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Need some ideas to use all those fresh market vegetables? I made this huge fall veggie casserole for just $10 CAD (excluding the seasoning). The vegetables were so large that I needed to spread them across two pans, and they just barely fit side by side in the oven!
The casserole is sweet, savory, and textured with a mix of soft and crunchy. It’s a hearty dish brought to life by seasonal ingredients from an autumn harvest. That said, I won’t stop you from making it whenever it suits you! It’s filling and nutritious, if a bit starchy. All in all, a great comfort food and a good thing to have in the fridge for a few days while you contemplate your next meal.
The best of seasonal ingredients
The casserole is made from butternut squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, fennel, and sweet onion, with a maple balsamic glaze. Most of these ingredients came from farms in the province of Ontario, Canada, where I live.
For many years I passed up buying a lot of these because I didn’t know what to do with so many of them. I didn’t grow up with squash, which I thought was just another kind of pumpkin. Looking into these vegetables, I actually found a neat calendar which tracks the growing season of all these vegetables and more in my area.
Serving the fall veggie casserole
I personally nibble away at this little bits at a time. It’s not uncommon for the casserole to sit in my fridge for up to a week – not because no one likes it, but because there’s enough to go around. I find cauliflower and sweet potato to be a little heavy in large volumes, so it’s great to pace myself anyway. I add a bit of mixed greens or fresh salad, a roast or deli meats, and I’m golden!
You can easily turn this dish from a side to a main, though, and you will still get several meals out of it. If you eat meat, you can add chunks of bacon, turkey, or chicken into the pans in the oven along. Otherwise, kidney beans should work well with the flavours and textures here. Beans, squash, and corn are the three sisters after all, crops which have been feeding people in North America for thousands of years. Naturally, they will go together.
A bit of glaze on top
We’re going to top the dish with a glaze while it’s baking. It’s sweet, fresh, easy to make, and adds some extra oils to these mostly dry and dense vegetables. I added around 20 ml (2/3 oz) of maple and balsamic vinegar, and two flat tablespoons of mustard. A lot of these ingredients are really viscous, so I didn’t measure them out exactly. You can also bolster this mix with a tiny bit of olive oil.
Seasoning is simple here. Add a bit of basil and thyme along with the glaze so the vegetables have a chance to roast with those herbal flavours. Throw in a bit of salt and pepper at the end. If you have a premade seasoning that you want to try instead, go right ahead. Ultimately, season as you see fit.
All in all, it’s a great recipe with just 5 main ingredients and a few additives to seal the deal. It makes a lot of food and brings out the best qualities of all these fresh ingredients. Let’s get into it!
Fall Veggie Casserole
- 1 large cauliflower
- 1 whole butternut squash
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 sweet onion
- 1/2 fennel bulb
Seasoning and Glaze
- 1⅓ tbsp (20 ml) maple syrup
- 1⅓ tbsp (20 ml) balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette
- 1 tsp mustard optional
- 1 splash olive oil optional
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1/2 tbsp thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Skin and chop all your vegetables into small pieces or cubes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400° F / 205° C. Prepare two pans (or one very large pan) for baking the casserole.
- While waiting for the oven, cover your pans with a light layer of butter, vegetable oil, or another substance of your choice to make sure the veggies don't stick.
- Prepare the maple balsamic glaze by adding the syrup, vinegar, mustard, and olive oil into a cup. Add the basil and thyme in as well. Stir vigorously to mix around the oils in the cup.
- Spread out cauliflower pieces across the pans evenly. The cauliflower takes the longest to soften so bake them by themselves for 10 minutes first.
- Remove pans from the oven, add the rest of the vegetables, spreading them all around evenly. Put the pans back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove pans from the oven once more, drizzling the maple balsamic glaze with basil and thyme all over the vegetables. Mix the contents of both pans around thoroughly. Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Put the oven on broil at 550° F / 290° C for about 3-5 minutes. This will help the sweet potato and squash get crispy on the outside. Do not broil for too long because you risk burning the casserole.
- At this point it is a game of wait and see. You may want to drop the heat back down and bake further depending on your oven, the size of your vegetable pieces, and your preferred texture. If the vegetables are not fairly soft, or the squash too grainy, keep them in the oven, checking every few minutes.
- Once you are satisfied with the casserole, add salt and pepper to taste, allow it to cool for a few minutes and serve. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this kind of article, why not check out some of my other food recipes as well?