Dinner Ideas: Au Gratin 101

Au Gratin 101: French Elegance Made Simple

The ideal dish is as appetizing to the eyes as is to our taste buds. Guests crowd around it in anticipation. Within minutes of being served, it’s gone. If you’re the one who brought this dish, sit back and collect your accolades. The family has voted and you’re now in charge of bringing this plate to every potluck and dinner. That perfect dish has both sealed your stardom and your fate. How do you serve the same thing every year without boring yourself or anyone else? We have the answer below.

First, start with what is undeniably one of the most amazing dishes ever: au gratin. Thank the French for this rich and comforting casserole with a browned, sometimes crunchy top and warm, cheesy layers in its center. Once you’ve secured a devoted fan base and have been elected family-function chairperson of all things au gratin, it’s time to get inventive. This dish is no one-trick pony. The technique can be used classically with potatoes…but you could use cauliflower, broccoli or other veggies instead.

Here are a few recipes that you will definitely want to keep in mind for both easy Thanksgiving recipes and everyday dinner ideas.

Easy Au Gratin Recipes

Hearty vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and squash provide an earthy, savory flavor that can’t be improved upon—until, of course, you add bacon. All together, this Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Squash Gratin is the ultimate creamy, cheesy, smoky, flavorful dish. This Thanksgiving, Brussels sprouts will never have never been more popular.

au gratin dinner ideas

Another way to serve up elegant Thanksgiving veggies, this Carrot & Parsnip Gratin is a beautiful combination of colors and flavors. Mildly sweet carrots and parsnips are balanced with a rich, creamy savory sauce. And instead of regular breadcrumbs, a topping of stuffing mix combined with butter and parsley gives each bite an extra flavorful and satisfying crunch.

dinner ideas au gratin

Cauliflower has a habit of stealing the show. But with a little help from cheese, it can play very well with others. This Easy Cauliflower & Broccoli au Gratin is proof of that. Here cauliflower teams up with broccoli and three types of cheese plus crushed crackers to keep this dish interesting and delicious.

au gratin dinner ideas

Sometimes nothing hits the spot like a tried-and-true classic—especially if you’ve got some picky eaters (of all ages) at the holiday table. Staple dishes like this Classic Potatoes au Gratin make a safe, yet amazingly tasty, choice. No need to get too wild and crazy here—this simple gratin knows what it’s about.

When fall rolls around, fennel is fresh and plentiful. Take advantage of the harvest with this Caramelized Fennel Gratin. Caramelizing fennel (along with some onions!) highlights its slightly sweet, anise flavor and makes it the perfect partner for luscious mayo, mustard and cheese. Topped with crunchy crackers, your new favorite fall dish has arrived.

How will you be getting down with gratin this season?

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