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Posts Tagged ‘casserole’

Sometimes, it’s Saturday and I’m able to take my time taking awesome pictures for the blog, complete with props and natural sunlight and cute dishes.

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Other times, I have been trying to make a dish for two weeks but haven’t found time;  had to toss ingredients out at least once because they went bad before I could use them; had to hussle out of the kitchen cause my roommate needed it to make dinner with his friends; had to take pictures in front of old plastic-ed windows in the early morning gray-ness because it’s snowing; and the recipe I’m photographing is really nothing but a pile of orange and  brown (albeit delicious) mush.

(Did I use those semi-colons correctly?!?! I think I followed the rules the Oatmeal gave me! oh yeah!)

Can you guess which situation this delightful shephard’s pie recipe falls under?

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Despite the fact that it may win the award for the most unpleasant pictures on the site, the recipe is actually really delicious, which is a lot coming from me. Shephard’s pie used to be my one freebie at dinner. You know, you had to eat what Mom makes except for your one freebie meal because she knew you genuinely hated it. Shephard’s pie was my freebie (until I went vegetarian, then I got a special meal each night. Go me!). But since this recipe has exactly none of the ingredients that my mom’s shephard’s pie had, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that I like it better.

Like my potato masher? After I made the Sweet Potato burgers for my parents and it took me a million hours to mash the potatoes with a fork, Mom bought me my very own potato masher. yeah!! lol

Like my potato masher? After I made the Sweet Potato burgers for my parents and it took me a million hours to mash the potatoes with a fork, Mom bought me my very own potato masher. yeah!! lol

This recipe takes the tradition meat, potatoes and veggies (Mom’s always had ground beef, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy) and subs in lentils, mushrooms and sweet potatoes, all things I love! Weirdly enough, when it was cooking though, it definitely smelt like I remember Mom’s did! Maybe I was just psyching myself out…

Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

From thekitchn.com
Makes 6 servings

6 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed*
1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
3/4 cup dry steel cut oats
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound  mushrooms, divided ( used baby bellas, the original recipe used creminis)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick each sweet potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until very soft to the touch. Set aside to cool.

In a medium pot, combine the lentils, oats, bay leaf and salt with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy, stirring occasionally to keep the oats from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Discard bay leaf and drain mixture into a colander or sieve.

While the lentils and oats are cooking, finely chop half of the mushrooms and set aside. Cut the remaining mushrooms into quarters. Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until browned and soft. Add the chopped mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Lower heat to medium and add the lentil and oat mixture, followed by the vegetable stock, wine, tomato paste, soy sauce, paprika, and parsley. Taste and add salt if needed. Simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a few grinds of black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel sweet potatoes with your hands and place in a medium bowl. Use a fork to mash them into a smooth paste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Evenly spread the lentil mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish. (For thicker layers, use a 9×9-inch pan.) Spoon the sweet potato mixture on top and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling at the edges.

 *Note: The original recipe called for 5 medium sweet potatoes but that didn’t even cover 3/4 of my shephard’s pie in a 9×13 pan. I would suggest buying and roasting 6. Start by mashing 5 and if you need more, mash the 6th. If you end up not using that 6th roasted sweet potato, you can always cube it and add it to a salad or have it it for lunch.
 
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Bonus points for me: Shephard’s Pie is considered an Irish cuisine on wikipedia. Which means that I am over a week early with presenting you with a St. Patty’s Day dinner idea. Just add a Guiness (Extra Stout is vegan according to Barnivore.com) and your done. More St. Patty’s day recipes to come!
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This weekend was CRAZY! I had three whole days off and I feel like I was kept busy for every second of it.

Highlights: Staying in bed late on Saturday morning, cooking marathon Saturday evening, waking up to find a guy sleeping on my couch on Sunday and then having him take and post pictures of me on instagram as I took photographs for WV (Hey Rob! Hope you didn’t think  I was too weird standing on chairs…), Hanging with Whitney, Seeing Taking Back Sunday in Maine and having them sing the Ballad of Sal Villanueva (I screamed so loud when I realized they were playing this…), eating at Silly’s in Maine, AND I started some christmas presents.

Whew! How was your weekend??

cashew cream!

Now, to focus on Thanksgiving which is two days away! Oi with the poodles…

So, to stay vegan during Thanksgiving, I have found the best thing to do is be prepared! Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. I can’t say it enough. Last year (and this year too), my mom was super helpful in working out things I can and can’t eat but it’s because we knew what everyone was bringing so we could work around it. Last year, I had a tofurkey and a bunch of veggies. I also made an appetizer (this salsa…so good!) and a dessert (these cookies) and got my mom to make this casserole, which we are making again this year because everyone loved it (sub Earth Balance for butter and leave out marshmallows to make vegan). By planning ahead and strategically contributing to the spread, I was able to make sure that I had at least one thing to eat per course and that was super helpful in allowing me to avoid things.

So, when prepping this year I wanted to tackle some classic staples that may be favorites for you. First up, green bean casserole. I LOVE green bean casserole! Though it’s a classic, I only started really loving it recently so I was pretty bummed when I couldn’t have it last year. Thus, it was the first thing on my list of things to make this year.

Green Bean Casserole
casserole from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
toppings from How Sweet Eats

Beans

  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, ends removed and cut in half
  • 1 TBSP salt

Sauce

  • 10 oz of mushrooms (I bought the pre-washed, pre-sliced variety. Save time on Thanksgiving day!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable brother
  • 1 TBSP dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup cashew cream* or soy creamer (important note)

(Note: to makes cashew cream- soak 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews in water for a minimum of 4 hours or over night. Then, drain the cashews and place them in a blender with 1 c. of dairy milk of choice. Blend until smooth. Soy creamer can be used in place but I’m much prefer cashew cream. I think it provides a much more neutral base and it’s something that can be made if soy creamer is not stocked at your local grocery store)

Toppings

  • 1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425.

Beans: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beans and the salt. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Let drain and see aside.

Topping: While the beans are cooking, heat a large skillet over low head and add the olive oil, onions and salt. Stir well to coat, then cover and cook onions until caramelized, about 20 minutes. While the onions are cooking, mix together the panko crumbs, thyme and oregano and set aside. Alternatively, I imagine if you have 1/2 tsp of onion soup mix, that would also taste great mixed in with the panko crumbs.

Sauce: Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt pepper and (optional) cayenne pepper. Cook until mushroom are soft and exude their juices. Whisk together the veggie broth and the flour until mixture is smooth and then add to the mushroom mixture along with the sherry. Simmer, stirring and everything is well mixed. Add the cashew cream and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens (the cashew cream is pretty thing anyway so this only took be 5 minutes). Add the beans.

Place the green bean/mushroom mix into a casserole dish. Top with caramelized onions and panko crumbs. Place in a pre-heated 425 degreee oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the casserole is warmed through and the  panko crumbs are golden.

To make this the night before, follow the steps through placing the green bean/mushroom mix into a casserole dish. Cover and chill until prepared to serve. Right before placing this in the oven, top with caramelized onions (I cooked these the night before and kept in a separate bowl until ready to put on casseroel) and panko mix. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 425. If you find that the mixture has turned too solid in the fridge over night, pour a little bit of soy milk on the green bean mixture, stir it around, then top with onions and panko.

I really love this dish! I was actually eating it cold and uncooked out of the casserole dish the night I was prepping it. Unfortunately, unlike the Sweet Potato casserole above, I don’t think this dish will pass as non-vegan to the other people at your Thanksgiving dinner. I think traditional green bean casserole has too distint a taste and when you start veganizing it, people will know. It’s so yummy, though! My suggestion would be if you are making this for just you, half the recipe, make it the night before,  bring it to your Thanksgiving dinner and just pop it in the oven with all the other veggy dishes when they  are heated up. You’ll get your green bean casserole AND all the left overs when you tell your family it’s vegan. At least, that’s what will happen at my house!

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