04 January 2013

Recipe: Vegetable Crumble

Want something healthy(ish) for the new year after the excesses of Christmas? Why not try one of Noreen's specialities: Vegetable Crumble. It is simple, although the preparation is a bit labour intensive. And because it is unusual it seems to wow! most vegetarians.

Earlier today we mentioned to one of our friends (who has been a chef!) that we were going to have veggie crumble tonight. He was incredulous. You would have thought we were going to cook Martian Squid or something. Even when we explained it ...
"You know what apple crumble is?"
"Well then you know what vegetable crumble is. Just add sauce."
... our friend still wasn't wholly convinced.

So for all the unbelievers out there, this is how it goes. (As usual I'll leave you to work out the quantities and ratios to suit you.)

Vegetable Crumble

You will need:
  • Enough potatoes for however many you're feeding
  • A selection of vegetables. Almost anything is OK but root veg, beans (especially butter beans), cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms, onions work well. Leafy veg, peppers, tomatoes aren't so good but will still work as long as they aren't the main veg.
  • Some sauce: choose from cheese (especially good), mushroom, onion, tomato; or even herb or garlic
  • Crumble topping
  • Grated cheese (optional)
  • Salt & pepper

This is what you do:
  1. Decide what sauce you're going to do and leave any veg for that aside. If you're using canned beans hold these back as well.
  2. You need to prepare and pre-cook the veg in bite-sized-ish pieces. Steam (preferably) or boil the veg until only just done. As the veggies will cook at different rates, this ensures that all the veg is properly cooked, with none over- or under-done.
  3. While the veg cooks make the crumble topping, just as you would for apple crumble only with no added sugar.
  4. Also make the sauce. Just a standard cheese, mushroom, onion, herb or garlic white sauce. Or a tomato sauce (as for pasta or pizza); chunky is good. The choice is yours.
  5. Put the hot cooked veg in a large casserole together with the drained, canned beans. Season and cover with the sauce; ensure everything is mixed up a bit.
  6. Add the crumble topping, and (optionally) some grated cheese on top.
  7. Cook in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes to ensure the crumble is done and everything is hot through.
  8. Serve on its own as a rib-sticking veggie main course, or as the vegetable to accompany roast meat.

  1. We often do this with whatever vegetables we happen to have left in the fridge; it's a good "use it up rather than throw it out" dish.
  2. Do NOT over cook the veg. Remember it will get a bit more cooking in the oven.
  3. If you (choose to) make too much crumble topping, it freezes well, can be cooked almost from frozen, and as it's unsweetened it can easily be quickly adapted for fruit crumble.
  4. This reheats well the next day (with a bit more grated cheese) for a quick lunch.
  5. An alternative is to use roasted vegetables, but that needs a bit more thought and preparation.

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