An easy zucchini gratin recipe that’s keto friendly and takes just minutes to prepare. It’s a healthier alternative to the high carb au gratin recipes.
Isn’t saying low-carb gratin kind of an oxymoron? After all, the traditional au gratin dish is topped with breadcrumbs, along with cheese and cooked covered until perfectly golden brown.
Now, when most people think of au gratin, the dish that comes to mind is potatoes. But potatoes, in my opinion, are at the top of the list for being one of vegetables to avoid. That’s because the starch from potatoes can rapidly metabolize into sugar.
And for people such as myself who have decided to follow a low-sugar/low-starch diet (I had my thyroid removed and can put weight on easily; read more about me here), potatoes should definitely be avoided as much as possible.
But I’m here to tell you that it’s not necessary to make a traditional-tasting au gratin dish with potatoes. Just sub it out for a healthier veggie like I do in this zucchini gratin.
When replacing potatoes with a low-starch veggie, it sometimes help to partially cook the veggie first. And then, you can bake the low-starch veggie in the au gratin pan.
But before I show you the exact steps for the recipe, I’d like to talk (type) briefly about why I love cooking with this specific veggie.
Zucchini Gratin: Reasons To Use This Versatile Veggie
Zuke Philly Cheese Steak Boats? You gotta see it to believe it (and then taste it).
I’ve also transformed the nutrient-dense, low-calorie veggie into a healthier french fry, pizza slices, and cheese wedges. And I’ve of course created several low-carb pasta recipes with it using zoodles.
If you’re following a ketogenic lifestyle, it’s definitely one of the best low-carb veggies for a keto diet. So without further ado, let’s get cooking….
How to make cheesy zucchini gratin
If you want to feed your hungry family (like my wrestling coach husband and three kids each of which have voracious appetites) or a dinner party of 8, here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons of butter or ghee (clarified butter)
- a couple cloves of garlic
- either a tablespoon of onion flakes or 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh raw onion
- a half-cup of almond milk if you want a lighter dairy footprint (or make it richer by adding heavy cream)
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I haven’t personally used Daiya, the popular brand of vegan cheese substitute. If you do decide to use it please leave a comment on this post and let me know how it turns out and if you have to adjust the serving size.)
- And last but not least, 2 medium zucchinis sliced.
To make it, the first thing you need to do is in an oven-proof skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Then, add the garlic and onion and cook until you see that golden brown color (photos 1 & 2).
(The aromatic properties should at this point pleasingly waft up, tantalizing your olfactory system.)
At this point, you’ll want to add the almond milk (or cream). Place on simmer and continue to let it cook until it starts to boil (photo 3). Do not turn the stove top off just yet.
At this point, you’ll want to delicately and slowly add half the shredded cheese and stir until it melts (photos 4 & 5). Since my family has been avoiding dairy, I used non-dairy cheese shreds.
Next, stir in the veggie (photos 6 & 7). All the slices should be soaked and covered in the sauce. Stir frequently and cook on simmer setting for another 5 minutes.
Now it’s time to add the rest of the cheese (photo 8). And the final step in preparing this zucchini gratin is baking it in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes until the top is browned (photo 9).
Oh yeah, and one more thing: enjoy!
Final cooking tips
The reason I mention above that I’m interested in hearing from you if you’re using a vegan cheese substitute is I tried it myself.
And I have to be honest here, it didn’t turn out so well.
I found that the dairy-free cheese didn’t melt well in the oven. I’m going to research how to hack that but I’m curious if you have any solutions.
I’m not dairy-free but I do try to reduce my inflammatory load as much as possible. Organic cheese is probably fine to eat once in a while; I don’t really feel any bloating or other symptoms of inflammation if I keep my cheese intake to a minimum.
But the great thing about this zucchini gratin dish is it’s gluten-free. I suppose I could try to use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make it more of an authentic style dish. However, just because breadcrumbs are gluten-free does not mean they’re free of inflammation-inducing carbs.
Have you ever made a variation of this dish? I’d love to hear how you prepared it. Please share your experience in a comment below.
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon onion flakes or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh
- 1/2 cup almond milk or heavy cream for richer sauce
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 medium zucchini sliced
- In oven proof skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the garlic and onion and cook until browned and fragrant.
- Add the almond milk (or cream) and simmer until it starts to boil. Slowly add in 1 cup of the shredded cheese and stir until melted.
- Stir in the sliced zucchini until all are covered with the sauce. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top. Then bake in 400°F oven until top is browned (about 20 minutes).
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Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.