the main course

Wild Rice and Root Vegetable Casserole

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Root vegetables are prevalent throughout the winter, but what to do with those rutabagas, turnips, and parsnips? In this cheesy vegetarian casserole, roasted root vegetables are combined with nutty wild rice and a homemade bechamel sauce for a satisfying main dish or a hearty side.

Recipe & Photo by Maren Ellingboe 


  • 1 ½ c wild rice
  • 2 parsnips, peeled & cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, peeled & cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled & cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1⁄4 c flour
  • 1 ½ c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 c vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tsp ground pepper, divided


  1. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Add rice to a medium saucepan with 3 ½ cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes until water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°. Spread parsnips, turnip, and rutabaga on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Season with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Roast until lightly browned and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven to 375°. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Then, add garlic and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes more. Add flour and stir until coated for 30 seconds. Add milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken stock, 1 c cheddar cheese, and remaining salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in wild rice and roasted vegetables. Spread mixture in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ½ c cheese over casserole. Bake until dish is bubbling and browned, 35 to 40 minutes.

Recipe Notes and Variations

Use any combination of root vegetables you like for your vegetarian casserole. When roasted, they all take on a pleasant caramelized sweetness. This would also be delicious with butternut or kabocha squash!


  • Maggy Stricker
    September 6, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Some of these recipes sound great. I haven’t tried any yet, but hope to.

    • Imperfect Foods
      September 17, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      Be sure to lettuce know what you think of them if you do!

  • Becky
    October 2, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    This one is amazing! I could not get enough of it. The flavors mix so well, and it’s super hearty.

    • Imperfect Foods
      October 11, 2020 at 8:03 pm

      So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it!

    • Maren
      November 19, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      So happy you enjoyed it!

      • Imperfect
        December 3, 2020 at 9:45 pm



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