potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Having the gang over for dinner? Here’s the perfect dish to go along side of your favorite roast or grilled meats. It’s actually hearty enough to be served by itself. Really. This Potato Gratin with Haricots Verts & Ham has it all.

The finished dish is rich and flavorful without adding a pat of butter or a splash of heavy cream. The potatoes actually taste creamy after simmering in low-fat milk then baking in the oven covered with a light layer of nutty gruyere. The original recipe for this potato gratin comes from an old issue of Cooking Light magazine. Those guys have always been the geniuses when it comes to lightening up those traditional comforting dishes. Of course, I tweaked it here and there …it just seemed to need a bit more beans and ham. So glad I did.

potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Haricots Verts vs Green Beans…

Just in case you’re wondering what those haricots verts are all about …they’re basically the french version of our green beans. They tend to be longer and very slender in comparison. They also are more tender with an increased robust flavor. You can use either one here. Keep in mind, though, that the regular green beans will need a few extra minutes of blanching before adding them to the final dish.

potato gratin with haricots verts & hampotato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Creamy potatoes without butter or heavy cream…

You’re most likely wondering how this is possible. No butter? No heavy cream? It’s true. You’ll be simmering the sliced potatoes in a bath of low-fat milk that is flavored with some sliced garlic and a few bay leaves. The key to your success is to have thin slices of potato that are uniform in size. Unless you are a trained chef, those perfect slices are very difficult to achieve using just a knife. I always use my mandoline slicer for this task. Please be careful …that blade is super sharp.

Proceed with caution…

When the sliced potatoes are finished simmering in the milk mixture, they will be very tender. They can easily break apart so it’s a good idea to set the most intact slices aside to use on the top layer. Be sure to place your colander over a large heatproof bowl to catch the drippings as you drain them. You’ll need some of that cooked milk mixture to add to your baking dish later.

A note on those beans…

Whether you are using haricots verts or regular old green beans, they need to be partially cooked before adding them to your potato gratin. Since the green beans tend to be thicker, they require an extra few minutes of blanching. 

potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Layer it up…

This potato gratin basically consists of two layers of potatoes with all of the beans and ham sandwiched between. Some of the cheese is added with them with the rest sprinkled over the top layer.

potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Almost there…

Once the layers are complete, it’s time for that reserved milk mixture. You’ll use one cup with some ground nutmeg blended in for extra deliciousness. If you don’t have a full cup of the reserved mixture, just add enough milk to make up the difference. It is then poured evenly over the top layer and it’s ready to be covered then placed in your preheated oven.

potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

You now have Potato Gratin With Haricots Verts & Ham…

Let this beauty stand for about ten minutes before digging in. You won’t believe how rich and creamy it tastes …all without the addition of butter or cream. Pretty amazing. Another bonus …this is naturally gluten-free.

potato gratin with haricots verts & hampotato gratin with haricots verts & hampotato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Potato Gratin With Haricots Verts & Ham.  

Just add a green salad and you have a meal. Or…

Delicious as a side with your favorite grilled or roasted meat or fish. 

potato gratin with haricots verts & hampotato gratin with haricots verts & hampotato gratin with haricots verts & ham

potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

Rich & creamy without the addition of butter or cream.

Servings 8 servings
Author Rosemary Stelmach


  • 3 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 ounces haricots verts, trimmed (or green beans, trimmed)
  • cooking spray (for coating baking dish)
  • 5 ounces cooked ham, cut into thin julienne strips (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander over a heatproof bowl, reserving 1 cup milk mixture. (If necessary, add additional milk to the mixture so that you have a full cup.) Discard bay leaves.

  3. Cook haricots verts in boiling water for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. (If using green beans, cook for 4 minutes until crisp-tender.) Rinse in cold water; drain.

  4. Arrange half of the potatoes in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange haricots verts and ham over potatoes. Sprinkle with half of cheese, salt, and pepper. Top with the remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir nutmeg into reserved milk mixture; pour over potatoes.

  5. Cover with foil; cut 3 (1-inch) slits in foil. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

potato gratin with haricots verts & ham

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