Carrot casserole is a baked dish that can be served as an entree or as a side dish. Basic ingredients in this casserole typically include chopped or mashed carrots, butter, eggs, onions and canned celery or mushroom soup. A person who is making carrot casserole should be sure to put the dish in the oven well before it is time to serve, because the dish is said to taste best after it has set and cooled for a bit.
There are several different varieties of carrot casserole. Many people add other solid ingredients to the casserole aside from the carrots. Depending on a person's personal taste, egg noodles, bread crumbs or French fried onions can be used. It also is popular to top a carrot casserole with cheddar cheese.
This type of casserole typically is made in a deep baking dish to allow for layering. If any egg noodles are being used in the casserole, then a person should boil them before the baking process begins. The carrots also should be cooked in advance of being placed in the baking dish. A person preparing a carrot casserole should preheat the oven to between 350° Fahrenheit and 375° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius and 191° Celsius). Once all of the ingredients are cooked and mixed together, the casserole should stay in the oven for about 30 minutes to be sure the heat reaches the center of the dish.
A large casserole can serve a lot of people. Casseroles often are passed around at holiday parties and potluck events. Carrot casserole also may work as a meal for parents who are having trouble getting their kids to eat vegetables. The other ingredients in the casserole add more flavor to the carrots and children may be more likely to embrace the orange vegetables.
Carrot casseroles are often served as part of a dinner but, when slightly altered, this dish also can be used as a dessert. These sweet variations on carrot casserole start by eliminating some of the savory ingredients, such as onions and soup mix, and replacing them with ingredients such as baked apples and cinnamon. A person also can add shredded coconut, pecans and vanilla extract to put another unique spin on the dish. If a person is bringing a dessert carrot casserole to a party, then he or she also may want to provide whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to serve with it.