At the risk of sounding like a complete food snob I just have a mild rant about slow cooker scalloped potato recipes on the internet. They all seem loaded with junky canned cream soup and loaded up with cheese. How unnecessary.
I have a stand-by scalloped potato recipe given to me by my mother which I have then made gluten-free and vegan. You will see my version down below. This is a home-tested, tried-and-true recipe and not loaded with processed canned ‘cream of’ soups.
Now granted, it took me a couple tries of using my mom’s traditional recipe to make it work perfectly in a slow cooker. But I think it’s safe to say that the sodium-laden, chemically-processed soups were unnecessary.
My mom’s recipe was intended for the oven. When I was oven-less for six weeks I thought this would be a perfect thing to try cooking in the slow cooker or Ninja. Her recipe uses a technique which I call ‘lazy bechamel’. Rather than mixing the butter and flour to make a roux and adding milk (thus making a bechamel or white sauce) then pouring it among the sliced potatoes and onions, her method included sprinkling flour and dotting with butter then pouring milk over the entire casserole dish. During the baking the milk bubbles and the butter melts and mixes with the flour that is sprinkled throughout the layers and it actually thickens up nicely and smoothly.
This method actually still works quite well in the slow cooker except you’ll want to watch how much milk you pour in. The amount of milk you use will depend on the size of your slow cooker. The number of layers of potatoes and onions will also depend on the size of your slow cooker. I made this in the Ninja and it is quite a bit bigger than my large 3-quart traditional slow cooker. I had three layers of potato with a half-layer of potato right on top.
Because the size of your slow cooker will determine how many layers of potato you have, it will also impact the cooking time. So, start at the low end of the recommended cooking time and check on your potatoes. If they’re tender and the sauce has thickened up nicely then you’re good. If not, leave it in for the remainder of the cooking time.
I am including instructions for cooking these scalloped potatoes with four different methods: traditional slow cooker, traditional casserole in an oven, the Ninja on the slow cooker setting and the Ninja on the oven setting.
Traditional Slow Cooker
- Butter your slow cooker insert generously with vegan margarine.
- Layer potato and onion.
- Sprinkle with gluten-free flour.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Dot with vegan margarine.
- Repeat layers until all potato is used up.
- Pour unsweetened non-dairy milk over to just the last layer – not to cover.
- Press the potato layers down gently.
- Set slow cooker to High and cook for 4-5 hours.
Traditional Casserole in Oven
- Butter a 3 quart covered casserole.
- Layer the potato and onion as outlined above.
- Bake in 375°F oven for 1 1/2 hours.
- With 15 minutes left in the cooking time, remove the casserole lid to let the top brown up.
Ninja (Slow Cooker)
- Follow the traditional slow cooker methods but do not butter the insert.
- Set the Ninja to Slow Cooker to High and cook for 4-5 hours.
- Follow the traditional casserole method but do not butter the insert.
- Set the Ninja to Oven at 350°F and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
- With 15 minutes left in the cooking time, remove the lid and let the steam escape to allow the liquid to thicken up more if necessary.
My mom’s recipe never included grated cheese or cream soup. It never included bacon. Is it turbo-healthy? Probably not, yet I still view it as a purist version of scalloped potatoes and one that I enjoyed immensely growing up and still enjoy this gluten-free and vegan version today either baked in the oven or in my slow cooker.
The recipe below is for slow cooker or Ninja Slow Cooker methods.
- 6-8 red potatoes, skin intact, scrubbed and sliced thinly
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour, divided (based on a four-layer dish)
- Salt and pepper
- 6 tablespoons vegan margarine, divided
- 4-5 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)
- Layer potato and onion in a single layer.
- Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of gluten-free flour.
- Season with salt and pepper. You'll be doing this at every layer so don't go too crazy with the seasoning.
- Dot with 1½ tablespoons of vegan margarine.
- Repeat layers until all of the potato and onion is used up.
- Pour unsweetened non-dairy milk over to just the last layer - not to cover.
- Press the potato layers down gently.
- Set slow cooker (or Ninja set to Slow Cooker) to High and cook for 4-5 hours.
Win A Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System!
Thanks to the kind folks at Ninja I’m excited to be able to offer one Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System for free to one of my readers! I’ll be drawing one winner and making the announcement here on the blog in early March, 2013.
You can have up to five (5) entries into this draw. Use the handy dandy Rafflecopter widget below to participate in this giveaway.
This draw is open to residents of the United States only. I am sorry fellow Canadians. I promise I’ll make it up to you.