Your Thanksgiving dinner assignment: bring a vegetarian entree. The solution? A good, old-fashioned casserole, just like mom used to make. Here are seven recipes that will serve as the main event for those nonmeating eaters and also serve as a welcome side dish for those that do.
- unsalted butter for baking dish, plus 1 tbl
- canola oil for frying, plus 1 tbl
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- 3-4 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup mushroom or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed, halved and blanched
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch baking dish. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 1 inch and heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Put 1/3 cup of the flour in a small bowl and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Add sliced shallots and toss to coat evenly. Working in batches, fry shallots until golden brown and lightly crisped, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and lightly season with salt. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm Tbsp oil and melt Tbsp of butter. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add chopped shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining flour and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. While stirring constantly, slowly add stock and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add green beans and season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to prepared baking dish and sprinkle fried shallot rings on top.
Transfer to oven and bake until the edges are bubbling and the top is browned, about 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
- 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 (28-oz) can chopped tomatoes, with juice, or crushed tomatoes in purée
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
FOR THE GRATIN:
- 1 lb kale, stemmed and washed, or a 10-ounce bag of stemmed, washed kale
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup coarse bulgur (No. 3), cooked
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 oz (approximately 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup (8 oz) thick plain low-fat yogurt
- salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Make tomato sauce. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute, and add tomatoes, salt to taste, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, paprika and allspice. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook until tomatoes are bubbling. Stir together, turn heat back to medium-low, partly cover and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down and sauce is thick and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat. If your sauce is chunky, put through a food mill or pulse in a food processor fitted with steel blade. Set aside.
Meanwhile, blanch kale in salted boiling water for 4 minutes or steam for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Rinse with cold water and squeeze dry. Chop fine (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.)
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add garlic. When it begins to smell fragrant, in about 30 seconds, stir in chopped kale. Toss together and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in bulgur and dill, combine well and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 3-quart baking or gratin dish. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce on bottom of dish, and spoon in bulgur and kale. Spread in even layer. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of Parmesan on top and cover with remaining tomato sauce, spread in an even layer.
Beat together eggs, yogurt and 2 Tbsp Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Spoon over tomato sauce and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top. Place in oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or longer before serving.
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 leeks, washed well and sliced in thin rings
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4-6 mushrooms, chopped
- 1 medium size celeriac, washed well and outer rough skin peeled, and grated
- 5 small potatoes, grated with skin on
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- small handful fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 oz aged gruyere, grated
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan and saute the leeks over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Add in garlic and then mushrooms. Mix all ingredients except the Gruyere together in a bowl. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 1 hour.
- Combine broth, potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme in a large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, and cover partially. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.
- Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to a buttered 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
- Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter or margarine in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions. Saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Saute until onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over mashed vegetables. Casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until heated through and top begins to crisp.
- 2 small or 1 large rutabaga, peeled and sliced into 1/2” (1 cm) thick pieces
- good pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (4 tbl/ 55 g) unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) half-and-half (alternatively whole milk or cream)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper, to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)
- 2 eggs, whisked together
- handful of bread crumbs (preferably whole wheat or rye)
Salt a pot of water and start boiling rutabaga slices. Preheat oven to 400°F.
While rutabagas cook, make sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat in a separate pot. Whisk in flour, continuing to whisk until smooth, then whisk in half-and-half. Remove from heat, add sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and eggs. Stir well.
Once rutabaga slices are soft, reserve half of them, mash the other half with the cream sauce, then mix in remaining slices. Butter an oval or round baking dish (a deep pie plate works fine), pour mixture into dish, sprinkle bread crumbs over, and bake in middle of your oven for 30-40 minutes, or until surface begins to brown.
FOR THE BEANS:
- 3 cups simmered black beans or pinto beans, with liquid
- 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
- 1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced (optional)
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp mild or hot chili powder (more to taste)
FOR THE SQUASH:
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- salt to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs zucchini or yellow squash, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 to 1 tsp oregano, to taste
FOR THE CORN:
Heat oven to 375°F. Oil or butter a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish.
Refry beans: Drain off about 1/2 cup of liquid from beans, retaining it in a separate bowl to use later for moistening beans, should they dry out. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan and add ground cumin and chili. Cook, stirring over medium heat, for about a minute, until the spices begin to sizzle and cook. Add beans and optional chipotle. Fry beans, stirring and mashing with the back of a spoon, until they thicken and form a thin crust on the bottom of the pan. Stir up crust and mix into the beans. Cook until beans are thick but not dry, about 10 minutes.
Add liquid you saved from the beans if they seem too dry. Taste refried beans and adjust salt (they probably won't need any as the broth reduces when you refry them). Spread in an even layer in the baking dish. (Note: If you use canned beans, do not drain. The frying process will go more quickly.)
Clean and dry skillet. Heat over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add squash, oregano, salt and pepper, and turn up heat slightly. Cook, stirring often or tossing in pan, until squash is translucent and tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spread in an even layer over the beans.
Combine corn and milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until corn is just tender. Stir in cornmeal and minced serrano, add salt to taste, and continue to simmer until mixture is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in grated cheese. Remove from heat and spread in an even layer over squash. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over top. Dot with butter or drizzle on oil.
Place in oven and bake 25 minutes, until bubbly and crumbled cheese is lightly browned. Serve hot or warm.
Preheat oven to 375°F and butter shallow 2-quart ceramic baking dish. In medium saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Whisk in garlic and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Using mandoline, slice turnips crosswise 1/8 inch thick. Arrange half of turnip slices in prepared baking dish, overlapping them slightly. Pour half of cream mixture over turnips and sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated cheese on top. Repeat with remaining turnip slices and cream. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until turnips are tender.
Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse the porcini until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add panko and pulse 4 times. Transfer crumbs to a small bowl and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
Remove casserole from the oven and uncover. Sprinkle porcini crumbs evenly over top and bake for about 20 minutes, until cream is bubbling and top is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
What are your casserole favorites? Share in the comments below!