Searching for new ways to serve carrots, I came across an interesting phenomenon of the carrot casserole recipe. Apparently, it seems quite popular and is often made with canned cream of celery soup and is topped with bread crumbs. I’ve never tried it before, so I was up for it, but preferred not to use canned soup. So I found this creamy cheesy carrot casserole recipe and worked from that.
I preferred Nikki’s recipe over the others I saw no only because there was no canned soup, but that she also made it with fresh bread crumbs. I followed most of Nikki’s instructions, but I did prepare the bread crumbs a little differently and I’ll highlight that below. I also made a few changes to the ingredients…I added onions and garlic (yeah, I pretty much add that to everything!). I also used whole wheat bread instead of white bread and used a little less butter. And finally, I didn’t add any salt since I only had onion salt (not powder) and the celery salt already added plenty of sodium.
The end result was absolutely delicious! I just had the leftovers for lunch.
Make Ahead Tip: We were having company in the evening, so I actually prepared the casserole in the early afternoon and then just slid it in the oven about 40 minutes before serving time. It turned out perfectly.
How to Make This Carrot Casserole Recipe
The original recipe called for placing the bread in a blender to make crumbs. Since I had a freak smoothie accident a little while back and I broke my blender, I toasted the bread in the oven first. I placed it on a baking sheet at 300 F for about 20 minutes and flipped it half way through. Then I used my food chopper to chop it into crumbs, but by all means use the blender method to keep it simple for yourself. The original recipe calls for 6-7 slices of bread, but this is just too much and overtakes the amazing creamy carrots. I recommend using about 4 slices, but that’s my personal preference.
In the meantime, heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a pan and then saute the garlic and onion until soft. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and slowly stir in the half and half, stirring constantly with a whisk over medium heat. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in the onion salt, celery salt, mustard powder and pepper.
In a rectangular casserole dish (I used an 11 x 7 one and it was just right), place the sliced carrots along the bottom.
Now you can melt the last 2 tablespoons butter in a pan and add the bread crumbs. Stir well to distribute the melted butter and continue stirring occasionally until the crumbs have browned a little.
Top the casserole with your bread crumbs and cover with foil. At this point, you can start baking the casserole or put it in the fridge until you are ready.
When you’re ready to bake, place it in a 350 F oven covered for about 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble under the bread crumbs. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.