Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Vegan Casseroles
Review and Giveaway

A truly great cookbook is filled with easy-to-follow recipes that ensure perfect results every time, while at the same time inspiring home cooks to experiment, explore, and elaborate. Julie Hasson's terrific new book, Vegan Casseroles, is that and more.


Aside from the occasional holiday noodle kugel I enjoyed at my grandmother's house, I don't think I ever ate anything resembling a casserole as a kid. I know my mom never made one. (Not even with the help of Hamburger Helper.) So the word 'casserole' intimidated me. I thought it was some kind of fancy-schmancy style of cooking, rather than the simple, hearty fare that it is.

Because I never thought of a lasagna as a casserole, it was one of the very first one-dish meals I ever endeavored to make. Since making a lasagna for the first time can be an intimidating cooking endeavor (it was for me!), this only added to my trepidation concerning the mysterious "casserole." After years of trial and error, I came to believe that my "famous" Spinach Lasagna was as close to culinary perfection as a home cook could get. But Julie's Zucchini Basil Lasagna is over-the-top delicious and one-up on my recipe! It is not only sublimely delicious, it also comes together in a snap! For a hint of "meatiness," I added neat Italian Mix to the zucchini filling and perhaps a bit extravagantly, I also melted some Daiya Mozzarella Shreds over the top. I have since made this dish without the additions, and even though I'm not a huge zucchini fan, it was super yummy.


Take a perfect golden cornbread recipe and a deliciously smoky sloppy Joe recipe,  and voila! you get Julie's scrumptious Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole. Instead of TVP, I used neat Original Mix made with pecans, garbanzo beans, gluten-free grains and spices. It's a wonderful, gluten- and soy-free alternative to textured vegetable protein. This dish is as down-home, comforting, and nurturing as any meal I've ever enjoyed. And it was even more delectable reheated for lunch the next day!


After not consuming any sweets for more than three weeks, the recipe for Cranberry Apple Crumble was calling to me. And WOW! was it ever-so-yummy right out of the oven! The intoxicating aroma that spread throughout my house in waves of heavenly bliss beckoned me to taste that first forkful of deliciousness. It was worth the wait! And while it would have been amazing topped with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream, this dessert was sublime all on its own.


The next recipe I'm going to sink my teeth into is Mujadara, an ancient Arabic dish made with rice, onions, and lentils. (The earliest recorded Mujadara recipe dates back to the year 1226.) I'm sharing Julie's Mujadara casserole here, so you can make it, too! The tantalizing recipe from Vegan Casseroles © 2014 by Julie Hasson is reprinted here with the kind permission of Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.
 
Photo ©2014 Felicia Perretti
Mujadara
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow or sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup brown lentils
¾ cup uncooked brown or white basmati rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups steaming-hot vegetable broth, or 4 cups steaming-hot water with 1 to 11/2 tablespoons vegan chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sprinkle with the salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until the onions are a deep brown color.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

Scoop the caramelized onions into the prepared baking dish. Stir in the lentils, rice, cumin, and hot vegetable broth. Cover the baking dish tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, if using white basmati rice, or 75 minutes if using brown basmati rice, until the rice and lentils are tender and have absorbed all of the liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with minced parsley.
If you'd like to create flavorful, one-dish-wonderful meals you'll want to enjoy over and over again, get yourself a copy of Vegan Casseroles!  And if you'd like to win a copy for yourself or someone on your gift list, simply leave a comment below telling me about your memory of the first casserole you've ever eaten, and then follow the comment prompt in the Rafflecopter box. (This step is mandatory for entry.) After you leave a comment, you can earn additional entries by following any or all of the other Rafflecopter options. I'll be selecting one lucky winner at random.* Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.

42 comments:

Lizzie Bordello said...

Tater tot hot dish!

sara said...

My mom used to make a ravioli casserole lol

ann said...

That cornbread sloppy joe casserole has me intrigued!

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

I'm not sure if it's the first, but I love a butternut squash/parsnip/pasta casserole I veganized from Cooking Light eons ago and have dubbed "Fall Harvest." Thank you for the giveaway!

donna said...

hamburger, corn, macaroni casserole

Jennifer Manriquez said...

When I was a kid, my granny made tuna casserole at least once a week.

Amber Pollard said...

my mom used to make me a special brussels sprout casserole because they've always been my favorite vegetable!

Anonymous said...

Baked ziti

Karen Guiney said...

Baked ziti

Lydia Claire said...

Before I was vegan my favorite casserole was a Seafood Bake. I would so love to veganize that recipe but I'm not sure how to replace the tuna and shrimp.

Corrine Greenfield said...

Does kugel count? I remember my grandmother making that.

Krista said...

My first favorite casserole was mac and cheese. That's kind of a casserole, isn't it?

Kristina said...

I find it so funny that someone would think of casseroles as fancy! To us, growing up, they were more of a lazy weeknight dinner kind of thing because of how few dishes we'd have to clean up. My mom used to make a chicken noodle casserole every couple of weeks, but my favorite was always her spinach and roasted veg white lasagna.

Rebecca said...

Tater tot casserole was my favorite as a kid.

scarriemom said...

My mom would make tuna noodle casserole just about every week when I was growing up. I can't say that I remember it fondly; I hated it!

marshowl said...

Tuna Noodle casserole is the first I remember my mom making.

Michelle said...

I think my first casserole was lasagna. For Thanksgiving this year I made a vegan lasagna for myself.

Patty T said...

I love casseroles and can't wait to try some. I'll start with the sloppy joe/cornbread casserole. Sounds yummy!

Terri Cole said...

The first casserole I ever made, and probably one of the first I ever ate, was one of my mom's go-to recipes. It had minute rice mixed with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, topped with browned chicken parts. I know, GROSS, but that was a loooooong time ago. I know better now!

gaia at cinci dot rr dor com

Anonymous said...

Mom fixed tuna casserole several times a month. My favorite part was the crushed potato chips she put on top! :)

Curry St John said...

When I was an omnivore I used to make a casserole from the Better Homes & Gardens "New" Cookbook that I later nicknamed "Cholesterol Casserole". It was so high in animal fats and cholesterol they removed the recipe from later editions! It had pork roll sausage (the breakfast stuff), a can of corn (hah, canned corn!), four hard boiled eggs and a white sauce made with milk, flour and butter. Admittedly it was a favorite, but maybe one day I'll veganize it. I made Julie Hasson's Baked Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce for my work Thanksgiving party and it was delicious!

Birdhouse Books said...

We used to have squash casserole when I was little ... I loved it.

glindathegood@bellsouth.net

sonja hilton said...

mac n cheese!! yummy comfort food!!

sonja hilton said...

lasagne

Anonymous said...

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MonsterAteMy said...

Honestly? It was tuna noodle casserole made with tons of cheese, just the way my new husband's grandmother made it.

Eva Nemec said...

I actually never had a casserole before I went vegan a year ago....and I'm from the Midwest, so that's basically sacreligous!

The first casserole I made and tried was a vegan Mexican casserole. Super easy and way too tasty for words. I ALWAYS have a stash of it in the freezer for dinner!

Anonymous said...

When I was really REALLY young I remember my mom making vegetable pot pie. I would cry every time she made it, because I hated it so much. I would tell her that she was trying to ruin my life. I love it now, though!
Cassie A.

Anonymous said...

My email address is mmmcookie2030@yahoo.com
Cassie A.
I'd love this cookbook to share with my family!

Nicollette Dailey said...

A cheesy, sour creamy noodle casserole. It definitely wasn't vegan or healthy--times have changed since then.

Erin Lenore said...

Would love to make a vegan pasta bake for my carnivore boyfriend…trying to win him over!

Healthy Organic & Cheap said...

My family didn't make a lot of casseroles growing up. I like to make a pasta bake with lots of vegetable.s

Jessica Caneal said...

I've never had one! Looking forward to it :-)

Adam Ef said...

probably lasagna or mac and cheese.. some kind of carbelicious dish lol

MerylAnnB said...

YUM! These look great~ my childhood casserole was tuna casserole (with cream of mushroom soup, potato chips, peas and tuna.) I'd love to figure out a gluten-free vegan version! 😄

Paula said...

Vegan tamale pie was the first casserole I ate. Now, I make them for potluck dinners I attend - would love to have some other tasty ideas, though!

Karen Delaney said...

Macaroni & cheese. Not vegan, but that's what I remember for a first.

The Vegan Version said...

Mujadara was a staple in our home growing up and is my Father's favorite meal. Ours was a little different but this one looks awfully good, too!

Anonymous said...

I think my first taste of casserole was tuna noodle. Not a fan :/

My sister made a fantastic corn bread casserole for Thanksgiving. Yum :)

Anonymous said...

I often rely on casseroles for quick work night suppers. "Vegan Casseroles" looks like a beautiful compilation of mouth-watering vegan recipes.

Maree said...

Hmmm ... does Mama's Cornbread Dressing count as a casserole? :-D Definitely could make a meal any day off of that yummy deliciousness. (By the way, I make it now with vegetable broth! ;-]) What about my first mother-in-law's Porcupine Meatballs or Hamburger Pie or Tomato Pie? Nowadays, I'd love to make those with neat or TVP! Winning this cookbook would be beyond awesome ~ thanks a bunch for the chance! :-D

Vegies said...

I sure could use this book for my xmas eve buffet! And everyday after that.