Mostly Vegan Verdure al Forno

I do miss cheese sometimes.  That is why, last night as I was fantasizing about making some sort of a vegetable casserole for dinner, I held a brief discussion with the guardian of my health (my alter ego).  We agreed that the following recipe would be as salubrious as it would be healthy — even with a small amount of cheese (thus, mostly vegan).


It was preceded to the table with a small antipasto, consisting of:

  • thinly-sliced kohlrabi in a celery seed rice wine vinaigrette
  • diced red and choggia beets
  • homemade cucumber pickles
  • Gaeta and Castelvetrano olives



While the content is almost all vegetables, the dish packs a lot of flavor.  The long cooking plus the natural sweetness of the corn water concentrates those flavors, so it was well-accompanied by a medium-bodied red wine from Tuscany.  My choice was a 2010 Morellino di Scansano — “Passera” — made from Sangiovese grapes.  It was a superb match and only $16 retail – before my 10% discount.



Variations and substitutions:  this dish provides broad flexibility in choice of ingredients, based on product availability and your tastes.  I actually added a handful of cooked cremini and dried Chinese mushrooms which I scooped out of some leftover mushroom and barley soup from the night before.  If I had celery in the refrigerator, that would have gone in, too.  Red, yellow or orange peppers would also go well, as would yellow squash, chickpeas, fava beans — whatever you like.

Another variation to consider would be to serve the cooked vegetables on top of pasta, rice, farro, couscous, or other grains.  The key to success is high-quality produce, combined with proper braising and baking technique — mostly trial and error — but also a process that seems quite forgiving, which is why mine came out fine and yours probably will too.  Buon appetito.



This entry was posted in Food, Uncategorized, Vegan, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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