This Root Vegetable Casserole is a superstar side dish – it’s delicious, easy, cheap, healthy, versatile and is perfect for make ahead meals. This is freezer-friendly comfort food at its best!
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner this year, or just looking for a delicious fall side dish for a potluck or for Sunday dinner, I’ve got a treat for you. And if you usually make a gratin for the holidays I think you’ll love this variation.
It’s awesome in every way!
Why this Root Vegetable Bake is the BEST
1. It’s super delicious.
I love the subtle sweetness that the blend of root vegetables gives this dish, the creamy texture, and the satisfying crunch of the panko or breadcrumbs on top.
2. It’s inexpensive!
Root vegetables are some of the cheapest vegetables around, especially in the fall and winter, and if you watch for them on sale, they last practically forever and cost even less.
This is an amazing vegetable side dish for a crowd!
3. It’s perfect to make ahead and reheat the day you want to eat it.
YES to make ahead dishes for busy meals!
(Also, say YES to entertaining from the freezer, if that’s how you want to do it! It’s the perfect make ahead side dish for a crowd!)
4. It’s freezer friendly (without the breadcrumb topping).
So what you could do is make a huge batch of this, portion it out into smaller amounts that we would eat with a meal, and freeze them.
Then you can pull them out, bake in the oven, and have delicious root vegetable casserole as a side dish with a quick meal through the fall and winter.
Yep – it’s one of those perfect batch cooking recipes for freezing.
5. (Yes, the list goes on), it’s a super versatile and flexible recipe – this is a root blend.
You can use whatever root vegetables you have on hand, in whatever quantities you want! Tailor it to suit the root vegetables your family enjoys, or just what you have to use up before you lose them.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the combination I use for the root vegetable casserole here, but you can definitely also use squash in the mix, or leave some of these veggies out if you want to!
It will still be delicious!
6. It’s even a healthy vegetable casserole (in my opinion).
Yes, there is a little bit of cream cheese and butter. But compared to the amount of super healthy root vegetables in this dish, they are pretty minuscule. Compared to some sort of gratin, I’d say it’s much healthier.
FAQ: Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Turnip, Carrot Casserole – a Fall & Winter Vegetable Casserole
What is considered a root vegetable?
Root vegetables are vegetables whose main edible portion grows underground.
Many of them often have an above ground portion that is also edible.
Some common root vegetables are potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, radishes and rutabaga.
Can I freeze this root vegetable casserole?
This is one of those vegetable casseroles that freezes VERY well.
Just make the entire recipe but stop before topping with panko and baking.
Freeze individual portions for lunchtime meal prep or family size portions for those busy weekday nights. Then just thaw in the fridge overnight, top with panko and bake until hot.
What can I serve this root vegetable bake with?
I LOVE this root veg casserole with turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. But honestly, it’s the perfect side dish for so many different meals – from pork chops to salmon to roast beef or ham.
It’s fancier than just mashed turnip or carrot, but easy to make, ESPECIALLY in advance – which is key for holidays and busy weeks.
Turnip vs Rutabaga (what is the difference)
Turnip and rutabaga are actually two different vegetables, although they are often treated interchangeably. Their appearance and flavour are similar, but rutabaga is milder, and I think a little sweeter. You can read more about the differences between turnip and rutabaga here.
You can use either in this recipe.
Are root vegetables healthy?
Yes! Root vegetables are super healthy! As a bonus, I find they are more filling than many other vegetables, and are often cheaper too!
You can read more about the health benefits of various root vegetables here.
Root Vegetable Casserole – Freezer-Friendly Comfort Food – Step-by-Step Instructions
Root Vegetable Casserole Ingredients (although, as I mentioned above, you can swap which root vegetables and the amounts!)
I used half a turnip (actually it is technically a rutabaga!). Cut it in half and peel it carefully.
Then chop it into pretty small squares.
Tip: Turnip is the hardest of all these veggies and will take the longest to cook, so I cut it the smallest.
Peel and chop carrots. I used 3 medium sized ones. You can use however many you want!
Tip: I also cut the carrots fairly small because they take quite a while to cook too.
Peel and chop parsnip. I used two.
Tip: You can cut them into chunks just a little bigger than the carrots.
Finally, I used one GIGANTIC sweet potato, but you could easily use two regular sized ones.
Tip: Peel and cut it into bigger chunks, because sweet potato is softer and cooks more quickly than the other root vegetables.
I really like the sweet potato in this dish for the subtle sweetness it brings.
Put them all in a big pot (aren’t they pretty?!), add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cover with water by at least a couple of inches, put the lid on and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling you can take the lid off. If it’s boiling over reduce the heat a bit.
Cook until each type of vegetable can be easily pierced with a fork or sharp knife (about 15 minutes). Drain the veggies and put the vegetables back into the pot.
Tip: Use a strainer set over a bowl, and save the vegetable broth for soup or gravy.
Use a potato masher to squash them.
Then get out a hand mixer and use it to blend the veggies until they’re nice and creamy. Add 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 package of cream cheese (4oz) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish.
Tip: At this point you can refrigerate it or even freeze it until you’re ready to eat the root vegetable casserole.
Whenever you’re ready, just bring the dish back to room temperature and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of panko or breadcrumbs on top (or more if you want… or none, if you want – it’s still delicious!).
Bake it until it’s heated through and the crumbs are browned – about 30 minutes (you might need to broil for a few minutes at the end).
Serve hot and enjoy! 🙂
Root Vegetable Casserole - Freezer Friendly Comfort Food
- 1/2 turnip (you can adjust to suit what you want to use)
- 3 carrots (you can adjust to suit what you want to use)
- 2 parsnips (you can adjust to suit what you want to use)
- 2 sweet potatoes (I used one gigantic one)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 pkg cream cheese (4 oz)
- 1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs
- Peel turnip, carrots, parsnips and sweet potato and cut them into chunks. I chopped the turnip smallest because it takes the longest to cook, and the sweet potato larger because it cooks faster. The carrots and parsnips are somewhere in the middle (see photo below for an example).
- Put them in a large pot with 1 teaspoon of salt, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until vegetables are soft enough to be pierced with a fork or sharp knife (make sure that each kind of vegetable is soft).
- Drain. I put a strainer over a large bowl so I could save the vegetable broth and make a soup. Put vegetables back in the pot.
- Use a potato masher to mash them up. Then use a hand mixer to cream them together. Add butter, cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well to combine and make them creamy.
- Spoon them into a large casserole dish. You can refrigerate, or even freeze the casserole until you're ready to eat it. When you're ready, bring the dish to room temperature and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle with panko. Bake until heated through (around 30 minutes) and top is browned (you might need to broil it for a couple of minutes).
- Serve hot and enjoy! 🙂
I just want to say thank you to my mom’s (and my ❤️) dear friend Cecile (yes, she has the same first name as my mom – for those of you who remember Mama Cecile’s Healthy Yogurt Pancakes – From Scratch).
Cecile is an amazing chef and I am always so inspired by her cooking. It was her who first introduced this dish to us, and it makes such a lovely addition to any meal. I’m so grateful that she didn’t mind me sharing it with you!
This is a pretty simple recipe and I’ve kept pretty much to the instructions my mom gave me (which I assume she got from Cecile), except that I cooked all the veggies together instead of separately. Because ain’t nobody got time for that. 🙂
Especially if they have little kids and a crazy life and don’t want more pots to clean at the end of the day. 🙂
Originally published on November 21 , 2017.