Cheesy vegetable bake
I mean, would you just look at all of that cheesy goodness right there? *Swoon* And even though this looks really good (if I do say so myself), it didn’t start out that way. You know how some days the kitchen is actually the worst place? Yeah, I have those days. Quite often, to be honest. Days where the last thing I feel like doing is looking into the fridge to find inspiration or turning on the oven. I suppose, that’s what happens when food is your job. Some days it is actually preferable if we just get in the car to buy some food that comes in a brown paper bag and a soda-machine coke (Enter gasps of shock and horror, here).
But then I remember that I do actually have a fridge-full of food and that even though the brown-paper option is one hundred thousand percent easier (that’s a real percentage, yo), I do actually like to cook. And so, I look into the fridge (sometimes for prolonged periods of time) until the beeping noise drives my husband crazy and sometimes inspiration strikes and other times my children eat salad sandwiches for the 11th time in a row. Luckily for them (and me), inspiration hit on this day and I grabbed all the vegetables that were very close to going off in the vegetable drawer. I had a few sad looking peppers, a handful of mushrooms and two heads of cauliflower. I knew I wanted to use it all up and I knew that if I covered all of this in a rich, cheesy bechamel, everyone would be having a good day.
So that’s exactly what I did. I roasted the vegetables with a splash of basil oil (because I’m fancy like that) and a sprinkle of salt to concentrate their flavour and get the cooking going before covering them in a blanket of creamy white sauce. A sprinkle of mozzarella followed because, well no explanation necessary, and into the oven it went. 20 minutes later this beauty came out and seriously, it was just so absolutely moreishly (again, not a word I just made up) delectable. I love when I can use up sad-looking vegetables, reduce our food wastage and provide my family with a wholesome lunch all in one go. Now I’m going to carry on pretending to have all my shizz together and that I’m a great grown-up while you go and gather the ingredients for this fantastic bake.
- 4 cups cauliflower florets (approximately 2 small-medium heads of cauliflower)
- 1 punnet (250g) mushrooms, quartered
- 1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-size chunks
- 1 large yellow pepper, same as red pepper
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used basil flavored)
- large pinch salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup flour
- 2-3 cups milk
- 1 cup grated cheddar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated mozzarella, for topping
- grated parmesan (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
- Place all the vegetables on a baking sheet then drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Place in the oven and allow to roast for 30 minutes until golden brown and starting to caramelise.
- In the meantime, melt the butter in a medium saucepan then whisk in the flour to create a roux.
- Slowly whisk in the milk until the sauce is smooth. Turn down the heat and whilst stirring, allow the sauce to thicken and cook through.
- When the sauce is cooked (and all flouriness has disappeared) remove from the heat, season and add the cheddar. Stir to allow the cheese to melt.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables to a suitable baking dish and pour over the sauce.
- Add the mozzarella and parmesan then place back in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown.
- Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.