Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This was casserole was truly a one-dish meal. It is so loaded with vegetables, I didn’t feet the need to serve it with a salad or other green on the side. 🙂 We enjoyed it as our celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner this year. The “meaty” combination of lentils and mushrooms in this dish made my meat-loving family members happy. Don’t worry… they had corned beef sandwiches for lunch too.

My riced-potato topped casserole was filled with lentils, mushrooms, fresh herbs, as well as roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots. The sauce was flavored with dried porcini mushrooms, wine, onions, and loads of garlic. It was fabulously saucy with layers of rich flavor.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. Next time, I would prepare the components of the dish a day in advance, as much as possible. The potato topping would ideally be prepared in advance at the very least. This delicious dish was absolutely worth the work and the wait! Great.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Topping:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
  • about 3/4 to 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • Âľ cup brown or French green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 17 garlic cloves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I incorporated 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or 2 tablespoons white miso
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups ½-inch pieces peeled fall/winter vegetables (such as squash, turnips, carrots, and parsnips) (I used 1 medium butternut squash, 1 head of cauliflower, & 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed, halved
  • 2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 10 oz (about 2 cups) bite-size pieces mixed fresh mushrooms (I used sliced cremini & white button mushrooms)
  • ÂĽ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, chives, and sage)

To Make the Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bake potatoes on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet until tender, about 40 minutes for the gold potatoes and 1 hour for the russet potatoes.
  3. Let cool slightly, then peel.
  4. Press potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or colander into a large bowl.
  5. Add butter; stir until well blended.
  6. Stir in milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool, press plastic wrap directly onto potatoes, and chill.

To Prepare the Lentils:

  1. Combine lentils, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, 15–25 minutes.
  3. Drain lentils and discard garlic. Set aside.

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Soak dried porcini in 3 cups hot water; set aside.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 10 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste is caramelized, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Add bay leaves and wine; stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Stir in porcini, slowly pouring porcini soaking liquid into pan but leaving any sediment behind.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Strain mixture into a large bowl with a spout. Discard the solids.
  11. Wipe Dutch oven clean and returned strained sauce to pot; bring to a boil. (I had 5 cups of strained sauce.)
  12. Stir cornstarch and 3 T water in a small bowl to dissolve.
  13. Add cornstarch mixture to hot sauce; simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Whisk in soy sauce/miso.
  15. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Vegetable Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss vegetables and pearl onions with remaining 2 T oil, 6 garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs in a large bowl or on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide evenly between the 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, stirring once, until tender, 20–25 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; mash well with a fork and stir into sauce.
  5. Discard rosemary.

DO AHEAD: Lentils, sauce, and vegetables can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Arrange lentils in an even layer in a 3-qt. baking dish; set dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Toss roasted vegetables with fresh mushrooms and chopped herbs; layer on top of lentils.
  3. Pour sauce over vegetables.
  4. Spoon potato mixture evenly over. Swirl decoratively.
  5. Bake at 425°, preferably on convection, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process.
  6. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

I’m sharing my St. Patrick’s Day feast at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #163 this week. Enjoy!!

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Cauliflower Gratin

My husband refused to let me simply roast the special heads of cauliflower we received in our CSA share. When he agreed to eat this indulgent cheesy cauliflower celebration as a main dish, we struck a deal. I added a little bit of pasta to make it more substantial.

We enjoyed this dish with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, as well as Toscano kale and watermelon radish greens sautéed with garlic, onions and leeks on the side. It truly was a CSA box feast. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten. I used one and a half heads of my small CSA cauliflower, about two pounds total. The original recipe called for three pounds, so I added pasta to the gratin. I also drizzled olive oil over the top of the dish instead of butter.

Cheesy deliciousness. 🙂

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets (I used 2 pounds of cauliflower supplemented with 1 cup orecchiette pasta)
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 1/4 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
  3. Cook the pasta, if using, about 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
  6. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish or another equivalently sized baking dish.
  8. Place the drained cauliflower on top (and the pasta, if using) and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
  9. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top.
  10. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the gratin.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Vegetable Strudel Casserole

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I tend to make dishes with a similar theme or flavor-profile. This dish sounded original and different- outside of the box for me. Then Nancy of Feasting with Friends Blog posted a Veggie Strudel on the same day I was making this one! So, I suppose this dish isn’t that original…. but it was tasty. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen. I modified the recipe by baking it as a casserole instead of in individual pieces- seemed much neater that way! I also modified it by increasing the mushrooms, onions, and scallions, using cauliflower instead of broccoli, and by adding green beans. I also sprayed each layer of phyllo dough with canola oil spray instead of brushing with olive oil; I did brush the top layer with olive oil prior to baking. Very nice.

  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli (about a generous quarter of a large head)
  • 1 cup trimmed and chopped green beans, optional
  • 10 oz button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T minced fresh dill
  • 7 scallions, greens and whites, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs, separated
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound phyllo dough leaves, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (convection). Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking pan. (I use an enameled cast iron pan.)
  2. Make the Filling: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot, cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring intermittently, until the vegetables are just tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the caraway, garlic, lemon juice, dill, scallions, pepper, cheese, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Remove half of the phyllo dough leaves from the package and sandwich between two pieces of plastic wrap. Cover with a damp towel.
  5. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the oiled baking pan and lightly spray with canola oil or lightly brush with olive oil. Continue layering the sheets of dough, adding oil between each layer, until 1/2 pound of dough (1/2 package) is used.
  6. Sprinkle the stack of phyllo with the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
  7. Add the filling, spreading it to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
  8. Layer more phyllo dough over the filling, spraying or brushing each layer with oil. Use the entire box. Brush olive oil over the top layer.

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One Year Ago:

Rigatoni & Cauliflower Al Forno

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I love it when my husband puts the New York Times Dining section at my “spot” at the kitchen table and says, “Why don’t we have this for dinner?”!!  Sometimes life is so much easier when someone hands you a plan! If you didn’t already guess, that is the story of this meal. 🙂 This dish was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I increased the amount of garlic and cauliflower, and used panko instead of coarse breadcrumbs. Cheesy and tasty.

  • 1 pound rigatoni or other large pasta shape
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ÂĽ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped sage, plus a few (3) sage leaves left whole
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 6 ounces coarsely grated fontina or mozzarella
  • 2 ounces finely grated Romano cheese or other hard pecorino
  • ½ cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  1. Cook the rigatoni in well-salted water according to package directions, but drain while still quite al dente. (If directions call for 12 minutes cooking, cook for 10 instead.) Rinse pasta with cool water, then drain again and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower in half from top to bottom. Cut out tough core and stem any extraneous leaves. Lay cauliflower flat side down and cut crosswise into rough 1/4-inch slices. Break into smaller pieces.
  3. Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat. Add cauliflower slices, along with any crumbly pieces, in one layer. (Work in batches if necessary.) Let cauliflower brown and caramelize for about 2 minutes, then turn pieces over to brown the other side. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. It’s fine if some pieces don’t brown evenly.
  4. Season browned cauliflower generously with salt and pepper. Add capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped sage, sage leaves and lemon zest and stir to coat.
  5. Put cooked cauliflower mixture in a large mixing bowl. (I used my cooled pasta pot to create fewer dishes!) Add cooked rigatoni and fontina and toss. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled baking dish. Top with Romano cheese, then with panko or bread crumbs, and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. (Dish may be completed to this point up to several hours in advance and kept at room temperature, covered.)
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until top is crisp and golden. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley before serving.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Roasted Vegetables with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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Several years ago, I served this side dish for Thanksgiving. I loved the pop of color from the pomegranate seeds! The seeds also add a contrasting texture and freshness. This recipe calls for a Romanesco cauliflower which I was unfamiliar with. Ironically, I received my first Romanesco cauliflower in my CSA box the day before Thanksgiving. It was so beautiful I used it as a centerpiece on our table instead of roasting it! 🙂 I substituted my CSA broccoli. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I roasted the vegetables after taking the turkey out of the oven. GREAT!

  • Serves: 12
For the Roasted Vegetables:
  • 1 large head regular cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets
  • 1 pound baby Romanesco cauliflower, or regular, cut into small florets (I used broccoli instead)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved if large
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  1. Roast the vegetables: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss together vegetables and oil in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables evenly on 2 rimmed baking sheets, and roast until golden, mixing halfway through, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Transfer pomegranate juice to a bowl. Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Just before serving, drizzle vinaigrette over warm vegetables, and toss with pomegranate seeds.
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Romanesco Cauliflower

One Year Ago:

Mashed Cauliflower with Gruyère

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This is a great, quick, and simple vegetarian dish which could also be used as a substitute for mashed potatoes. It would also be tasty with broccoli. We ate it as a side dish with pork tenderloin with mustard-wine sauce and sautéed kale. This recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman. The consistency can easily be altered to personal preference. Delicious!!

  • coarse salt
  • 1 large or 1-2 small heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed, and separated into florets
  • 1 cup milk, plus more if needed (I used 1 percent)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 cups grated white melting cheese such as Gruyère, cheddar, of Asiago
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • chopped parsley leaves for garnish, if desired
  1. Fill a large pot with water, put it on to boil, and salt it. Boil the cauliflower until very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving about one cup of the cooking water. Wipe the pot dry.
  2. Put the milk, butter, and cheese in the pot over medium-low heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Cook,  stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking, until the cheese and butter start to melt, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cauliflower and mash with a potato masher; stir well to combine. The mixture should be the consistency you like in mashed potatoes. If it’s not creamy enough, add a little of the cauliflower cooking water or more milk until it is.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish, and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower & White Bean Dip

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I made this dip as a hummus alternative. It was tasty– but we all prefer hummus! 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I added hot chicken stock to the cauliflower and bean puree to make the consistency more creamy. I also added parsley, spices, and additional lemon juice to give the dip more zesty flavor. We ate it with veggies and pita chips but it would be good as a sandwich spread as well.

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup hot chicken stock
  • large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • paprika, cumin, & cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until cauliflower is tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes. When garlic is cool enough to handle, remove peel.
  2. In a food processor, combine cauliflower, garlic, beans, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1/2 to 3/4 cups hot stock, until desired consistency is achieved. Process until smooth. Add parsley and spices; season to taste with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 3 days.) Serve drizzled with oil.

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