If there’s one dinner I remember always looking forward to as a child it was a casserole; but not for the stew itself though I might add – for the dumplings.
Despite this long-standing love, they’re not something I make often or ever really. So when Cranks (who I’ve talked about before and collaborated with for my pumpkin vegan macaroni cheese recipe) asked me if I’d like to recreate a recipe from their café menu and host a Cranks supperclub, I knew it had to be the root vegetable casserole with herb dumplings. You can find the recipe for that on the Cranks website along with lots of other tasty vegetarian dishes.
Before I talk some more about this dish though, can I just say what a fabulous idea that is? I love the though of being able to look up the recipe for something you’ve had when eating out and try cooking it for yourself at home.
Casseroles aren’t usually the prettiest of dishes but the combination of the herb-flecked dumplings and roasted parsnips make this a surprisingly impressive dish to share. You could cook the parsnips within the root vegetable casserole to save running the oven and avoid having a little more washing up. If you don’t mind those things then it’s definitely worth the extra effort of roasting them – for the flavour, texture and appearance!
For my recreation of the root vegetable casserole, I decided to go with a veganised version. I used a dairy-free butter and nutritional yeast in place of cheese in the dumplings, to keep the cheesy flavour. I kept the casserole full of seasonal vegetables but swapped the carrots and turnip for swede and sweet potatoes, as I love the sweeter flavours. Finally, I also added a little extra garlic and used chestnut mushrooms to add a good savoury flavour and contrast to the sweeter veggies I used.
- 300g parsnips, cut lengthways into 4
- 4tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For the casserole:
- 8 shallots, cut into halves
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
- 350g Swede, cut into 2 cm cubes
- 200g Chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and cut into halves
- 350ml Vegetable stock
- 200ml Cider
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp Cornflour
- For the dumplings:
- 125g self-raising flour
- 3tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 60g dairy-free margarine
- 3tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220C / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Place the parsnips on a baking tray, coat evenly with 2tbsp olive oil and season to taste. Place in the oven and roast for around 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and soft in the middle.
- In the meantime, heat 2tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the swede and sweet potato to the pan, fry for around five minutes , stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another couple of minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, 175ml of the cider and the bay leaf to the pan. Mix well, cover and allow to simmer for around ten minutes, stirring from time to time.
- As the casserole is simmering, place the dumpling ingredients together into a bowl and mix until they have combined. Add around a tablespoon of water to the mix to form a dough. Shape into small balls and set to one side.
- Mix the remaining cider together with the cornflour, add this to the casserole and boil until the liquid thickens. Place the dumplings on top of the stew, cover, lower the heat slightly and begin to simmer for around fifteen minutes until the dumplings have risen and the vegetables are soft.
- Season with a good dose of freshly ground pepper and serve along with the roasted parsnips.
I’m linking up with Tinned Tomatoes’ Meat-free Mondays, A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Rock My Vegan Sock’s Healthy Vegan Fridays and Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs!
Looking for more inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board dedicate to Meat-free winter warmers: