It’s summertime! That means there’s an abundance of fresh produce, ripe for the picking. In Ottawa, there is a plethora of local farmers’ markets selling everything from berries, to veggies, to maple syrup, to local meats and cheeses.
During a stroll through Byward market in Ottawa the other day, I came across a beautiful stand full of organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables. I walked away with a load of fresh cauliflower heads and broccoli florets for only $2 each! My next step was to come up with a recipe that perfectly combined these two wonderful ingredients.
I settled on a simple vegetarian recipe that plays off the traditional French dish, gratin. While classic gratin is usually potato or pasta based, I wanted something a little lighter, potentially healthier. It’s not exactly carb free, and there is some butter and cheese, but at least it’s full of nutrients. And you can scale back on the cheese and use skim milk if you want to cut the calories.
I’d never made a cheesy sauce from scratch like this before, and I was quite impressed with how yummy and simple this whole meal turned out to be. And the entire prep/cooking time was only about an hour.
Due to the broccoli and cauliflower, this dish has a heartiness where I didn’t miss the meat or pasta, and the cheese / cracker layer on top provided a nice crunch. And of course you can’t go wrong with the cheesy, gooey insides. Don’t forget to sprinkle some of your extra spinach for a garnish on top after you remove the pan from the over. A little bit of green always goes a long way presentation-wise.
Try the broccoflower gratin casserole and you won’t be disappointed. Perfect for a potluck or family dinner on the patio. Serve it hot!
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 6 Breton vegetable crackers (pulverized)
- 1 head fresh broccoli
- 1 head fresh cauliflower
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups grated cheese
- 1 handful spinach
- Seasoning (I used smoked paprika, oregano, chili flakes)
- Salt pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In medium pot, add garlic and butter. When butter has melted, stir in the flour and whisk, gradually adding the milk until smooth and creamy
- Add cut up broccoli and simmer for 20 minutes, or until broccoli is very soft
- Add 1/2 the cheese and seasoning
- In large baking dish, arrange cauliflower florets evenly across bottom. Pour broccoli mixture and spinach evenly in the dish. Sprinkle pulverized cracker and remaining cheese over top. Splash in a couple lugs of olive oil
- Bake for 1 hour in the oven
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes
- Plate your meal, sprinkle some spinach on top while it is still steaming for a nice green garnish