Turnips au gratin, turnips dauphinois, scalloped turnips, or the friendlier cheesy turnip bake: no matter how you call the recipe, this keto & low-carb take on the classic French potato casserole is going to surprise you!
With only a handful of ingredients, this keto scalloped turnips are incredibly easy to put together and perfect to make ahead! Just layer the turnip slices with cream and cheese, and be ready for a deliciously comforting casserole with a golden cheesy crust on top!
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Scalloped, au gratin, dauphinois, savoyard: what’s with all these names?
You might have come across all these terms when searching for this keto recipe. You might even have seen the charming “funeral potatoes” amongst them.
But how come such a simple dish of potatoes (or turnips), cream and cheese gets to be known by all these names? Well, blame the French 😄 Let me try to quickly summarize:
What does Au Gratin mean: Gratin comes from the French gratiner, which means to broil.
So whenever you top a dish with grated cheese (or with buttery breadcrumbs for the non-keto) and place it under the broiler to brown and crisp it up, you can add the “au gratin” tag at the end. See, you were cooking fancy all along!
Gratin is also the name of the specific type of shallow and/or oval dish that’s used to make a gratin recipe. This made me think that the meaning is tangled with that of the word scalloped. Here’s why –
What does scalloped mean: Scallop is a (delicious) mollusk, and it’s name comes from the Middle French word escalope, meaning shell.
In English scallop also means to cut or slice thinly (in scallops) – or to bake the food (like, scalloped potatoes) in sauce “in a baking dish shaped like a shell“. This left me guessing, is that a shallow gratin type dish? The plot thickens.
What’s the difference between gratin dauphinois and savoyard?
The gratin savoyard (named after Savoy, in the French Alps) and the gratin dauphinois (named after the Dauphiné region, near Provence) are very similar potato recipes. The main difference is that the gratin savoyard has cheese in it and the dauphinois doesn’t.
Something tells me that the people of Savoy are happier 😉
But there’s another difference: The potatoes savoyard version also takes beef or chicken broth, in addition to (or more often in place of) cream.
If I had to use one of the names for my keto cheesy turnip recipe, it would be a dauphinois avec du fromage. I didn’t want to add broth to the turnips. Unlike potatoes that are starchy and can absorb it, turnips being a low-carb vegetable would just sit in the broth and get soggy. And nobody wants that!
But really, all these names are more important to professional chefs than they are to us home cooks that just want to enjoy some hot and steamy creamy
potatoes turnips with crunchy cheese. So call it what you like!
Tips for the best keto scalloped turnips
Cut the turnips carefully to make the slices even. This will ensure the whole casserole is baked uniformly to the same soft and tender texture. Using a mandolin will make the process really easy!
Grate the cheese yourself: Store-bought shredded cheese usually has a coating, made of starch or cellulose, that prevents it from melting smoothly. And it might be just me, but it also makes it less tasty!
Use a deep baking dish: This keto turnip casserole will be bubbling away for a long time, and to prevent a mess in the oven I recommend leaving plenty of free vertical space inside the dish.
You’ll need only few ingredients for this mouthwatering keto cheesy casserole: (specific quantities are in the recipe card below)
- Turnips: the flavor of turnips varies with season and their size, for turnips that are sweeter (with less bite) choose younger, smaller ones
- Heavy cream (or whipping cream)
- Cheese: I love Gruyere and Parmesan for this keto gratin, but you can substitute Gruyere for mozzarella, gouda or raclette.
- Flavor: garlic, thyme, nutmeg (freshly grated!), salt and pepper.
I make this keto turnips au gratin recipe specially easy and simple by just mixing all the ingredients that will be layered: instead of adding cream, cheese and spices separately… you’ll just mix them all together and then spoon the creamy mix over the turnip layers. Nice, right?
How to make
Start by selecting a nice baking dish, preferably ceramic or glass as it keeps the heat. As I mentioned, I like using a deep dish for this recipe and in the pictures here you see a 9″ x 3″ -deep round dish. You can go any shape. The classic gratin dish style is oval and more shallow.
Preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
Peel the turnips with a vegetable/potato peeler. Then, using a very sharp knife or mandoline, slice them at about 1/8- to 1/4- inch thin slices.
You can also use a food processor for this. I have a good one, but honestly I think it’s more work to bring it out and setting up the disc blades than just slicing the turnips manually…
And shredding the cheese manually, too. I used a simple grater. You can do it faster with a box grater or… a food processor! If unlike me you can bring yourself to set it up, of course.
So, grab a bowl and add the heavy cream, white pepper, the garlic (your choice or powdered or freshly crushed), dry or fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and about 1/8 teaspoon worth of freshly grated nutmeg.
Add to the bowl nearly all of the grated Gruyere (or gouda, raclette, or mozzarella) and the Parmesan. Reserve some for topping the dish later. And mix all together, and the cheesy cream sauce is ready. Now, let’s layer!
Depending on the size of your dish, you can choose 3 or 4 layers.
It’s good to know how many layers you are going to make ahead of starting putting together the turnip casserole so you’ll know how much of the sauce you can add in between each. There’s nothing worse than running out of sauce!
I find difficult to visualize this, so what I do is I grab the dish I want to use and put all the sliced turnips inside, arranging them just so-so, to see if they fit well and how many layers I can make.
When ready, start by setting a single layer of sliced turnips in the dish. Place 1/4 (or 1/3 for 3 layers) of the sliced turnips. Try to not leave empty spaces, it’s fine if the turnips overlap.
Then spoon over 1/4 (or 1/3 for 3 layers) of the cheese and cream sauce mix. Repeat 3 (or 2) more times, intercalating the layers of turnip and creamy sauce.
Spread the remaining of the reserved cheese over the last layer, on top of the sauce, and cover the dish with foil, or with an oven safe lid.
Bake the keto turnip dauphinois for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the turnips are tender in the middle – you can test it with a fork.
Then, to make the delicious “gratin” cheese crust: remove the foil or lid and put the scalloped turnips under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or just until the gooey top cheese layer transforms into a crunchy golden brown crust.
This low-carb scalloped turnips recipe is perfect to make ahead! You have two options:
1. Just assemble the dish, and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 2 days until baking time. Remove from the fridge a couple of hours before baking, as the dish will be super cold. It might take a bit longer in the oven.
2. Assemble AND bake ahead: This is a good option too, because this dish keeps well. But the top crust won’t look as good after refrigerated, and the cheese will lose some of the crunchy texture.
So, if choosing to bake ahead, skip the last layer of cheese and the broiling when baking the dish, and just cook it until the turnips are tender. Let it cool down, then cover it and refrigerate (or freeze).
On the day you wish to serve, add the cheese on top before reheating. No need to cover with foil. If needed, broil until golden.
Storage and freezing
You know those casseroles that taste even better the next day? (Like, my keto cabbage lasagna?) Well, this is one of them. So, if you have left overs, you are in for a treat!
You can keep the scalloped turnips refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze the casserole for up to one month. Just make sure to make it airtight – if freezing in the baking dish, wrap some plastic film around it.
More keto potato side dishes
More turnips in a different suit: try these roasted turnips and garlic mash. A delicious low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes!
Radishes are also a great keto potato sub: believe it or not, they have less than 2 net carbs per 100 grams! Check out these loaded roasted radishes for an easy and colorful keto side dish!
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