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Vegetarian: Kale and Cabbage Gratin

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[Photograph: Lauren Rothman]

For the most part, I think, food lovers have come a long way with regards to vegetarian eating: by now, most of us know that "meat-free" does not automatically imply "light" or "healthy" or even "not decadent." Except maybe this guy.

Take, for example, my dad. For at least as long as I can personally attest to, he's loved food of all kinds and was never exactly your typical meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. Still, though, when I was growing up we had meat at every dinner unless we were eating pasta; my dad just didn't think an evening meal without meat could be indulgent or filling enough. Luckily, over time, my health-conscious mom has managed to mold him just slightly, and they even (happily) eat at vegan restaurants sometimes. The times, they are a-changin'.

This recipe is a great example of a rich, comforting vegetarian dish. Sure, it's loaded with healthy cabbage and its dark green cousin, kale. But it's also topped with cheese and butter. Vegetarian? Yes. Meager? Certainly not.

About the author: Lauren Rothman is a former Serious Eats intern, a freelance catering chef, and an obsessive chronicler of all things culinary. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and follow her on Twitter @Lochina186.

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