Vegan Zucchini Gratin

Vegan Zucchini Gratin

When you hear the word ‘gratin,’ what do you think? Cheesy, breadcrumb-laden goodness made of 10% vegetables and 90% butter? Yeah, me too. That’s why my tastebuds are usually drawn to this comforting dish but my stomach is turned away.

However, I’ve been thinking of a way to vegan-ize gratin while keeping it simple, natural, flavorful and gluten free. No easy task, but I think I’ve cracked the code.

Vegan Cashew ParmesanThe magic starts with vegan parmesan cheese. Have you tried it?

Dairy-free and vegan friends, if you haven’t you are simply missing out on fairy dust GOLD. Trust me, I have loved parmesan for years. I used to put it on my eggs at breakfast, my soup at lunch, and my potatoes and salads at dinner. Don’t get me started on how much I put on my pizza. I adore its salty, slightly dry goodness on anything and everything, and have a discerning tongue for how it should taste.

Considering this, I had low expectations for how this vegan version would perform.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese How To!

This – 4 ingredient wonder bomb – actually tastes like parmesan and acts like it in cooking, too!

While it won’t melt into pasta sauces and other hot dishes, it will absolutely toast up and get a nice color. And the most important part, the taste is spot on. If you haven’t tried vegan parm, get some in your life. I adapted this version in this recipe from Veggieful. Go there for a video demo of how to make the stuff.

Sprinkle Parmesan Vegan Cheese | 4 Ingredients, 1 minute

One last note, nutritional yeast is a wonder food if you haven’t already heard. It’s high in folic acid, contains 9 grams of protein per 2 Tablespoons – that’s more than an egg! – , contains 3 grams of fiber per serving, and boasts an entire day’s worth of Vitamin B-12 (crucial for red blood cell production) in just 1 Tablespoon. I mean, c’mon. And it tastes like cheese? I mean…

So even if you aren’t vegan or dairy free, you should consider incorporating even a little bit of nutritional yeast into your daily diet.

Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Once you have your parm ready, move onto your veggies. I opted for yellow and zucchini squash as a base and asparagus for accent because it’s just so beautiful (and cheap!) this time of year. Oh asparagus, I could paint you you’re so pretty.

Asparagus GratinZucchini Gratin

The other veggie in the mix is onion, which I sauteed to make a nice savory “crust” or base for the asparagus and zucchini to nestle on. This replaces the need for breadcrumbs, puff pastry or pie crust which some veggie tarts require, keeping things light, natural and veggie-focused just the way my body likes it.

Caramelized OnionsZucchini Asparagus Gratin | #vegan

Once the onions are sauteed, simply toss your veggies in a bit of olive oil and arrange them in a pretty pattern on top. It doesn’t have to be perfect.  In fact, it shouldn’t be. Just put them in a pattern that makes you happy.

Vegan Zucchini Asparagus Gratin | Grain and Dairy Free and SO so delicious

Then, the fun part. Top that baby with loads of vegan parm. I mean LOADS. Do your thang girl.

Vegan Zucchini Gratin with Vegan Parmesan Cheese! Easy, healthy and ridiculously deliciousVegan Zucchini Gratin! Simple ingredients, so many veggies, topped with vegan parmesan cheese!

Then bake bake bake until golden brown and toasty. You guys are gonna love this dish. It’s:

Packed with veggies
Entirely guilt free
Perfectly ‘cheesy’
Super satisfying
Lovely for spring and summer

In my opinion, it’s just what we need to get us past the last of these icky winter days and into warmer weather. Cheers!

Easy Vegan Parmesan Gratin! 10 ingredients, under 1 hour and SO delicious #veganEasy Vegan Spring Gratin | zucchini, asparagus and vegan parmesan cheese

5.0 from 6 reviews

Vegan Zucchini Asparagus Gratin
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


10-ingredient vegan, gluten free gratin loaded with zucchini, asparagus and onion. So easy, quick and delicious.
Recipe type: Entree / Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 4-6

  • For the Gratin:
  • 2 medium zucchini squash, sliced in thin rounds (I used 1 zucchini, 1 yellow)
  • 1 small bundle asparagus
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, cut into thin rings
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 3/4-1 cup vegan Parmesan cheese (recipe below)
  • 2.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • For the Vegan Parmesan Cheese:
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  1. Prepare vegan parmesan cheese by whirling all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until a fine meal or powder is formed. Don’t over-process or it will begin to get clumpy. Set aside. Will keep covered in the fridge for about a month.
  2. In a 10-inch cast iron or oven safe skillet, sauté onion in .5 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat until soft – about 10 minutes – seasoning with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Slice squash into very thin slices, about 1/8th-inch thick (see photo). Use mandolin if you have one, or just a sharp knife.
  5. Cup off the top 2-3 inches of the asparagus. That’s the only part you’ll be using. Save the rest for another dish. Carefully split the top portion in half so it nestles into the gratin better (optional).
  6. Add asparagus and squash to a mixing bowl and top with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, pinch of black pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional), and 2 Tbsp of the vegan parmesan cheese. Toss to coat.
  7. Spread the slightly cooled onions around in the bottom of the skillet to create an even base. Top with squash, layering green and yellow as you go (if you did two colors). It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just start on the outside and work your way in, keeping them in line as much as possible. Once the squash is arranged, tuck pieces of the asparagus into the layers in a circular motion (see photo).
  8. Top with an even layer of the vegan parmesan cheese (~3/4 cup) and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then broil on high for the last 1-2 minutes to toast up the top (optional, but recommended). Watch closely as it can burn quickly. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.
  9. This makes an excellent side dish, brunch item, or light lunch or dinner when accompanied with a protein, such as hummus or chickpea salad, or scrambled or fried eggs if not vegan. Reheats well in the microwave or oven.

Parmesan recipe adapted from Veggieful

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/5th of the dish Calories: 157 Fat: 12 g Saturated fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 8.8 g Sugar: 2.8 g Sodium: 587 mg Fiber: 2.4 g Protein: 3.5 g


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  1. says

    Cashews + nooch = the best stuff ever. When I make kale chips, that, as well as some pulverized red peppers, all in a blender, is the best coating. I need to remember to stop before adding those and just do like you did here with the nuts and nooch and use as parm!

    So, so beautiful! Lovely food styling (and patience!) and so eye catching! pinned

    • Dana Shultz says

      Right? It’s like magic. Glad we agree, Averie :D Great tip on the kale chips. I haven’t made those in ages but I should!

  2. says

    This is beautiful, and though I am not a vegetarian I am intrigued to try the parmesan! The ease of your recipes are so wonderful, as are your photos.

  3. says

    This gratin looks so delicious! Chashew + Nutritional Yeast Parmesan sounds amazing. I love finding (homemade!) cheese alternatives, and this one is definitely going on my “must try” list!

  4. Trisha says

    I nearly just fell out of my desk chair looking at the photos! YUM!
    Do you think adding some broccoli would work well? (hubby doesn’t like squash)
    Maybe lowering the temp so it doesn’t burn?

    • Dana Shultz says

      Broccoli? Hmmm, I do, but it doesn’t cook as quickly as zucchini does. I would suggest lowering the temp and thinly slicing and even blanching the broccoli beforehand so it doesn’t taste just browned but still raw. Hope that helps! Thanks for the kind words, Trisha!

  5. says

    I’m a huge fan of Parmela vegan parmesan (comes in spicy red, pesto and original), but it’s lovely you can make your own parmesan with the flavor you want! Comforting dishes like veggie gratin are gonna be in my stomach soon!

  6. says

    What a stunning dish. I could eat nutritional yeast by the spoonful, so I’m sure I’d love that vegan parm (hello, popcorn!!!). I can’t wait to make all of this, Dana! Thank you for sharing your beautiful recipes.

  7. says

    This is completely beautiful! I love your homemade parmesan cheese. That’s awesomeness. Nutritional yeast is my jam. I eat probably too much of the stuff, if that’s possible. Todd told me I should try to get distributor pricing on it, haha.

      • says

        Dana, do you have a good source to buy it in a bulk goods section there in KC? That is usually the most affordable option, but I speak as a northwestener where the availability of formerly-known-as-hippie-foods is much higher. :)

  8. says

    What a beautiful dish! I haven’t had much luck with vegan parm yet but I haven’t tried it with cashews. I can see how delicious it looks!

  9. says

    Parmesan was like mother’s milk in our house. My dad nearly disowned me when I went vegan – because we could no longer bond over the sacred Sprinkling of the Parm. Maybe I can lure him (partly anyway) over to the Dark Side with a little sneaky vegan version.

  10. Allison says

    This is Fantastico! I made it tonight, my husband even said it was a keeper, and he’s not vegan. And a Double thanks for the perfect parmesan cheese recipe! !

  11. SUNNIE says

    This recipe is simply awesome. This one will be added to my favorites. A big thank you to the creator of this dish. My husband and I had this for dinner and he loved it as well he had two helpings and he is not vegan but I am.

  12. says

    I’m BLOWN AWAY by this concept. I want this and a fork and some me time (which is ridiculous because I also always want ice cream and me time).

    I’m going to try this out with some other veggies too… squash and zukes are not always my go-to. Sweet potatoes! Broccoli! Cauliflower!

  13. Leigh says

    That’s a seriously beautiful faux gratin. I am definitely making this and soon. I haven’t had much luck with vegan parm but this recipe and your reco will have me try one more time… I want to like it. I really do. Here’s hoping! ;)

  14. says

    Oh, I love the twist on a dish that I’ve never been a big fan of either. Think I may need to give this a go, especially as it has two of my fav vegies, zucchini and asparagus. Yum!

  15. says

    Wow, this looks DELICIOUS!! I miss gratin so much, I can’t have wheat or dairy… however this dish looks SUPERB!! Totally making this for dinner next week :) Your recipes inspire me so much!!

  16. Katherine B says

    AHH that “parm” is my FAVORITE thing to sprinkle on stuff. But I usually just call it “my cashew crumbly stuff” so people don’t expect it to be… cheese. I’m surprised you think the taste is so similar! It’s really good with herbs de provence instead of garlic powder, too. :)

  17. says

    A healthy zucchini gratin? I am soo impressed right now. This is one of my favourite dishes and I’m so happy you healthified and veganified it in such a beautiful way! Very excited to try this recipe. And by the way, I am having major pan-envy for your gorgeous pan used in these photos! :D

  18. says

    Hello Dana!

    I want to try this one, but I can’t find nutritional yeast over here (I live in Colombia, I’ve asked around and not even the healthy eating stores have it). Do you think I could replace it with brewers yeast?

    Thanks for your wonderful recipes!

  19. says

    Just tried this recipe tonight (with regular parmesan though) and it was absolutely delicious! I also made the three color pasta last week and is was very tasteful! Thanks for your great recipes, Minimalist Baker ! :)

  20. says

    I made the Zucchini Asparagus dish and I am madly in love with it. Even though it didn’t look quite as good as yours, I will definitely make it again and again!!!! Thank you!!!!

    • Dana Shultz says

      Ha! I meticulously layered mine which I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for pictures! Glad you enjoyed this, Cindy :D

  21. Kim P says

    This is arguably one of the best dishes I’ve ever made! I halved the recipe because I was cooking for 2 people, but made the full portion of cheese. Glad I did because that stuff is great! It went on my tofu/spinach scramble this morning! Wonderful!!

  22. Christine. H. says

    I made this today for my hubby’s birthday party and EVERYONE loved it!! Even the guys who love their “meat & potatoes” raced about it. :-D. The only thing I did different with my vegan parmesan was I add almond meal because I could not find raw cashew near our town. It still turned delicious and I am excited about using this seasoning on it other pasta salad dishes. :-D. Well done, another big hit!

    • Dana Shultz says

      Wow, what a compliment! When meat-eating men love my dishes, that’s a major stamp of approval! Thanks for sharing, Christine! And happy birthday to your hubby :D

  23. Maegyn says

    This looks amazing! But then, all of your dishes do! Would the vegan Parm turn out okay with roasted cashews? Or are raw cashews preferable ?

  24. Teresa says

    I just made this today and it was so, so delicious! The parmesan substitute is wonderful, and I think my favorite part of the whole dish is the onions, especially when they are all coated with parmesan. Thank you for the great recipe!

  25. Deanna says

    I cannot find the Parmesan recipe. I see adapted from veggieful but the page is missing. Please give me the recipe. I have one I use but am always looking for improvements. Thank you

  26. Allie says

    Will try this parmesan cheese! Looks tasty…
    There is also another vegan topping one can use on some pasta dishes–in Sicily, it was called the ‘poor man’s parmesan cheese’–toasted breadcrumbs (think panko mixed with EVOO and toasted or sauteed until brown.)
    It goes especially well with seafood pastas (still used in Sicilian cooking.)

  27. Melissa says

    Thank you so much for the parmesan recipe, it’s fantastic. I can’t believe I’ve done without it until now! I didn’t have cashews in the house so I used almond meal instead, but it still tastes great. I’ll have to try it with cashews next time.

  28. says

    Just when I thought being a half-assed vegan was boring, I discovered your site and your vegan parmesan cheese! I loved the cheese and this squash recipe and will be making it often and making extra for lunches. I like my veggies on the crunchy side so the next time I think I’ll cut down the baking time a bit. The most difficult part was making it look pretty, so in the future I’m just going to mix it all up and toss it into a baking pan, along with more asparagus.

    • Dana Shultz says

      Thanks for sharing Sue! So glad you enjoyed this recipe. I have started putting vegan parmesan on EVERYTHING! I think I made a double batch and it’s gone in less than a few weeks!

  29. Carol Pearson says

    I’m still looking for the fourth ingredient. You mentioned there were four ingredients. Only find nutritional yeast, cashews and salt. That is 3.


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