Sometimes, at the end of the cooking week I find odd amounts of vegetables in the fridge. It might be half a zucchini, two carrots, maybe a quarter of celeriac. Too little to make something out of them separately, so… soup?
Not this time. I have something much more decadent and comforting. It helps you clean the fridge. It is vegetarian. This vegetable bake is quick and easy, stripped off unnecessary fuss. All you need to do is to grab whatever leftover vegetables you happen to have in the fridge, fry them, then a bit of hocus pocus and you get real food with deliciously melted cheese on top. If you happen to have some old bread you’ve forgotten about, it is even better.
The magical ingredient I mentioned earlier is horseradish. Austrian staple and one of the reasons why Steiermark is such a delicious region. It will always make you able to breathe freely even if you have the biggest case of runny nose ever. We always have some in the fridge as we use it on sandwiches all the time.
There is another advantage. Making this vegetable bake will help you #zerowaste your fridge. Trying to produce less waste does not have to be difficult and can actually be delicious. It can be something that just happens at the end of the week to make space before you bring a new haul of vegetables.
This dish is a perfect idea to use up this wilted carrot, a bit too soft zucchini or paprika. Another great news? It only takes 45 minutes to make.
You can change and rearrange vegetables according to what‘s currently in your fridge. Maybe there is some corn left? Or unused fennel? They will do great simply because everything is better with cheese.
I found inspiration for this dish in a wonderful book about vegetarian version of Austrian cuisine. I made it slightly more complicated but not too much so it can remain the lazy dish it was from beginning on.
- 2 Semmeln (kajzerki in Polish, Kaiser Roll in English I believe)
- ½ leek
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ kohlrabi, diced small
- ¼ celeriac, diced small
- 2 carrots, diced small
- ½ red paprika, cut into 1x1cm dice
- ½ yellow paprika, cut into 1x1cm dice
- 300ml vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp horseradish, grated
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili
- 1 big spoon natural yoghurt
- 1 egg
- 80g of cheese (I used Emmentaler and Bergkase)
- Cut the Semmel into 2x2cm cubes. Heat up medium sized pot (mine has 22cm diameter). Add Semmel to the pot, stir from time to time, take off the heat when the Semmel cubes are dry. Take them out of the pot.
- In the meantime take the leak, cut it lengthwise, wash, cut into slices. Heat up oil in the pot. Add onion and leek along with sweet paprika and bay leaves. Fry till onion is translucent.
- Add carrots, celeriac and kohlrabi along with chilli. Fry 10 minutes.
- Add paprikas, allow to fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add horseradish. Fry for 5 minutes and add broth in two parts. Take off the heat when the broth gets absorbed by the bread. Check for taste and add salt if necessary.
- In a small bowl, beat egg with yoghurt and a pinch of salt. Incorporate in the mixture in the pot. Add half of the cheese to the pot and mix well.
- Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake under grill for 7-10 minutes or until cheese looks exactly as you like it.