There is something special about a casserole, isn’t there? I don’t know if it’s the delicious smell that fills the house, the company shared with or the limitless combinations you can try; a casserole always adds a little something extra to the meal.
With only a few short months left before baby arrives, I have begun thinking about what our family is going to need to help ease the transition. One thing I didn’t do before my daughter was born was to whip up a bunch of freeze ahead meals, what a mistake!
These hearty casseroles, along with some favorite soups and chilies, will make perfect freezer meals that I can just pull out and serve during the chaos of those first few weeks home with baby! Whether you are expecting or not, having a few ready-made meals up your sleeve can be a real life saver in the middle of an out of control work week. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of my families favorite casseroles!
Ooey, Gooey, Goodness!
Okay, when I think casserole, my mind is instantly filled with images of rich creamy casseroles loaded with hearty veggies and about as much cheese as humanly possible! I’m sure I’m not alone in this, which is why I chose to lead this post off with my cheesy potato casserole.
These were a dish we enjoyed at every family gathering when I was a child! It just wasn’t a proper get together without my Nana Charlotte’s potatoes. Mind you she packed hers with sour cream, cow cheese and cream based soups, not exactly vegan friendly. Determined I wasn’t going to miss out on this delicious family tradition, I set to work making a vegan friendly version of her show stopping potatoes that deliver all the flavor and texture, without the guilt! I have included a substitute for the cream based soups this recipe originally calls for, the ingredients and directions to make it are listed separately below.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it is simple and inexpensive to prepare, making it perfect for weeknight dinners or as a last minute pot-luck dish!
Mama’s Cheezy Potato Casserole
Ingredients for Casserole:
1 large bag of frozen diced hash browns, thawing before use
2 cups Tofutti Better Than sour cream
10 Tablespoons Becel Vegan Margarine, divided, melted
1 teaspoon salt
Homemade vegetable gravy (ingredients and directions below)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
2 cups Diya Medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups corn flakes cereal
Ingredients for Vegetable Gravy:
2 tablespoons Becel Vegan Margarine
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup cashew milk (or your choice of nut milk)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Directions for Vegetable Gravy:
1. In a small sauce pan, melt the margarine over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
2. Slowly stir in the vegetable broth, then slowly stir in the cashew milk. Whisk constantly until your mixture begins to thicken. Let it simmer for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This mixture will be thick, you are basically creating a vegetable based gravey to add into your potatoes. You can also replace the salt in this recipe by adding soy sauce to create a vegan brown gravey for poutine!
Directions for Casserole:
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl combine Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, vegetable gravey, 6 Tablespoons of melted Becel Vegan Margarine, salt, pepper, garlic powder and diced onion, mixing well.
3. Add thawed hash browns and shredded Diya Medium Cheddar cheese and stir thoroughly to combine. Spoon mixture into a greased 9×13” casserole dish.
4. Add corn flakes to a large Ziploc bag and crush gently with your hands or a rolling pin. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of melted Becel Vegan Margarine to the crushed corn flakes and mix well to combine. Sprinkle mixture over potatoes.
5. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 40-50 minutes.
If you are looking for some freezer meals to make ahead of time, this casserole is a great option! Simply prepare the casserole as stated above and spread the mixture into your casserole dish, but don’t add the corn flakes. Cover and freeze for up to three months. When you are ready to use, thaw your casserole in the fridge overnight, top with prepared corn flake mixture and cook as directed above!
Side dishes are often the unsung heroes of the dinner, they can really pull a meal together and make it something memorable! This is a wonderful side dish that pairs well with ANY summer BBQ (and one that was a huge hit at our gender reveal party this past weekend)! I know I’m running a bit of a risk sharing two potato based casseroles one after another but who doesn’t love loaded backed potatoes?
Fully Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
Cooking Spray to coat your casserole dish
10 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
6-8 Slices of Yves Veggie Bacon Strips (or your favorite vegan bacon/vegan bacon crumble)
2 cups Diya Medium Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (set 1/2 cup aside to bake on top at the end)
1/4 cup Creamy Cashew Milk (I use the cashew milk because of how rich and creay it is)
1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (you can always use a vegan plain yogurt in place of the sour cream in a pinch!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup Sliced Green Onions, divided
1. Switch your oven on to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). While your oven is heating, lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. Place quartered potatoes into a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.
3. While the potatoes boil, chop your veggie bacon strips into your preferd size (they won’t shrink up on you like meat bacon). Melt a tsp of Becel Vegan Margarine in a pan and saute your chopped veggie bacon, seasoning very lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until veggie bacon begins to crisp up and set aside.
4. Combine 1 1/2 cup shredded Diya Medium Cheddar cheese, Creamy Cashew Milk, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, Salt, and Black Pepper in the pot with the Potatoes. Mash the ingredients with a potato masher until creamy then spread the potato mixture into your prepared baking dish.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes; sprinkle with your veggie bacon crumble, green onions, and remaining 1/2 cup shredded Diya Medium Cheddar cheese. Return to the oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes more.
This amazing casserole pairs perfectly with a juicy veggie burger and a nice garden salad!
Not every casserole has to be the sidekick either, casseroles make fantastic main courses as well! For example, this Baked Burrito Casserole can turn any night into a fiesta! Loaded with seasoned ground ‘beef’ and topped with all the fixings, this twist on a traditional burrito is bound to be a hit! The best part? It is quick and easy to throw together! So here
is what you’ll need:
Mama’s ‘Make it Again!’ Burrito Bake
1 pack Yves Mexican Style Veggie Ground Round
1 large onion, chopped 1 medium green pepper
1 medium yellow pepper
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can of corn
1 (2 ounce) can sliced black olives
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 package of taco seasoning or 1 (16 ounce) jar taco sauce
2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
12 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 brick of Diya Medium Cheddar Cheese*, hand grated and 1 bag of Diya Shredded Monteray Jack Cheese, combined *You can also buy a preshredded bag of Diya Cheddar Cheese that would work just fine if you’re in a rush (or just hate shredding cheese), but I prefer the way the cheese melts when it’s freshly grated!
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute the diced onions, chopped green and yellow peppers, jalapeno and minced garlic for 5 minutes. Mix in the Yves Mexican Style Ground Round (crumble by hand as you add to the pan), black olives, corn, canned diced tomatoes, taco seasoning and refried beans.
3. Stir mixture until thoroughly combined. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Spread a thin layer of the veggie mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by another thin layer of your veggie mixture, then a layer of your cheese blend. Continue this pattern of veggie mix, tortilla, cheese until you have used all of your tortillas. Top with one final layer of your veggie mix and top with a layer of cheese.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is nicely melted.
I can’t emphasize using THIN layers enough! The first time I made this dish for my family I made my layers way too thick and was only able to get one row of tortillas into the casserole before I ran out of my mixture. I ended up with essentially a big dish of baked burrito filling. Flavor wise, wow, was it ever incredible! But it certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when starting out.
I have since learned to be very spairing with my layers of mixture so I can really layer in the tortillas to get the hearty burrito experience layered into my casserole.
Summer is no time to skip the casserole! There are endless combinations of garden fresh veggies just waiting at your
finger tips. A light zucchini and eggplant blend with tomatoes is a popular combo in our house! But today we are going to be focusing on a Green Bean Casserole, a dish that has become a classic any time of the year (though it’s my favorite to make in the summer when I can pick the beans fresh from my garden! Oh yumminess…)!
This is a go to of mine because it uses simple, fresh ingredients that I know (no googling ingredients for this recipe!) and my family loves. Comparatively, it`s probably also one of the healthier recipes we have discussed today!
Green Bean Casserole
1 1/2 lb. green beans
1 large onion, chopped
5 tbsp. All-purpose flour
1 Large Shallot
1 Container of Crimini Mushrooms, sliced (feel free to use your favorite mushrooms instead!)
Pam nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp. Becel Vegan Margarine
1 cup vegetable broth (If you have the time, nothing beats the flavor of a home made broth!)
1/2 cup UNSWEETENED Almond Milk
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with foil, coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, toss chopped onions with 2 tablespoons flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spread onion in single layer on prepared foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 14 minutes; toss to rearrange then spray again. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until crisp (not burnt!).
3. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pot, heat 3 liters of water to a boil on high. Add the beans and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain beans in colander; rinse under cold water and drain again. Rinsing them under the cold water will keep them from continuing to cook once you have removed them from the water. They will be going into the oven to bake as well so if we let them get too soft now our casserole is going to be a mushy mess…
4. In a large frying pan or wok, melt Becel Vegan Margarine over medium heat. Add the shallot, cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add your mushrooms and continue to cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons flour and continue to cook for 1 minute. Now slowly add the vegetable broth then the almond milk and heat to boiling over high heat, stirring constantly. Once at a boil reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 2 minutes then add the beans.
5. Transfer your mixture to a 2 liter baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Give your casserole a final stir and top with the crisped onions you prepared earlier. Bake for roughly 5 minutes more or until sauce is bubbly.
Well, There You Have It!
I certainly hope this post has gotten your creative juices flowing at least half as much as it’s gotten my mouth watering! Try the recipes above as is, or tweak them to better suit your families tastes. Remember: there are no wrong answers when it comes to casseroles, just personal preferences! You know better than anyone what your family will love, use that as a starting point and just have fun with it!
Once you have gotten comfortable with different flavor combinations branch out and begin inventing your own mind blowing casseroles! Whether you tried a recipe from todays post, or have your own casserole creation to share, tell me about it in the comment section below!