Recipe: Vegetarian Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a classic french dish of beans, spices, and meats baked slowly.  It’s a real source of pride in France.  The best way I can find to describe it is somewhere between baked beans, chili, and a casserole.

  • 2 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 2 Parsnips peeled, diced.
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced.
  • About 2 cups water.
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (about 2 14 oz cans)
  • Parsley or scallions to garnish, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a shallow pan, sautee parsnips, sweet potato, onion, and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix mustard, vinegar, and a little water into a paste.
  4. Take casserole pan, and add 1 cup of water, mustard mix and spices, blend thoroughly.
  5. Add vegetables and beans to mixture in casserole pan.  Stir thoroughly to mix.
  6. Add remaining water until the mix is just barely covered.
  7. Cover pan in foil.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Uncover pan, bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Stir before serving.  Add parsley or scallions when serving if you wish.

How does it look?  Actually very appealing.

And the result?

Very weird.

It is a strange mixture of bland, spicy, watery, and filling.  The parsley definitely adds something, and the parsnips add a fun bite.  I can clearly see how this is a dish that people have their own versions over or argue over, as you take some simple ingredients, but it passes through a gate into that real where the subtle personal differences get pretty powerful.

I like it, but I’m not “into” it like I am some other bean dishes – you all know how I adore baked beans and some bean stews.

However, I think I want to keep at this and perfect my own version just because this is me.  My thoughts are:

  1. It might be fun to add a potato to add more mildness.
  2. Replace a parsnip with a rutabaga.
  3. Replace the sweet potato with carrots.
  4. Make the sauce half water, half tomato paste.
  5. Add some sugar.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at