Vegetarian Tater Tot Hotdish is a comforting Midwest casserole. This meatless version has a super savory, creamy filling with lots of veggies, a cheesy layer, and it’s all topped off with golden, crispy tater tots. You’ll love how easy it is to make, too!
Today, my food-loving friends, today we are diving into a Midwest, kind of specifically a Minnesotan, right of passage. Tater Tot Hotdish.
It’s a cozy, comforting vegetarian casserole that is synonymous with family meals complete with “oh yeah”s and “you betchya”s and “oofta”s. It’s the kind of veggie dinner that feels like a hug, just how mom intended it, and it’s one that even if you’re not from Minnesota, you’re going to fall in love with it.
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:
- Butter and Olive Oil: I like to use the mix to sautee the vegetables, but you could use just one or the other.
- Onion and Garlic
- Celery and Carrot
- Frozen Corn and Peas
- 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.
- Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup: seriously, homemade is the way to go here.
- 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. If you can’t find a vegetarian version, feel free to omit.
- Frozen Tater Tots: they’re kind of the star of the show, aren’t they?
Note: some cheeses are often made with rennet, an animal product. To keep a recipe vegetarian, check your cheese labels.
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 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, before continuing onto adding the toppings. Otherwise, transfer the filling mixture to a baking dish.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the top, then add the final layer of 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 it’s assembled, bake for approximately 30 minutes until the tots are golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let it sit for just a minute to set up before serving (I know, the temptation!), et voila, vegetarian tater tot hotdish everyone will love!
What to Serve with Hotdish
Hotdish is great on its own, but that doesn’t mean that adding a delicious side dish won’t round out the meal. I like to make roasted broccolini to pair with the hotdish. It is one of my favorite veggies…
Green Beans and Mushrooms would compliment the flavors of the hotdish, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Prepare the filling, top with the cheese, cover, 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.
Yes! You can freeze it completely finished, 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.
I haven’t tested it myself, but I would recommend trying cream of cauliflower or potato in place of the mushroom soup. Let us know if you give it a try!
Yes, you can! No need to change anything in the recipe if using fresh.
This hotdish is also excellent with thyme or rosemary – such warm flavors!
Yes, you can add in green beans, broccoli, additional mushrooms, kale, or spinach would be great additions.
Yes, instead of assembling in a baking dish, simply assemble as described in ramekins instead.
Isn’t it fun?! I thought it couldn’t be more perfect for this recipe. The Minnesota-shaped cast iron skillet is from the American Skillet Company.
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!
Vegetarian Tater Tot Hotdish
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion, diced
- ¼ cup celery, finely diced
- ¼ cup carrot, finely 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 Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese*, freshly shredded
- 30-34 frozen tater tots
- Pre-heat 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 a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or another skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes, until all the veggies are tender.
- Add frozen corn and peas. Stir for approximately 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and cream of mushroom soup until fully combined.
- If cooking in the same skillet, spread the filling evenly across the pan, otherwise transfer to an 8×8 or other small casserole pan (see note), spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheeses on top, then line tater tots across the surface of the hotdish in a single layer.
- 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.
- Pan Size: as shown in 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, or a smaller, similar-sized casserole pan. Or, double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 dish.
- Make it in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet for a one-pot recipe!
- *Look for cheese specifically labeled vegetarian, if needed.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
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!