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Creamy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Today we're talking potatoes.

Why have these lovely spuds that emerge from the earth gotten such a bad rap over the years?  Carbs!  Starches!  Ah!

But wait.  I don't think the potato is the actual problem.  It's the toppings!  Those greasy, cheesy, oil-laden toppings.  You know, the ones that taste so good.  Oh, and probably french fries.  Don't blame the spud!

And maybe you weren't aware but potatoes are actually chock full of healthy goodness like protein, fiber, iron, vitamin C, and potassium [more than a banana!].  Yes, even those starchy, white russet potaters.  

So, here we are today with a pile of potatoes and a recipe that will show you how to make a rich and comforting recipe without the greasy toppings.  No cheese, no butter, no bacon.  

Such a party pooper.


On the upside, we're combining simple ingredients with big flavor to make a crowd pleasing dish that can fit almost anyone's diet.  

It's a new take on scalloped potatoes using butternut squash and cashews to create a luscious cream sauce that is infused with onion, garlic, sage, and thyme.

I mean, what could go wrong with those ingredients?  I knew it would at least be edible.

See?  Luscious.

Now, I know what you're thinking!  But do I have to peel and cube and roast an entire butternut squash??


Enter cubed frozen butternut squash.  For a recipe where the squash is placed in a blender and pulverized I find it completely unnecessary to go through the whole peel/cube/roast process.  Unless that is your zen.

This way, you'll likely save money and definitely save time.  When it comes to cooking for Thanksgiving shortcuts are always appreciated.  Am I right?

The potatoes are sliced, then layered, and sent to the oven to bake.  A little broil action finishes things off and creates a crispy top layer.  

I could not stop taking bites of this while photographing.  And then cold out of the fridge hours later.  I'm sure I'll be snagging bites first thing in the morning while I'm waiting for my waffle to cook, too.  Help!

You're about to have some thankful friends + family.

Print this!

Creamy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes with Butternut Squash and Sage Cashew Cream Sauce gluten-free, vegan // yields ~8 side dish portions

  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • scant 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme 
  • 5 cups 1/2-inch cubed frozen butternut squash*, defrosted -- about 20oz
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 3-4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • small handful of sage leaves and 1 tablespoon oil, optional

Heat a 9-10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat and add the oil.  Once hot, place the onion and salt and pepper in the pan and stir frequently for about 10 minutes until onions are softened and starting to brown.  Stir in the sage, garlic, and thyme for about 1 minute until fragrant. Preheat your oven to 350* F.  Remove onions from the heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Place the defrosted squash in a high-power blender along with the onion mixture, soaked and drained cashews, and 1/4 cup of milk.  Blend until fully smooth, stirring and scraping the blender to keep things moving.  Add more milk if needed.  The sauce should be very thick but pourable. Set aside.

Slice potatoes with a sharp knife or mandolin slicer into 1/8-inch slices [important!].  Lightly oil the same cast iron pan you cooked the onions in or a 9-10 inch baking dish or pie pan.  Assemble potatoes overlapping slightly in a single layer covering the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with salt + pepper.  Pour a scant 1 cup of the sauce over top and spread evenly with a spatula.  Repeat 3 more times [4 layers total].  Cover the top with remaining sauce--about 1 cup--and smooth out.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 1 hour until potatoes are tender.  Test a potato for doneness.

While the potatoes cook heat a small pan over medium-high heat with the oil.  Line a plate with a doubled-over paper towel.  Once the pan is hot add the leaves and let cook until crispy on both sides.  This happens quickly--about a minute--so watch closely.  Place on the paper towel.  After the potatoes have finished baking turn your oven to broil, remove the foil, smooth the top layer of sauce, and broil for just a few minutes until golden brown.  Watch closely.  Remove and let cool slightly before serving.  Top with fried sage leaves, salt and pepper, and serve.

notes: *Frozen, bagged butternut squash has been slightly blanched before bagging and freezing.  If you're using fresh butternut squash it is important to blanch the squash until cooked about 1/2 way, or more if desired.  Let cool before blending.  To soak cashews: Submerge in water in a bowl and let sit on the counter for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Drain before using.  To defrost the squash: Place in your refrigerator the day before using, or let sit on the counter for a few hours the day of until room temp.  Drain any resulting liquid.


What are your favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal?  Any recipes you're hoping to see posted here before the big day?


Reader Comments (47)

Dang, this looks and sounds scrumptious. And I was thinking I've been eating way too many potatoes as of late so your words have made me feel so much better about it all...
November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJade Sheldon-Burnsed
This looks indescribably good. You have blown my mind!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah
I saw this on instagram and was ridiculously excited! I love that you used butternut and cashews for the creamy sauce. And sage! Oh how I love sage!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma
OMG OMG OMG OMG!! You have made my life!! Can't want to try this!!!!!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey
@Jade - We eat baked potatoes every week for dinner [with sides of course]. They're so easy and filling! :)

@Sarah - Woot!

@Emma - I adore sage as well. First time breaking it out this season!

@Kelsey - I may or may not have had you in mind with this recipe. ;)
November 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
This looks amazing! My dad is vegan and I'm excited to share this recipe with my family.
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC.
Thank you for singing the joys of plain potatoes. I get the bad rap, with those awful appetizers everywhere, dripping with grease and the lowly french fry that hardly anyone does well, but a good potato, topped with roasted vegetables and a pinch of good smoked sea salt is a delight of taste and flavor.

AND? A pitch for frozen vegetables! Love this. There's some great options out there, organic, natural and simple to use and EVERYONE! Let's be DONE with bashing frozen vegetables. They're awesome.
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate
This is just amazingness in a skillet!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErika
This looks so good, I'm going to the grocery store to get the ingredients now!
These are beautiful- and I look forward to playing around more with cashew cream! The flavors HAVE to be incredible based on the ingredients, just like you said. Yum!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa @ Uproot from Oregon
I love this vegan version of scalloped potatoes, I bet the cashew cream and butternut squash makes it so creamy! Pinning this for Christmas this year, scalloped potatoes are a family favourite but it's so hard to find a good vegan version. I have the same problem with taking bites of food while I photograph. ;)
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaty
I just can't get enough of Thanksgiving recipes, especially vegetarian + dairy-free ones! I made your pumpkin sage risotto (subbed coconut oil for ghee and made my own vegan parmesan to top it with) for Thanksgiving last year and it was a huge hit! This recipe looks incredible too. Keep 'em coming! I would love to see is your whole thanksgiving menu for the day of.
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJo
oh my gosh, this looks incredible! Good idea using the frozen butternut squash to save time with the sauce!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeanine
I usually don't get SUPER excited about taters unless they're the sweet variety...but these are definitely an exception! The butternut sauce definitely does it for me.
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne
creamy AND vegan!? it's magical!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLivi
I love plain potatoes - so good!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdeva
Oh man. This. Looks. Amazing. As I was scrolling down my mouth kept watering more and more. Definitely planning on making this sometime soon!
These look so delicious.
For the squash, if you can't/don't want to go the frozen cubed route, could you not roast it halved, and then puree it, like you do for other winter squash?
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHellyweg
@Kate - Yes! Some frozen veggies are so great to have on hand!

@Jeanine - Such a time saver!!

@Jo - Oooh, love that recipe and glad you did too!

@Livi - :) :)

@Hellyweg - Yes, you can definitely use fresh squash. You could roast or steam the cubes and follow the recipe after that!
November 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
LUSCIOUS! I was just thinking this morning how much I love potatoes. I can't wait to try this...that sauce is calling my name.
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
Confession- I've read this post at least five times today. I just need the weekend to get here so I can make this pan of heaven!!!!!!!!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey
Um, yum!! Never surprised by the awesome recipes you post. :)
Recipe ideas for Thanksgiving? I need a super delicious roll/biscuit/scone/bread item to go with dinner. I am also still trying to nail down my dessert menu. I have pies covered, but always like to have something else that is small/picky/cookie item for those that just want a little something sweet without a huge slice of pie. I'm sure anything you post between now and the holiday will be fantastic!
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia @i_heart_kale
Scalloped potatoes are my husbands FAVORITE food. When we gave up dairy, I thought that was the end of scalloped potatoes for him. Should have known you'd have an idea up your sleeve about a vegan potato dish! Thank you! I'm looking forward to trying this! Also, how awful was it to clean your cast iron skillet after this? I love baking dishes like this in my cast iron skillet, but I always dread the clean up.
November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca
Looks amazing! Potatoes and healthful goodness in the same plate? Count me in for trying this at home! Not too sure about the raw cashews, though- never used them raw in any recipe I've tried.
November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon Chew
This has been added to my list of recipes to make for thanksgiving! I adore sage and potatoes together!
@Kelsey - Hahaha, love it!

@Amelia - I've got you covered!! My "everything" doughnuts are the perfect dinner roll. If you don't want too much of the garlic/onion flavor just decrease them by 1/2. They're fluffy and buttery and a total crowd pleaser. :) Also, this "Rosemary Everything Quick Bread." I made it last year numerous times an it also works well in a muffin tin.

@Rebecca - Not awful at all! Do you have a plastic pan scraper? It works wonders. :) Do you keep your pan well-seasoned/greased? I use that pan for just about everything! :)

@Jon - You don't taste cashew flavor at all. It just helps with the creaminess!

@Christina - Awesome, enjoy!
November 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
Plastic pan scraper? Whaa? Never heard of it. I TRY to keep my pan well seasoned. I clean it with oil and heat in the oven (almost) every time after I use it. But it's still not perfectly non-stick. We're getting there though! I try to use if for just about everything so it has plenty of opportunities to get nice and seasoned. :) I will try this out in there and let you know! Thanks!
November 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca
i have a can of butternut squash soup can i use this instead of an actual squash?
November 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertalia
@Talia - I think using soup would make the sauce too thin. You could use canned butternut squash though, although I'm not sure exactly how much. Somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 cans I'm thinking.
November 21, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
OMG. Get in my belly! This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe! Cheers :)
November 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie @ Produce On Parade
this looks delish. is there a way i can make it without a cast iron pan?? thanks!
November 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
@Heather - Yes, definitely! Just use any 9-10" baking dish and cook the onions in any saute pan you have. It should give the same result! :)
November 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
Do you pre-cook the squash or use it raw? Might be a dumb question. I don't plan in freezing it. Thank u!
November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSydney
@Sydney - The frozen butternut squash is quickly blanched before being frozen. I would do the same in your kitchen, blanching it and then letting cool and blending with the sauce.
November 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
May I ask what kind of food processor or blender you are using? I've been at it for 30 minutes or so, and I am still having major difficulties getting my sauce to a creamy consistency. I've sent it through my food processor as well as my blender. I soaked the cashews for eight hours, and my butternut squash was never frozen (just cubed and refrigerated). Help?
December 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranon
@Anon - The frozen butternut squash specified in the post has been slightly blanched [like other frozen veggies] before bagging. The squash is not fully raw. I would say it's about 1/2 way cooked. Sorry for any confusion with the recipe! The commenter just before you had a similar question about pre-cooking from fresh squash. I'll be sure to add some more notes about this in the recipe. A high-powered blender is definitely needed to make this sauce fully smooth, like a Vita-Mix, Blendtec, Ninja, Nutri Bullet, etc. Hope this helps and sorry for the trouble!
December 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
This looks so delicious! husband is not a fan of butternut squash, it's a tad too sweet for him, crazy, I know. Anyway, Is there a substitution you can recommend?
December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathie
@Katie - Are sweet potatoes a no-go as well? I'm sure regular or sweet potatoes would work. You'll want to partially blanch them before using in the recipe [about 1/2 way cooked].
December 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
Excellent! Just had it for dinner and if was SO GOOD. I only had dry herbs on hand so I used less to taste. This is a keeper. Thank you.
March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNona
Wonderful! I was so excited to find a vegan scalloped potato that actually looked taste-y! My girls have so many allergies and Great Grandma wanted scalloped potatoes for Easter dinner, so I went on an adventure and found YOU! We did use sweet potato instead of butternut squash,
because I had a pre-cooked sweet potato in my fridge and was short on time. Super, super, super! We made everyone happy, happy, happy on Easter - thanks to you! Blessings.
April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStacy
I made your recipe, but I was disappointed. After an hour in the oven at 350, the potatoes were barely even warm and completely raw. I had to put it back in for another hour at 400 before they were done. Additionally, I felt the sauce badly lacked salt and pepper. But it definitely had potential with a bit of tweaking!
October 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel
@Laurel - I'm so sorry this recipe didn't turn out for you. Just had a few questions and thoughts to help try and solve the cooking problem. Were your potatoes evenly sliced at 1/8-inch thickness? Have you had any other problems cooking things in your oven? Baking for an entire hour at 350* definitely should have cooked this dish. What size pan did you use? I've made this a handful of times and haven't run into any problems with the cook time or temperature. Salt + pepper use always vary between every individual. I tend to err on the side of less salt in the recipe ingredient list when it's easy to taste + add a bit more to your liking, like with the sauce in this recipe. I always say to add more salt and pepper to taste. Also, since I mentioned in the directions to salt + pepper each layer as you're assembling the dish I didn't want the sauce to be too heavily salted. Thanks for trying out the recipe and leaving feedback!
October 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterAshley
I'm allergic to sage is there some other herb that would work as well or should I just use extra thyme?
November 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
Made this last week, it was delicious!
December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
This looks really yummy! Would canned pumpkin work as a substitute for the frozen blanched butternut squash? I don't have a fancy blender, and I'd really like to try serving this instead of our traditional scalloped potatoes for Christmas dinner so my son's girlfriend can enjoy them (she's allergic to dairy). Thanks :-)
December 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVickie B.
@Melissa - Awesome! Thanks for letting me know!

@Vickie - I would maybe use canned sweet potato or canned butternut squash. The only problem is I don't know exactly how much puree to use...You end up spreading 1 cup on each of the 4 layers, so with the other ingredients in the sauce I'm thinking you need about 2 1/2 cups of straight sweet potato or butternut puree. Pumpkin could also work, but potato/butternut would have a sweeter flavor. I wouldn't skip adding the cashews/onions/etc. into the sauce, though. It will totally change the outcome! Hope this helps!
December 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterAshley
I made this for my extended family (I'm the only one who eats vegan) over the holidays, and everyone loved it! It has been hard for me to find vegan recipes that are similar in taste and texture to their non-vegan counterparts, but this recipe is WAY BETTER than traditional scalloped potatoes. It will become an addition to my entertaining menu.
January 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

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