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white squared casserole dish with sweet potato and fennel gratin with a crumb topping and garnished with fennel fronds. there is a large stainless steel serving spoon in the left corner of the dish which has removed a slice of the grain and a light beige cloth napkin to the left of the dish

Sweet Potato and Fennel Gratin (Grain free, AIP, paleo, dairy free)

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5 from 1 review


This AIP and Paleo Sweet Potato and Fennel Gratin is a dairy free, grain free delight. It’s creamy, savory and sweet all at once and a delicious side dish that deserves a spot at your (holiday) table.



Sweet Potato Fennel Gratin 

  • 2 TBSP olive oil 
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds Japanese sweet potatoes (about 2 very large or three medium) 
  • 2 large bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced (about 4 cups) 
  • 2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder  

“Cheese” Sauce 

  • 1 cup full fat, additive free coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP tapioca + 1/2 TBSP water

Crumb Topping 

  • 3 cups unsweetened Lovebird cereal 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil on medium heat and sauté onions until caramelized, stirring frequently, – about 10 minutes.
  3. Add thinly sliced fennel, sea salt, thyme, basil, garlic and onion powder and a splash of water. Lower heat to low-medium and allow the fennel to cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes more.
  4. As the fennel and onions cook, thinly slice your sweet potatoes.* Set the potatoes aside as you finish the sauce.
  5. Once fennel is tender, add in coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  6. Combine tapioca starch with water to make a slurry and pour into the pot, stirring consistently until the mixture begins to thicken.
  7. Immediately pour mixture over the sliced potatoes, using your hands to combine. Taste and add more salt as necessary.
  8. Transfer potatoes and the “cheesy” onion and fennel sauce into a large baking dish, using a spatula or your hands to really pack the potatoes down.
  9. Bake for one hour.
  10. As the dish bakes, prepare crumb topping. Add cereal to food processor and pulsing until it is crushed into a fine meal. Then add sea salt and olive oil and pulse to combine.**
  11. After an hour, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the crumb topping on top. Bake another 10-15 minutes.
  12. Allow to set 10 minutes before serving.


*I recommend using a mandoline to do this as you want the potatoes to be about a 1/16 of an inch in thickness. If you have the time, patience and a sharp knife, you can go that route too!

** If you don’t have access to Lovebird cereal, you can use crushed plantain chips or AIP sourdough bread as a great alternatives.


  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Category: Sides