weekend cookbook challenge 24: veggin' out

over at sara's i like to cook, she's hosting the 24th edition of weekend cookbook challenge. this month's theme was "veggin' out" and i was excited to get back to my favorite cookbook, vegetarian cooking for everyone by deborah madison. we haved used this one quite a lot over the years, and it remains my faithful standby for delicious vegetarian cooking.

i poured through the pages, wanting to make something seasonal, and definitely something i haven't made previously. i found the perfect idea with her golden gratin of rutabaga, turnips, and carrots.

julienned vegetables
if your new year's resolution included losing weight, well unfortunately this recipe won't be for you! ms. madison does love her butter and dairy, and uses both copiously in many of her recipes. but it was a delicious, creamy gratin. and yet, there was no cheese, so (relatively) healthier than traditional gratins. she says it could be a main dish, but i think it's too heavy. it was, instead, a perfect side dish for us.

so here is my humble first post for weekend cookbook challenge 24: veggin' out!

golden gratin of rutabaga, turnips, and carrots: serves 4-6 as side dish
adapted from vegetarian cooking for everyone (1997, p. 280)

1 tb butter, and more for dish
béchamel sauce (instructions below)
12 oz rutabagas, peeled and julienned (for tips on julienning vegetables, click here)
12 oz turnips, peeled and julienned
10 oz carrots, peeled and julienned
1 small onion, diced
salt + pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1. preheat oven to 375F. lightly butter a gratin dish (2 qt). while the béchamel sauce is cooking, boil the rutabagas in salted water for 2 minutes and drain.

2. cook the onion in the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, about 8 minutes. combine with the rest of the vegetables. season with salt and pepper and transfer to gratin dish.

3. use a ladle, and pour sauce over top. cover with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and golden on top, about 45 minutes.

béchamel sauce

bubbly and golden

served with seared scallops

simple béchamel sauce

2 cups milk or vegetable stock, cold or room temp
4 tb butter
3 tb flour
salt + pepper
1/2 cup cream, optional

1. melt butter in a heavy saucepan. add flour, stir until it combines into paste (called a roux). it should look like wet sand. reduce heat to medium. slowly stir until it has a nutty aroma, about 5-6 minutes.


2. whisk in cold milk until smooth. reduce to low heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. adjust thickness with vegetable stock.

3. season with salt and pepper. whisk in cream.

pointer: when thickening something (like a soup, sauce, etc) one item has to be cold or room temp and the other one has to be warm/hot. in this example, the roux is hot, and the milk is cold. however, if you pre-made the roux, you would have to heat up the milk before whisking in.


  1. What an incredible looking dish! I don't care that it's not diet friendly, I am making this soon. Thank you so much for joining me for WCC this month. I really hope we'll see you again.
    PS - your veggies are cut so perfectly!

  2. thanks sara, it was a lot of fun! sometimes you need your veggies a little decadent! try using a mandoline, there's no way a knife can get you those perfect matchsticks.

  3. I love everything about this recipe. It looks good and sounds incredible. Wish I had some now...

  4. Wow, rutabagas? You've convinced me to give them another chance, very alluring photo.

  5. Mimi.. I'm loving this recipe. I can't wait to try it!


  6. laurie, the gratins out of this cookbook are always so delicious.

    peter, well, you know any vegetable coated in bechamel sauce will taste delectable no? :)

    lis, if you try it let me know how it goes!