing again, repeating until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  18. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut and garnish with fresh thyme, freshly cracked black pepper, or a few sage leaves before serving to delighted gluten-free, soy-free family members and friends.
    a slice/pile of vegan, gluten-free, soy-free heaven

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  • Caroline

    Love the new variation on this! I have a few vegan friends and a limited menu for them; this will add some options! – Caroline

    • Hey, thanks to you for providing the inspiration! The sauce and cheese may seem daunting, but they’re essentially just heating some stuff up in a pot. =) After that, it’s all assembly…

  • Rorschach Milk

    Okay, I HAVE to make this because I’ve always wanted to make a gratin but since becoming vegan I’ve been put off by the prodigious amounts of cream and butter in them. I can’t say I’ll make this right away because it’s too damn hot to turn the oven on, but when I do I’ll check back in. 🙂

    Also, what’s a knob of EB? My grocery store only carries it in tubs.

    • You should definitely try it! Agreed on the too-hot-to-use-the-oven, though… In summer, I’m usually craving fresh foods anyways, like tacos or gigantic salads.

      Also, a ‘knob’ is an informal measurement of butter—about how much you’d get if you stuck your knife into the tub and dug out a bit, or if you sliced off some from the end of a stick. When it’s not in baking, you can generally estimate your fats and tweak them to your liking. =)

  • Sweet Potato and Kale Gratin, with Gruyère Cheese and Béchamel Sauce #vegan #veganrecipes

  • OMFG this looks insane!!!!!!!!!!

    • hahaha Thanks! It was pretty insane, but there’s nothing like the motivation of cooking for a food-sensitive loved one to keep you dreaming. And thanks for the plug! I enjoyed reading through your recipe round-up—I’ll be back often!

  • Dineen

    How is this soy free?  It contains soy creamer and tofutti, aren’t those both soy foods?  (It still looks delish, and my issues are gluten and vegan, not soy, so I will likely try it, but just saying…)

    • Ack! Thanks, Dineen. I just updated it to the soy-free version. Having no short-term memory, I’d copied over my soy-full (?) béchamel recipe, but I just updated this to a soy-free one.

      This reminds me that I really need to create separate articles for things like béchamel sauce, pizza sauce, guacamole, and all of those other guys that are hanging out hidden in other recipes…

      For the meantime, enjoy, and do let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks again—good eye!

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