Low Sodium Swiss Potatoes Au Gratin
Cheese and potatoes? Yes! Did you ever think you’d be able to say that on a low sodium diet? I never thought I would say it. Cheese is a bane for us on a low sodium diet, because of the high amounts of sodium in most cheeses. As a heart transplant recipient, I also have to avoid cheeses with live mold cultures, or those that are unpasteurized. In order for me to recreate this traditional family holiday dish, I had to find a way to go low sodium. So here is my version of a low sodium Swiss Potatoes Au Gratin. It is sure to become a staple weeknight dinner dish, or will impress your guests on any holiday.
Traditional Au Gratin Potato Recipes
One traditional recipe I found in the Betty Crocker cookbook using Cheddar cheese and salted butter worked out to have 1061 mg of sodium. So in order to put this dish back on the dinner table, there needed to be some serious salt hacking involved.
The cheese answer was obvious. Swiss cheese is the star. Unsalted butter was a no-brainer, but what to do about the heavy cream sauce added to the cheese? I decided to make a roux. A roux is the basis of many french sauces and soups. You make it by cooking together equal parts of a fat (could be lard, etc.) and flour. We used the unsalted butter with the flour to make our roux. A roux thickens a sauce nicely when you add the milk and Swiss cheese.
Mastering a Mandolin
To make this dish quickly, I used a mandolin slicer. I like my potatoes and onions sliced thin so they cook up completely in the dish. I caution you ahead of time if you use one, to ALWAYS use the hand guard to protect your fingers. Consider that my little public service announcement.
Reclaiming Family Recipes For The Future
When I first started on the low sodium journey, I was convinced I would never be able to eat many of the comfort foods I grew up with. I bet you might have thought that too. Once I started hacking the salt from recipes and found out I could still make them taste great, it became easier and easier to succeed in reclaiming the recipes I used to enjoy. It gives me much more satisfaction now to perfect each dish, especially as it will help protect my heart (and hopefully yours and others as well)!
So, if it is a family dinner at home, or as a side dish for a holiday meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas, try out these low sodium Swiss potatoes au gratin:
The Recipe For Low Sodium Swiss Potatoes Au Gratin
- 4 large russet potatoes thinly sliced (I used a mandolin for this)
- 1 medium onion peeled and sliced thinly (I used a mandolin for this)
- 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese divided into 1 cup and reserve a half cup for the topping
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder salt free
- 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using a Mandolin, or with a knife, slice your potatoes and onion very thin (1/8 of an inch).
Grate the Swiss cheese and separate the 1 cup and half cup.
Have your milk, flour, butter, and cheese, pepper and garlic within hands reach of your sauce pan as you will be whisking this sauce continuously to ensure a silky smooth sauce.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook the roux, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add milk to the roux in small increments, stirring with a whisk until smooth between each addition. Once all of the milk has been added, bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring constantly.
Slowly add 1 cup of Swiss cheese to the sauce, stirring until melted. Add black pepper and garlic and mix into the sauce.
Remove the sauce from the heat.
Like you would do a lasagna, layer half of the potatoes in a lightly greased 9x9 casserole dish. Layer half of the onions on top, and pour half of the cheese sauce to cover the layer. Repeat layering with the same order of potatoes, onions, and sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining half cup of Swiss cheese on top.
Bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked and cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
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