Vegetarian Recipes: Casseroles

A casserole does not have to contain meat to be hearty and warming. If you’re looking for some yummy, warming vegetarian casseroles, try some of the following recipes.

1. Butternut Squash with Crumb Topping (serves 6 to 8)

Butternut squash is a lovely winter vegetable that is very versatile. This casserole is very warming and satisfying. For a vegan version, leave out the Parmesan cheese and replace the butter with vegan buttery spread.

* 1 large butternut squash
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* Salt to taste

* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 small onion, minced
* 1 cup breadcrumbs (if you’re making your own, use about 4 slices bread)
* 1/2 teaspoon sage or thyme
* 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds (save them to roast!). Lay the squash in an oiled baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour. Once it’s cooled, scoop out the flesh and roughly mash it in a bowl. Add the minced garlic and salt, and spoon into a casserole dish.

To make the topping, melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the onion until golden. Stir in the breadcrumbs and get them coated and with the butter and somewhat toasted. Stir in the sage or thyme. Top the casserole with this mixture, then sprinkle on the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

2. Beets and Spiced Brown Rice (serves 4 to 6)

Naturally sweet beets pair nicely with spiced rice.

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

* 3 cups cooked brown rice
* Salt and pepper to taste

* 5 medium-sized red beets, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices

* 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (vegans can substitute soy yogurt or soy sour cream)
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the spices and cooked rice. Heat and stir for 1 minute or so, then remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon spiced rice into an oiled, 2-quart baking dish.

Now place the beet slices on the rice and drizzle them with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. While it’s baking, mix the yogurt, minced garlic, and salt together.

Take the beets and rice from the oven, remove the foil (watch out for hot steam!), and top with dollops of the garlic yogurt.

3. Quick Veggies and Pasta (serves 6)

This is an easy one to throw together with whatever vegetables you have on hand.

* Seasonal vegetables, chopped, to make about 4 cups (suggestions: onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, summer or winter squash, bell peppers, etc.)
* 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
* 1 jar spaghetti sauce
* 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
* Olive oil

sauté vegetables in olive oil; add spaghetti sauce and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Boil the pasta while the veggies cook. Drain pasta, and place in a bowl with the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine, then pour into an oiled baking dish. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes.

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