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Roasted Vegetables Au Gratin

We’re taking a short break from our regularly scheduled cookie baking…

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to indulge in some…..vegetables!  Roasted Vegetables Au Gratin is our splurge today and I’m going to bombard you with photos of delicious veggie goodness. 

We’ve been making this dish forever.  It’s definitely a favorite, but it has gone through some evolution over the years, not in how we make it, but rather in how we eat it.  My husband and I used to make this for an app or a snack as an alternative to other more guilty pleasures.  We used to call it, “Vegetable Nachos,” and we declared it finger food.

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Later, when we had kids, we broke out the forks and started serving it as a side dish, a nice break from our normal steamed vegetables.  Today, it has moved to center stage and we now serve it as a main dish.  It’s wonderful piled on top of farro, bulgur, couscous or your grain of choice.

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Roasted Vegetables Au Gratin is easy to make so we usually make large batches.  Our vegetables of choice for this are fresh broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and asparagus.  Cut up your veggies, place on a foil lined sheet, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with some freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese and top with seasoned panko bread crumbs. It’s another one of those non-recipe recipes. In fact, I hesitate to give you any measurements, because they aren’t really necessary.  We just buy lots of vegetables and roast as many as will fit on our trays.

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We normally mix all the vegetables up together on a sheet, but sometimes I like to separate them, especially if the asparagus is on the thinner side and looks like it might cook more quickly. Or, I might do it if the carrots are thick and I don’t feel like cutting them up into smaller pieces to cook at the same time as the rest of the vegetables.  If each vegetable has it’s own tray, then I can adjust the cooking time and take them out whenever they’re done. 

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My husband has no patience for that.  If the carrots look like they’re going to take longer, he’ll steam them in the microwave for a few minutes to give them a head start before he mixes them in with the rest of the vegetables, then throws it all in the oven. 

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You can make this healthier by spraying your pan with olive oil spray before you add the vegetables, then using a light hand with the oil, cheese and breadcrumbs, or you can make this more decadent and be generous with all of the non-veggie ingredients. Either way, the high heat of roasting will caramelize your vegetables, melt the cheese and crisp up the breadcrumbs so that what emerges from the oven is a delicious toasty meal.  Extra sharp cheese is a must as it adds lots of flavor.  The other night my husband used some leftover jack cheese on one of the trays, and…well, it just wasn’t as good.

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So, go ahead, take a break from all those holiday sweets…

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and treat yourself to some veggies!

 

Roasted Vegetables Au Gratin

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh cut broccoli
  • 2 cups white button mushrooms halved or quartered depending upon size
  • 2 cups baby carrots or cut up carrots
  • 1 bunch asparagus trimmed
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. For easy clean up, line as many sheet pans with foil as you'll need to keep your vegetables in a single layer. I use half sheet pans and can fit about 8 cups of vegetables on a pan. Wash and prep all of your vegetables. Dry thoroughly.
  2. Place vegetables on prepared pan(s).
  3. If your carrots are on the thick side, cut them into smaller pieces so that they cook more quickly. Or, you can also steam them for a few minutes in the microwave to give them a head start as they will take the longest to cook. If you do this, just make sure they are dry when you put them on the tray. Otherwise, the excess water will make them steam instead of roast in the oven.
  4. Drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables. Toss vegetables to coat evenly, adding more oil, if desired.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Top with grated cheddar cheese.
  7. Sprinkle with seasoned panko bread crumbs.
  8. If you decided to go lighter on the oil, you may want to lightly spray the breadcrumbs with olive oil spray to insure they get toasty in the oven.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are at desired tenderness, cheese is melted and topping is toasted.
  10. Serve as a side dish, or as shown above over farro or your choice of grain for a hearty vegetarian meal.

Recipe Notes

* I've provided average measurements for one half sheet pan.

*Add more or less oil, cheese and breadcrumbs to your taste. Extra sharp cheese works best in this recipe as it adds a lot of flavor for the amount you use.

*We usually serve this over Trader Joe's 10 minute farro and sometimes over whole wheat couscous.

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