Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.Eli Brown
I was tired last night. That kind of soul-weary tired where all I want is a bowl of warm food and then an early night. Ben was away, and I was craving vegetables, so I made myself a simple cheesy bake, with walnuts for protein. It’s the sort of food that makes a great side dish, but it’s enough on its own, spooned into a bowl, and then eaten with a spoon, curled up in front of TV.
It’s also a recipe that can be easily adapted to whatever vegetables are in your pantry or fridge. It can easily be made vegan, gluten free and dairy free. It’s versatile in every way, while still being comfort food in a bowl!
Enjoy 😊, Nicole xx
4 to 6 cups of mixed fresh vegetables – it’s good to have a mix of starchy veg like potatoes, pumpkin or sweet potato as well as greens, carrots etc
1/2 cup of walnuts
3 tablespoons of butter (or butter substitute)
3 tablespoons of plain flour (or gluten-free flour)
500ml (2 cups) of your preferred milk
100g of sharp cheddar (or your favourite cheese substitute) plus a handful more to sprinkle on top
You can also add a shake or two of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of mustard powder or a dash of hot sauce if you like a bit of bite to your cheese sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place a large pan of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Cut your vegetables into chunks.
- Add the hard vegetables (like carrots and potatoes) to the pot and boil for three minutes.
- Then add pumpkin, sweet potato, brussel sprouts or anything else that is still a slow cooking vegetable and boil them for three minutes.
- Finally add things like zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and cook for three minutes.
- Drain vegetables well.
- Return to pot and add in your walnuts. Mix well and then spoon into a heatproof 6 cup dish.
- Using the same pot return it to low heat and add the butter and flour, stirring well as the butter melts so that it makes a roux. Slowly add in the milk, stirring all the while, until it is all mixed in and there are no lumps. Increase heat to medium and stir until thick. The sauce will be thick – that’s a good thing!
- Remove from heat and add in the 100g of cheese, stirring well until it is combined.
- Add pepper, mustard, nutmeg or hot sauce, adjusting to your taste.
- Pour sauce slowly over vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until heated through and top is golden.