Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

Every time I gather the ingredients to make a recipe from the box that I think is going to be terrible, I am inevitably surprised when it turns out delicious. (Even the French Pudding, I'm embarrassed to say, was good enough to eat at least one serving.)

But when I assembled the ingredients for “Two Vegetable Casserole,” a recipe from my mom to Eleanor, I was convinced this would be the end of my winning streak. How convinced was I? So much so that I had a frozen pizza stashed in the freezer, just awaiting its turn in the spotlight if I couldn't make this casserole into something edible.

But I should have known: my mom is a pretty awesome cook, and this recipe did not disappoint-- despite the fact that it has a quarter of a cup of mayonnaise in it.* (I credit at least part of her cooking skills to the fact that my brother and I flat refused to eat onions, mayonnaise, or tomatoes until we were well into our teens. We taught her to be creative with her recipes, I guess?)

We love roasted veggies in this house, but it's easy to get stuck in the rut of “toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and roast at an unreasonable temperature for 20 minutes.” So it was nice to give this recipe a try: roast veggies form the base of it, but they're dressed up with a creamy sauce and finished with an unbeatable crunch from the bread crumbs sprinkled over the entire thing. This is vintage food at its finest, but since Judson and I were barely children when casseroles were the ubiquitous solution for dinner, this is a totally new frontier for us and we love it.

I especially love that this recipe really does encompass Eleanor, my mom, and me, all in equal measure... and hey, it might not be the healthiest meal ever, but if you think of it as a low-fat broccoli soup, it's still a win in our book. I guess the moral of this story is that you should always trust your mom's cooking, even when it sounds gross. (Except when she tries to feed you beef stroganoff, because seriously, Mom? Eww.)

The Verdict:

5 spoons out of five. This made the perfect amount to have as a main course with a small salad, plus enough for leftovers the second night... and it was so good, we were actually looking forward to the leftovers. (Pro tip: sprinkle some fresh crumbs over it if you have this for leftovers, and it'll taste even better than the first night!)

*I really hate mayo and I don't see the point of adding the unnecessary fat here. I also ran out in the middle of this recipe, so I used 1 part mayo and 1 part greek yogurt. I think you could easily swap the entirety for greek yogurt (or sour cream) and not miss it, so that's what I listed below. In addition, I bought the veggies for this at our local co-op, so I used fresh instead of frozen, which I recommend. As noted here, I also omitted the final 2 tsp of melted margarine that was supposed to be drizzled over the final product because we found it unnecessary. If you want to do it the real 1970s way, then go for it... but that's on you.

If you're reeeeeally awesome, you'll use asian-style  panko bread crumbs instead of crushed  Ritz crackers, which is, assuredly, what eleanor would have used.

If you're reeeeeally awesome, you'll use asian-style  panko bread crumbs instead of crushed  Ritz crackers, which is, assuredly, what eleanor would have used.

The recipe:

Two Vegetable Casserole

The Ingredients:

1 large head of broccoli (or 2 small ones)
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ c greek yogurt
1 c grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and Pepper
¼ c toasted bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 200C/390F.
Chop broccoli and cauliflower into large-ish bite sized florets.
Put veggies in a roasting pan or casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil, shaking to coat. (It doesn't matter if your veggies are in a single layer-- you basically just want to add the great flavour that roasting imparts without cooking them all the way.)
Roast 10-15 minutes until you start to see brown bits but veggies are still crisp.
Remove from oven and turn temperature down to 176C/350F.
In a separate bowl, combine soup, yogurt, cheese, beaten egg, salt and pepper and blend well.
Pour soup mixure over vegetables and sprinkle evenly with crumbs.
Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main course with a side salad, or 6-8 as a side dish.