Today, my food-loving friends, today we are diving into a Midwest, kind of specifically a Minnesotan, right of passage. Tater Tot Hotdish...without meat.
What is Hotdish?
Hotdish is another name for a casserole, essentially. It’s a casserole with a creamy base, typically made with a can of condensed soup, filled with ground beef and vegetables, and topped with crispy tater tots. Oh, and cheese.
All the best of the Midwest, right?! Even more so because it’s basically a throw-in-the-pan-and-bake kind of dinner.
It’s all there, right in the baking dish, ready to enjoy. It’s comforting, cozy, and that kind of recipe you want to make for busy weeknight dinners or Sunday suppers.
And now, vegetarians don’t need to miss out. This meatless version is still loaded with comfort, flavor, and texture. And of course, crispy tater tots, because really when it comes down to it, that’s the most important part of hotdish anyway, isn’t it?
Ingredients You’ll Need
Of course, an easy recipe is going to have simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe without any meat. Be sure to see the full recipe card below for details.
- Butter and Olive Oil: I like to use the mix to sautee the vegetables, but you could use just one or the other.
- Onion, Garlic, Celery and Carrot create the base of flavor.
- Frozen Corn and Peas for ease. If you have fresh, they’ll work too.
- Parsley: this adds a bright freshness to the filling, I would highly recommend sticking with fresh, although you can substitute half the amount with dried, if absolutely necessary. It’s also great with warm herbs like thyme and rosemary.
- Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup: seriously, homemade is the way to go here. Substitute with celery, cauliflower, or potato cream of soup.
- Monterey Jack Cheese: recommended for its mild, buttery flavor and excellent melting, however, you can substitute cheese as needed – just make sure it’s melty!
- Parmesan Cheese: for another salty component and a nice cheesy addition. Look for a vegetarian version to keep this technically vegetarian, or omit.
- Frozen Tater Tots: they’re kind of the star of the show, aren’t they?
This recipe is vegetarian (check your cheeses) and gluten-free if you use gluten-free condensed soup and check the remaining ingredients!
Looking to add more veggies?! Try green beans, broccoli, additional mushrooms, kale, or spinach.
How to Make Tater Tot Casserole without Meat
Short answer: you load it with extra veggies and savory mushrooms for that umami flavor.
It’s actually so easy to do, and dare I say that even meat-eaters are going to ask for this no-meat version once they’ve tried it? It’s true.
To take this recipe to the next level, I highly recommend starting out by making homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup. You can even make it ahead of time if you know you’ll be making hotdish for a quick weeknight dinner.
Now, making the homemade soup isn’t a requirement of this recipe, it just makes it that much more flavorful (so much more savory umami mushrooms in it!). Ok, now onto the hotdish…
To prepare the hotdish filling, melt butter and olive oil, then sautee the mirepoix. In other words, the mix of onions, celery, and carrots. Cook for a few minutes, then add in the garlic, salt, and pepper, and I like to add a little red pepper flake too, for dimension.
Once the veggies are tender, add frozen corn and peas until heated through. Yes, frozen veggies are to the rescue here, making our life EASY!
Stir in some fresh parsley for brightness, then combine it all together with the condensed cream of mushroom soup.
Make this a one-pan recipe by cooking the filling in a cast iron (or oven-safe) skillet.
If using an oven-safe skillet, spread the filling evenly in the pan at this point. Otherwise, transfer the filling mixture to a 3-quart baking dish or one of a similar size. Here, I’m using a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the top, then add the final layer of frozen tater tots, lining them up right next to each other to allow for the most crispy tater tot goodness on top of the hotdish!
Once the casserole is assembled with all of the tater tots on top, bake for approximately 30 minutes until the tots are golden brown and you can see the bubbly, melty cheese around the edges.
Let the hotdish rest for a few minutes to set up before serving (I know, the temptation!), et voila, vegetarian tater tot hotdish everyone will love!
MN Shaped Skillet
Looking for your very own MN-shaped skillet for this iconic dish? Mine is from the American Skillet Company. If you prepare it in one of these uniquely shaped pans, you’ll have leftover filling. Place it in ramekins for individual servings, too.
What to Serve with Hotdish
Hotdish is great on its own – it does have it all – carbs, cheese, and veggies! But that doesn’t mean that adding a delicious side dish won’t round out the meal, either. Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Roasted broccolini or air fryer Brussels sprouts are a nice way to get another green vegetable.
- A nice green salad with white balsamic vinaigrette would balance out the flavors nicely.
- Instant Pot steamed carrots or easy frozen green beans for quick sides!
Make Ahead & Freezer Tips
To Make Ahead: Prepare the vegetable filling, stopping just after spreading in a skillet and topping with cheese. Then cover well with plastic wrap or a lid and place it in the fridge up to 2 days in advance. Bring to room temperature if prepared in a glass pan before baking. Top with frozen tater tots immediately before baking.
To Freeze: Freeze it in a pan with the tater tots on top. Cover with plastic wrap and a layer of foil to prevent freezer burn. When ready to bake, bake from frozen at 350°F for about 45-60 minutes until the tots are golden brown and it’s bubbly.
Freezing individual portions works well, too, especially in Souper Cubes. Thaw and reheat in the oven or in the microwave.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Vegetarian Tater Tot Hotdish (Casserole)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup yellow onion, diced
- ½ cup celery, diced
- ½ cup carrot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese*, freshly shredded
- 30-34 frozen tater tots
- Preheat oven to 375°F. To keep this a one-pan recipe, cook the filling in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, or oven-safe skillet.
- In the skillet, over medium heat, melt butter and heat the olive oil. Once hot, add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, and add a pinch of salt to begin layering in the flavor.1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, ¾ cup yellow onion, ½ cup celery, ½ cup carrot
- Add garlic and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes, until all the veggies are tender. Stir in frozen peas and corn.3 cloves garlic, Pinch of red pepper flakes, Salt and pepper, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 cup frozen peas
- Remove from heat. Stir in the parsley and cream of mushroom soup until fully combined.2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 cup Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- If cooking in the same skillet, spread the filling evenly across the pan. Otherwise, transfer to a 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle both kinds of cheeses on top. Then, line the tater tots across the entire top of the hotdish.½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese*, 30-34 frozen tater tots
- Bake for 28-33 minutes until bubbly and tater tots are golden brown. Let sit 2-3 minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- *Look for cheese specifically labeled vegetarian, if needed.
- Pan Size: as shown in some of the photos, I used a fun Minnesota Cast Iron Skillet as a baking dish, and placed the rest of the filling in small ramekins. You can use an 8×8 glass baking dish, a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, or another 3-quart baking dish.
- Double Recipe: bake in a 9×13 dish.
- 2/28/23: updated the amount of onion from 1/2 to 3/4 cup and the carrots and celery from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
This recipe was originally published on September 6th, 2016; updates have been made to the text and photos, but no changes were made to the original recipe.
This recipe is part of our State Fair Foods to Make at Home roundup. Check it out!