Make this creamy carrot-and-parsnip casserole for your next holiday meal—everyone will beg you for the recipe! Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes—saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.
Yield: 8 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time: 50
Total Time: 60
- 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
- 5 large parsnips, peeled, cored (see Tips) and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese
- Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.
- Toss carrots and parsnips in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast the vegetables, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips.)
- When the vegetables are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.
- Transfer half the carrots and parsnips to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the vegetables. Add the remaining vegetables and top with the remaining sauce
- Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).
- Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Roast vegetables (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the vegetables.
- Tips: To prep parsnips, peel with a vegetable peeler, then quarter lengthwise and cut out the fibrous, woody core with a paring knife before dicing.
- To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs.
- To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (204% daily value), Vitamin C (20% dv), Folate (18% dv), Potassium (16% dv), Calcium (15% dv).
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat