I’m pretty good at eating my daily servings of veggies. But my kids? The mere sight of vegetables usually sends them running for the string cheese bin in the fridge. For instance, bell peppers? Don’t even think about it unless you want a plate of chewed up pieces handed back to you! Squash? Only if it’s of the butternut variety, pureed, and disguised as cheese in their macaroni. Carrots? Well, carrots give me just a teeny glimmer of hope because it’s the one veggie they’ll eat…in raw form. But c’mon, who doesn’t love a raw carrot (served among a buffet of hummus, of course!)
My thoughts prior to making this dish: If I roast the carrots and slather them in a creamy, cheesy sauce, maybe I’ll have a chance of winning this veggie versus kid battle. And while we’re at it, I might as well throw in some broccoli and cauliflower, the king and queen of veggies that were meant to be soaked in a cheese sauce.
I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself though. Before the cheese sauce comes into play, the veggies should be roasted. I seriously can’t think of a better way to cook vegetables. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside with a slightly sweet flavor due to the carmelizing. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m 99% sure I would have gobbled up my veggies as a kid if my mom had roasted them versus steaming-boiling and salting them. But oh well, I feel like I’ve more than made up for lost veggie consumption.
Now that the vegetables are roasted, you need to do something quick before you start popping them into your mouth like potato chips. But it’s all good because while they were crisping up in the oven, you were making the easy homemade cheese sauce. At this point, it’s time to put these two loves together and make an amazing casserole. Top with breadcrumbs to give this gratin an extra bit of crunchy texture in every bite.
The verdict…My son gobbled up the broccoli, leaving the carrots and cauliflower for me to eventually devour. But hey, I’ll take it! As for my daughter…we’ll just have to try another day. However, I’m calling this Roasted Vegetable Medley Gratin a giant win. It’ll be a hit for all veggie lovers, rookie and pro, young and old. And it’s the perfect side dish, packed with healthy veggies and classic flavors, to serve at your holiday gatherings this season!
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into medium sized florets
- 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins
- 3 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheese (like cheddar, gouda, or Swiss)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon or a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and processed into crumbs (or ⅓ cup bread crumbs)
- Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the vegetables. Give them a toss to evenly coat them in seasoning and oil. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the cheese sauce: While the vegetables are roasting, melt the butter in a large saucepan or French oven over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the flour until the mixture forms a clump. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking the mixture to incorporate it. Turn the heat up to medium-high heat and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Turn the heat to low and stir in the cheese until melted. Add in the salt, pepper, and pinch of nutmeg and stir to incorporate.
- Bake the casserole: Add the roasted vegetables to the pan of cheese sauce. Stir to incorporate. Pour the vegetables in a casserole dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 230 Fat: 12.4g Carb: 20.5g Fiber: 5.1g Protein: 11.9g Sugar 8.7g Sodium: 579mg