This lusciously epic Winter Veggie Gratin isn’t your average casserole! Ditch the canned cream-of-craziness, grab some veggies, and meet me in the kitchen!
I was compensated by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for my time in developing this recipe and post. All opinions are my own.
I hope y’all are hungry because I packed an entire crisper drawer’s worth of veggies into this cheesy little holiday casserole and it. is. awesome!!!
Since my friend’s blogs all seem to have the festive treats game well taken care of, I’m happily stepping away from the baking bonanza this holiday season in lieu of my typical veggie shenanigans. Less time developing cookie recipes (which let’s face it, you already have a zillion of) means I get to spend more time making seasonal produce look so good you’ll want to lick your screen.
Epic Winter Veggie Gratin
:: pin it for later ::
Tender broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are blanketed with a creamy béchamel sauce with vanilla-infused caramelized onions, Gouda, and Gruyere cheeses, then topped with golden breadcrumbs for a side dish that’s destined to impress!
There are over 2 POUNDS of veggies in this tasty holiday side and, after that first bite you’ll be so glad there are! That’s the best part of a gratin-style casserole, isn’t it? Topping fresh veggies with a luscious cheese sauce that turns every indulgent bite into a swoon-worthy moment.
Ready to fall in love with your veggies?
Epic Winter Veggie Gratin
Yield 8 servings
- 1 lb cauliflower florets
- 8 oz broccoli
- 8 oz brussels sprouts, quartered
- 2 cups onion (white or yellow)
- 1 tsp olive oil or butter
- 1 + 1/2 tsp Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 4 oz gruyere cheese, grated
- 4 oz gouda cheese, grated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/4-1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1-2 TBSP butter
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Chop your veggies.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts until the broccoli turns vibrantly green and all three veggies are somewhere between al-dente and fork-tender. This will take a few minutes, but no longer than 8. When your perfect texture is reached, shock the veggies in an ice bath (more info here) to halt the cooking process. No mushy veggies here! Alternatively if you'd prefer softer veggies, feel free to let them cook a smidge longer and/or skip the ice bath.
- Place veggies in a casserole dish and set aside.
- Drizzle a medium pot (one deep enough to make your cheese sauce in) with a little bit of olive oil or butter and caramelize your onions, stirring occasionally. Add the vanilla about halfway through as the onions just start to brown and continue cooking until onions are golden and soft.
- Turn your burner to medium-low heat and add 1/4 cup (4 TBSP) butter.
- Once your butter has melted, slowly mix in flour a tablespoon at a time, whisking the mixture together as you go.
- Once your roux has begun to form a paste with the onions, add room temperature (or slightly warmed) milk and cream, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens.
- Remove your pot from heat (it will begin to thicken even further at this part) and slowly add 1/2 the cheese.
- Right about now you'll want to dive in face first with a crusty baguette. I'll look the other way if you do, but try to save the sauce for the veggies, will ya!?
- Pour sauce over veggies, then top with the cheese you set aside earlier.
- Next melt 1 TBSP of butter in a small skillet and add breadcrumbs. Mix constantly while toasting, then sprinkle over casserole.
- Bake on center rack at 350 for 20 mins.
- Prepare to swoon.
This recipe feeds a small army, making it the perfect side dish for a family gatherings or potluck parties with friends or co-workers.
Keeping thing small scale? Don't fret! For a smaller serving, the recipe is easily halved.
If your cheese stash is limited, feel free to use all Gouda or all Gruyere. I love the recipe with a little of both but it will still rock with just one or the other. No cream handy? No problem! You can use all milk. I’ve used both whole milk and 2% and they both work great! Crazy for breadcrumb toppings? Feel free to double the recipe! As for the veggies, I’d love you to eat broccoli, cauliflower, AND brussels sprouts but if there’s a super picky eater in the bunch you can make it with just broccoli and cauli or simply a metric ton of cauliflower.
I’m pretty insistent that this recipe could make a cruciferous veggie superfan out of any hot-blooded cheese-loving individual though, so give it a try – will ya!?
so . . . how was it!?
Fantastic! We’ve had this veg-tastic side dish twice already and ADORE it! Using Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to infuse the caramelized onion delivered the most wonderful complexity and flavor to the béchamel sauce. Unexpected, yet oh-so-welcome in this dish, the vanilla plays off the sweetness of the golden onions and gives the creamy sauce that little something extra. This is my first time using vanilla in a savory dish and I’m so excited to do so again – it’s the ultimate secret ingredient to take your favorite cold-weather side dish to the next level!
Long story short, this easy cheesy gratin is positively divine; I hope you get a chance to try it and warm up a chilly night with a big plate of comfort food!