Vegetable Bake is a medley of oven-baked vegetables in a creamy white sauce. It is an all-time classic continental style vegetarian main course. The crusty layer of cheese on top make baked vegetable in white sauce my absolute favorite.
Vegetable Bake Nostalgia
Creamy Baked Vegetables was the only continental dish in my Indian household while I was growing up.
In other words, vegetable bake in a thick white sauce was the only continental dish in my mother’s cooking repertoire.
She got the recipe from an American cookbook and changed it to suit our Indian tastebuds.
Hence, the dish holds a special place in my food memoirs.
Over the years I have made my additions and subtractions to the recipe, like regular béchamel sauce is been replaced with whole wheat white sauce. And off-course more of vegetables and cheese is added.
What You Need To Make Vegetable Bake
There are three key components in the making of baked vegetables.
creamy white sauce
1) Creamy White Sauce: This is my multi-purpose whole wheat white sauce for everything. From pasta, creamy mushroom to vegetarian casseroles, I use it for all.
The USP of this white sauce is it does not have any cream or all-purpose flour. It is made with whole wheat flour and milk.
The first step in the making of baked vegetable casserole is the white sauce. The sauce only adds creaminess and flavor to the vegetables.
2) Sauteed Vegetables: The best part of this vegetarian casserole is the truckload of veggies. It is one of those fridge forage meals where you can use all the leftover vegetables.
A few vegetables that work well in this baked casserole:
- green beans
- cauliflower or broccoli
- pumpkin or squash
- potato or sweet potato
- baby corn or sweet corn
- bell peppers or capsicum
The second step in this recipe is to saute vegetables. Sauteeing makes them crunchy and when baked they do not leech water.
Hence, it is highly recommended to saute vegetables before combining them in the white sauce.
3) Crusty Topping: The most delicious part of a vegetable bake is the golden, cheesy, crusty layer on top. And that my friend, you can achieve by adding a generous layer of cheese.
I use a mix of cheddar and parmesan for the topping. You can combine bread crumbs and cheese to make the top layer more crusty.
This is the third and the final step before baking the casserole.
Vegetable Casserole can also work as a side dish for steak or meat dinners.
FAQ’s Related To Baked Vegetable Casserole
Can I use frozen vegetables?
Yes, you can. Thaw frozen vegetables, saute them as directed in the recipe, and use in the baked vegetable casserole. Make sure frozen veggies are not mushy.
Can I add meat to this vegetable casserole?
Ohh yes. If you want to make this vegetarian casserole more hearty, go ahead, and add – shredded chicken, roasted chicken, bacon, ham, salami, or even shrimps. The meat should be cooked like vegetables before baking.
What kind of cheese is the best for crusty topping?
Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, and Mozarella are my top picks when it comes to crusty toppings.
Can I make it without an oven?
Yes, you can. The baking makes the top cheese layer golden, crispy, and gooey. If you can achieve that in an air-fryer, instant pot crispy lid, or on toaster, no need of an oven to make this vegetable casserole.
More Baking Recipes For You:
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Creamy Vegetable Bake Recipe
- Baking Dish
- 1 Cup diced onion
- 1 Cup broccoli florets
- 1 Cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 Cup diced yellow bell pepper
- 1 Cup diced zucchini
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
Ingredients for the White Sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 4 Cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1 – 2 (1 teaspoon) sprigs of thyme
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Ingredients For Crusty Topping:
- 1/2 Cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese
Prepare White Sauce:
- To make whole wheat white sauce, heat olive oil in a pan. Add chopped garlic and saute for 10 seconds to release the aroma of garlic.
- Next, add whole wheat flour. Saute over low heat for 1 – 2 minutes to release the aroma and roast the flour. Pour the milk steadily with one hand and stir the flour mixture clockwise continuously to avoid any lump formation. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce thickens, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg powder, and thyme. Stir to combine. taste and adjust the seasoning. The sauce is ready.
- In a stir fry pan heat oil over medium flame. Add onion and saute till soft but not brown.
- Next, add zucchini and saute for a few seconds, followed by broccoli and bell peppers. Saute the vegetables till they are al dente but not fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
Assemble The Casserole:
- Grease a large baking dish with olive oil. Preheat oven at 180 degree celsius.
- Now pour half of the white sauce over the sauteed vegetables. Stir to evenly combine.
- Arrange the vegetables in the greased baking dish. Pour remaining white sauce over the vegetables.
- Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the layer of white sauce.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or till a nice golden own crusty layer of melted cheese is visible on top.
- Serve vegetable bake warm with toasted bread.
- While making the white sauce, do not add salt in the milk until sauce thickens otherwise, it will curdle.
- Sauteeing makes them crunchy and when baked they do not leech water. Hence, it is highly recommended to saute vegetables before combining them in the white sauce.
- You can use frozen vegetables for making this casserole. Read my detailed notes above in the post.
- I use a mix of cheddar and parmesan for the topping. You can combine bread crumbs and cheese to make the top layer more crusty.