Cheap and cheesy vegetable bake

I popped into Sainsbury’s on my way back from a trip to Somerset on Sunday and found a packet of Brussels sprouts in the  bargain section – 300g reduced from 80p to 19p – so I decided to use them in a vegetable bake. Added to a few florets of cauliflower (taken from a cauliflower I’m planning to use for cauliflower steaks later in the week) and some broccoli (left over from Saturday’s soup) this makes a nutritious and comforting vegetarian meal for only about £1.20 per portion.

Frying the Brussels sprouts in shallots or onions first rather than blanching them means they keep their texture – who likes overcooked, watery sprouts? I’ve added a very generous amount of toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds for a nutty tasting crunchy topping but you could use bread crumbs instead (or in addition to the nuts and seeds – this would pad out the dish and bring the cost down to below £1 a portion).

I kept the cauliflower and broccoli cooking water which I made into vegetable stock (to freeze in ice cube trays for another time).

Ingredients

  • 300g Brussels sprouts, washed, outer leaves removed and halved
  • Third of a cauliflower, broken into florets
  • Handful of broccoli florets
  • 2 shallots or small onion finely chopped
  • Large knob of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • Half pint of milk
  • 2 heaped tablespoons grated cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and Parmesan)
  • Teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 heaped tablespoons pine nuts and sunflower seeds
  • Teaspoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Cook the cauliflower and broccoli in boiling water for about five minutes.
  3. Heat the oil and cook the shallots/onion until soft. Add the Brussel sprouts and season well with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Make the sauce by melting the butter and mixing in the flour. Cook for a few minutes before adding the milk gradually and whisking until thick. Add the mustard and cheese (keeping some back later for the topping) and season to taste.
  5. Pile all the vegetables into an oven proof dish and pour over the sauce.
  6. Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds by frying in a dry pan for about five minutes. Sprinkle over the mixture and top with a little bit more of the cheese.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes until browned on the top and bubbling.

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