Hotdish: Make a Vegetarian Version of the Midwestern Classic for Meatless Monday

March 26th, 2018


Midwestern Meatless Monday lovers will be excited to know that we’ll be discussing a dish very dear to their hearts: hotdish. The comfort food staple has been around for decades and is known for its delicious but less-than-healthy reputation. But it’s also known for being one of the most flexible dishes that can be easily transformed into lighter, more nutritious fare. There is just one cardinal rule to keep in mind: Don’t call it a casserole.

The traditional hotdish generally consists of canned soup (such as cream of mushroom), ground beef, frozen or canned vegetables, and a topping of crunchy tater tots. It was designed to feed entire families while sticking to a budget – important during the early 20th century. A meal similar to hotdish was first mentioned during World War I, when the country was spreading its “Food Will Win the War” campaign to conserve food on the home front so soldiers would have food abroad. This was actually the first Meatless Monday campaign, which was revived in 2003 by Sid Lerner as a public health and environmental initiative.

Today, Meatless Monday is on an even bigger mission – asking people to forego meat once a week as a way to improve their personal health and the health of the planet. While the traditional hotdish recipe calls for meat, it’s very easy to make a great version of hotdish without it. We asked Meatless Monday bloggers to give us their best meatless hotdish recipes.

And yes, some of them might call them casseroles. But they’re hot, they’re dishes, and they combine the great flavors of comfort food with inexpensive ingredients!

Vegetarian Tater Tot Hotdish | Fork in the Kitchen


Sweet Potato Casserole with Black Beans, Kale, and Buckwheat | Happy Kitchen Rocks


Tuscan Quinoa Casserole | My Plate 2 Yours

These vegetarian hotdishes are a great way to wrap up the winter. If you have a go-to meatless hotdish recipe, share it with us on social media and tag #MeatlessMonday!