Cheesy vegetable bake, simple to prepare and cook and the ideal dinner for those nights when you want to enjoy meat-free cooking.
Our cheesy vegetable bake is a dish I love to serve on those nights when I want comfort food, but also want to enjoy a meat-free dinner. As is so often the case when it comes to comfort, it has to involve cheese!
My family all love this dish and as the baked vegetables are wrapped in a deliciosly cheesy sauce, nobody seems to notice the lack of meat!
This is a dish that really heroes the vegetables, and with a simple swap from the Comte cheese that we have used, to a suitable vegetarian cheese alternative, would make this a great dish to serve to vegetarian diners.
We used Comte cheese in the sauce as it’s nutty, but in no way overpowers the vegetables. The sauce is made using a technique similar to a bechamel sauce, but replacing the milk with vegetable stock.
This gives the sauce a savoury flavour and a lighter finish than if using milk or cream. After all this dish is about the vegetables!
Cheesy Vegetable Bake – recipe steps:
- Preheat the oven to 180CFan/200C.
- Prepare the vegetables, lightly roast the butternut squash in the oven, char the peppers to remove their skin, lightly char the courgette and pop the onion in a little hot water to soften.
- Make the cheese sauce using vegetable stock on place of the more traditional milk, this results is a lovely light sauce that doesn’t overpower the vegetables.
- Layer the vegetables into the baking dish as show in the image below.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
- Place the dish in the oven for 30 minutes and once baked allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
What vegetables go well with cheese?
I love vegetables and aside from the odd one or two, there are not many that I don’t enjoy. This recipe is a great way to eat your way through your 5-a-day.
Here are some ideas for vegetables that you can layer up with the cheesy sauce in this dish:
- butternut squash
- sweet potato
- bell pepper (any colour)
- onion or shallot
Recipe ingredients and substitutions:
- Vegetables, we used a combination of butternut squash, red peppers and courgettes along with the onion. This is a lovely combination, but feel free to experiment using the vegetables you have to hand.
- Onion can be substituted with shallot or a red onion. Place the onion in a little hot water for 10 minutes before draining. This will soften the harsh acidity in the onion so that it does not overpower the rest of the vegetables in the dish.
- Comte cheese is a wonderfully nutty cheese and makes a great tasting sauce. You can substitute with gruyere or a mature cheddar.
- If serving vegetarian diners substitute the Comte cheese with a suitable vegetarian cheese alternative.
Can you freeze Cheesy Vegetable Bake?
Our vegetable layer bake is a great make ahead dish.
- A great make ahead dish to store in the fridge. Simply prepare the vegetables and sauce and layer up the dish then set aside in the fridge until you are ready to bake in the oven. You can make this dish up to a day in advance, just remove it from the fridge 30 minutes from baking to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Simple dish to prepare and freeze! Once assembled and baked this cheesy vegetable bake can be cooled, covered and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- No need to defrost, this dish can be reheated from frozen. When ready to reheat simply cover the dish with kitchen foil and place in a warm oven at 160CFan/180C for 35-40 minutes until warmed through.
Useful hints & tips:
- Don’t have time to skin the red peppers no problem! You can use a jar of roasted peppers instead. Simply ensure that you wash off any residue oil/liquid that the peppers have been stored in before layering up in this dish.
- This recipe can be easily doubled up depending on the amount of diners you have.
- Individual portions look great however, if you don’t have individual baking dishes no problem! Simply layer up the vegetables in a larger oven-proof dish and once baked, portion the cheesy vegetable bake into 4 servings.
- Use up your leftovers! We don’t like to waste anything, so the bottom portion of the butternut squash can be set aside and used for making soup.
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Additional recipe suggestions:
If you enjoyed this recipe then try some of these other meat-free recipes:
- Risotto with Confit Tomato
- Bean Chilli
- Ravioli Caprese
- Easy Vegetable Stir Fry
- Quick Chickpea, Spinach & Yogurt Curry
- Vegetable & Coconut Curry
- Courgette Pasta
Looking for inspiration for feeding the family mid week, then take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Family Dinners. Full of useful hints, tips and recipes.
Roasted Vegetable Layer Bake
- 1 small butternut squash (peeled & sliced)
- 2 red peppers
- 1 large courgette (sliced)
- 1 medium onion (sliced)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 50 g butter
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 200 g comte cheese (grated – substitute with vegetarian cheese if serving vegetarian diners.)
- salt & pepper
- Gently pare and slice the top of the butternut squash into 8 thin circles about 0.5cm thick and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180CFan/200C and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile heat up a grill pan and place the peppers on it, taking care to char each side well. Once the skin has blistered and blackened place the peppers into a plastic bag and seal. Set aside and allow the bag to steam up. After about 10 minutes remove the pepper and the outer skin should slip off easily. Divide each pepper into quarters, discarding the stem and seeds, and set aside.
- Top and tail the courgette and cut into 4 slices length ways. Cut each length in half across the middle to give you 8 pieces in total. Now using the same grill pan, char the strips of courgettes on both sides. You want them to colour but not to burn and dry out. Set aside until ready to use.
- Thinly sliced the onion and break into individual rings. Place the onion in a bowl and pour over boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes before draining and placing on some kitchen paper to remove any excess water.
- Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan and stir in the flour. Turn the heat right down and cook gently for 5 minutes to allow the flour to cook, but not burn!
- Increase the heat to medium-high and gradually add the chicken stock to the saucepan in batches. Take care to beat out any lumps ensuring a smooth sauce.
- Once the stock has been added and you have a thick, smooth sauce add 160g of the comte cheese and season to taste.
- To assemble the bake, place the vegetables into individual dishes in alternative layers, squash, pepper, courgette and onion. Repeat this process for a further layer of vegetables.
- Pour over the cheese sauce and sprinkle over the remaining cheese on top.
- Place the dishes on a baking sheet in an oven at 180CFan/200C and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •Share on Facebook