Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ode to Swiss Veg Med

As we are in the midst of a holiday season, which at least in my world, revolves largely around food, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite holiday dinner/potluck recipes. I suppose it could really be made anytime of year, but it has always stuck in my mind as a holiday food. The food: Swiss Vegetable Medley, or as it has been written on many a holiday shopping list in my family, "Swiss Veg Med".

As you will see, it is a close cousin to the Green Bean Casserole, but I would argue that it is approximately 3000% awesomer. Why?
1. It does not contain green beans.
2. It contains cheese.

Enough said.

Swiss Vegetable Medley
16 oz frozen California blend vegetables, thawed and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 can (2.8 oz) French fried onions (the cheese flavored ones add extra deliciousness), divided

Preheat oven to 350. Combine vegetables, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, sour cream, pepper, and 1/2 can onion. Pour into greased 1-quart casserole. Cover. Bake for 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and onion, then bake uncovered for 5 minutes.

Microwave directions: prepare as above, cook covered on high for 8 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and onion, then cook uncovered for 1 minute or until cheese melts.

For the record, part of the beauty of this recipe is that it is very, very flexible. And you can't screw it up, even when you screw it up. It's flexible even by casserole standards, which are pretty darn flexible to start with. For example, when I made this for Thanksgiving dinner while living in London, I couldn't find fried onions, so I substituted crushed Ritz crackers on top. I also had a fun time trying to track down "Swiss" cheese at the supermarket. My sheltered Wisconsin self didn't know that there were multiple varieties of cheese made in Swizerland and that they all had different names, but fortunately a kind staff member in the study abroad office steered me toward gruyere.

When I made this for Christmas dinner while traveling in Austria, there was no cream of mushroom soup to be found. Extra sour cream and some chopped mushrooms seemed to do the trick. I have no recollection of what vegetable blends I ended up using in each of these countries, as I very much doubt that I was able to find a bag of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. And yes, I have actually tried the microwave directions, when I made this for an office potluck a few years ago. What can I say, this dish and I have a history!

Tonight's version of it may be the most interesting yet: it's pretty much impossible to find pre-shredded Swiss/gruyere around here, and I can't seem to buy the blocks in small enough quantity that I use up the rest before it goes moldy. So today I'm experimenting with cheddar jack. And I sort of screwed up and added all of it to the mix instead of saving some to sprinkle on top. Oopsy. And we were out of sour cream, so I figured a dash of milk and a little more cheese would do the trick. Fingers crossed!

Finally, I would like to leave you with one lesson: buy the small can of onions. If you buy the 6-oz. can of onions, thinking you will have enough to make this dish twice, you just might find yourself eating half a can of onions while mixing the casserole together. Oopsy again. On second thought, if I'd only had the small can, I might have had to run out and buy more while it was in the oven so that I'd have something to top it with.


  1. So how'd it turn out?

  2. Pretty tasty, but kind of better in the other versions. :) But who am I to complain, since there was dinner ready when I got home from work at 8pm!

  3. I thought it was quite delicious, but I don't think I'll substitute cheese again. The omission of the Swiss in Swiss Veg Med seems to be going a bit too far. It was still delicious but had a very different flavor (obviously).

  4. Yay for Thanksgiving in London! And this sounds good, but I have screwed up Hamburger Helper in the past...maybe I'll have Aaron make it instead!

  5. Swiss cheese makes awesome grilled cheese sandwiches so go ahead and buy the big block. Just be sure to get cheddar for Carrie.