Improvised Burger & Winter Veggie Casserole


I start stressing when there’s food in the fridge that’s getting to the point of either make something with it soon or it’s gonna be tossed. Before the week of being sick, I had picked up a bunch of root vegetables intending to find a great recipe for a good hearty winter supper. That didn’t happen and this week the stress started creeping in—even with my new fridge that I love, love, love, produce doesn’t keep forever. Tonight after a quick perusal, the rutabaga, turnips, and fennel still appeared fresh, and the sweet potatoes and russets in the potato crock on the counter were looking good too. Not wanting to take the time to search my cookbook or recipe collections, and not feeling a web search, I just improvised. I roasted the veggies with a little EVOO and Goya Adobo seasoning. casserole2You could use any combination of root vegetables in this dish, using more or less of those you like best/least. Beets and carrots would be good too!

I decided this was going to be some sort of casserole. There was a package of Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef in the fridge that I added for some heartiness (if you’re not going meatless, the real thing would work too).

Before Christmas, I had made a gravy recipe from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen, and remembered thinking “I have to make this again!” Gravy sounded like just the thing to bring everything together. All that was still needed:  something crunchy on top, which ended up being some toasted chopped almonds tossed with fried onion pieces from a can. Yes the stuff sprinkled on top of Green Bean Casserole. Trader Joe’s makes a version with no unhealthy ingredients, although still high in fat and best used sparingly. This all came together in about an hour and was delicious. An old-fashioned cold weather meal-in-a-casserole dish! Between Pete and me, we polished off over half of it and just enough remained to pack for tomorrow’s lunches.

Improvised Burger & Winter Veggie Casserole

½ rutabaga, peeled and chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 Russet potato (skin left on), chopped
2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
Goya Adobo seasoning, to taste (or just use salt & pepper)

1 pkg. Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef (if you’re not going meatless, use the real thing)

1 tbls. canola oil
½ large onion, roughly chopped
1/8 cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 cup water
1 ½ tbls. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

A handful sliced toasted almonds, chopped
A handful Trader Joe’s canned fried onion pieces

In a large bowl, toss veggies with olive oil and seasoning. Spread out in one layer on a jelly roll pan and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Toss once about half-way through cooking. Meanwhile, brown ground “beef” in pan and make the gravy:

For the gravy, in a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions until soft. Add nutritional yeast and flour, and stir for about 1 minute. The mixture will be dry. Add water, soy sauce, thyme, and garlic powder. Continue to cook, whisking continuously, until mixture is very thick. Transfer gravy to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the veggies are done roasting, mix them with ground “beef” in a 2 ½ quart casserole. Stir in the gravy until combined. Toss the almonds & fried onion pieces together and sprinkle over the top. Bake uncovered for only about 10 minutes (providing that all the ingredients were hot to begin with).  Enjoy! Serves 3-4, depending on how hungry. 🙂
casserole4 Casserole


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