Provençal Potato Gratin! This flavorful vegetarian potato bake, made with tender Yukon gold potatoes and tangy roasted tomatoes is a beautiful addition to a Thanksgiving or holiday meal.
This recipe was originally posted on November 20, 2012 and updated on November 9, 2021.
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The holidays are just about the only time of year when you can get away with calling a dish made up of about 80% cheese, butter, or cream a "vegetable". As much as I love buttery mashed potatoes and Cream of Mushroom-laiden green bean casserole, I also like to explore other ways to make "veggies" a part of the Thanksgiving menu.
This Provençal Potato Gratin is a vegetarian potato bake that makes a great side dish if you're looking to try something new for the holidays. It is a potato gratin with no cream; potatoes are sliced thin and combined with onions, peppers and herbs, then topped with tomato and cheese and baked to perfection.
Make sure to check out my other veggie-loaded Thanksgiving side dishes such as my Butternut Squash Caprese Salad, , Vegetarian Sheet Pan Stuffing , Sour Cream & Chive Corn Casserole, and Lemon-Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
This recipe is naturally gluten free and can easily made vegetarian, vegan and dairy free. (See substitutions and variations below.)
One of the best parts of this potato and tomato gratin is that it doesn't call for complicated or hard-to-find ingredient. The simplicity is actually what makes it quite delicious! Here are a few of the main ingredients:
- Potatoes. I use Yukon gold here for their rich flavor, firm texture and medium starch content.
- Onion, garlic & herbs. This is where the recipe differs from a traditional gratin. Instead of using cream, the addition of vegetables and herbs makes this dish flavorful without being too rich.
- Tomatoes. Potatoes and tomatoes make a perfect pair! The tangy acidity of the tomatoes adds a perfect pop to the starchy gratin.
- Cheese. This recipe calls for Parmesan, but feel free to experiment with different types of cheese such as Asiago, Manchego or Gruyere to mix things up. If you are making a vegetarian version, be sure to use a cheese that does not contain rennet.
Start by preheating the oven to 350. Prepare a medium casserole dish (about 1.5 quart) by spraying with non-stick cooking spray or rubbing with oil. Set aside.
Tip: For extra flavor, cut the top off of a large clove of garlic and rub the dish with the cut side before oiling. This will infuse the dish with extra garlic flavor without being overpowering.
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the potatoes to about ⅛ inch thickness. Cut the tomatoes to about ¼ inch thickness (Watch those fingers! I've nearly lost fingertips too many times to count when using a mandolin.) Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, roasted red pepper, and garlic, as well as salt & pepper to taste, and sauté until the onions are tender about 4-5 minutes.
Add the white wine (or water), scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer and let it bubble until it's reduced by about half.
Place the sliced potatoes in the pan and add water. Cook, stirring gently, for about 2-3 minutes until the liquid is slightly thickened from the potato starch, then stir in the basil.
Pour potato mixture into the prepared casserole dish, arranging it into an even layer; sprinkle with salt.
Arrange the tomato slices carefully in a shingled pattern over the potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake, uncovered, for about 1 ½ hours or until potatoes and tomatoes are tender.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (or cheese of your choice), then bake for another 10-12 minutes until bubbly and beginning to turn golden brown.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature!
"Gratin" is a French culinary technique in which an ingredient, usually cooked in a shallow dish, is topped with cheese, butter and breadcrumbs and baked to create a brown crust on top. In the case of this dish, the "crust" is actually just a topping of tomatoes and cheese.
"Provençal" typically refers to something that comes from Provence, a region in the south of France. In cooking, the use of the word generally means that the dish is cooked with garlic, onion, tomato, olive oil, and herbs.
Yes. Once you've poured the cooked potato mixture into the casserole dish, allow it to cool and cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight if needed. Top with tomatoes just before baking and continue with the recipe as directed.
I have personally never tried, but I would assume that so, as traditional potatoes gratin and other potato dishes tent to freeze well. Simply cool the fully cooked gratin, then cover tightly with several layers of foil or place it in an air-tight, freezer safe container for up to 2 months.
It depends. Some vegetarians eat certain kinds of cheese that do not contain rennet, which is an animal enzyme that is used in the production of some types of cheese. Check cheese labels to ensure that the cheese you select is, indeed, vegetarian-friendly, or play it safe by purchasing a vegan "cheese".
Variations & Substitutions
Provençal Potato Gratin is delicious as-is, but try these variations if you want to mix things up!
- Change up the herbs. This recipe calls for basil, but fresh thyme or rosemary would also be equally delightful.
- Experiment with cheeses. I think Asiago, Manchego or Gruyere would work well here. (Be sure to check cheeses for rennet if you are trying to keep the dish vegetarian.)
- Add other veggies. Try sautéing some mushrooms or zucchini along with the onions to add extra flavor to the dish.
- Make things fun for the meat eaters by adding browned sausage, pancetta or bacon to the dish.
This vegetarian potato bake is already naturally gluten-free and, obviously, vegetarian! To turn this into a dairy-free or vegan potato bake, try using a plant-based, shredded cheese.
Provençal Potato Gratin
- 3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- ¾ cups chopped roasted red pepper
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 4-5) peeled
- ½ cup fresh basil finely chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese or cheese of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 1.5 quart casserole dish by rubbing with a cut garlic clove (if desired) and coating with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
- Carefully slice potatoes to about ⅛ inch thickness, and tomatoes to about ¼ inch thickness with a mandolin or sharp knife. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and garlic and sauté until onions are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Pour i in white wine (or water) and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.
- Add sliced potatoes and water to pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the liquid is slightly thickened, then stir in the chopped basil.
- Pour potato mixture into prepared dish, and spread it out into an even layer. Sprinkle with sea salt. Carefully arrange tomato slices over top of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 1½ hours or until potatoes and tomatoes are tender, then remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until bubbly and beginning to turn golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature.
- Use fresh thyme or rosemary in place of basil, or a combination of herbs.
- Try Asiago, Manchego or Gruyere instead of Parmesan.
- Sautéing mushrooms or zucchini along with the onions.
- Add browned sausage, pancetta or bacon to the dish for non-vegetarians.
- Use plant-based, shredded cheese in place of regular cheese.