Recipe: Creamy Noodle Casserole

This recipe is from the book, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health

Serves 10

Ingredients:

16 ounces whole wheat pasta: farfalle, penne, or other short pasta (I used penne)

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

8 ounces green beans, cut into pieces (I used frozen cut green beans)

16 ounces cooked cannellini beans

1 cup shelled peas (I used frozen)

5 cups vegetable broth, separated

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup mined fresh parsley

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons paprika

1 cup nondairy Portobello mushroom broth, or extra vegetable broth

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta until just under done. Drain. Set aside.
  2. Saute onion, carrots, and celery in water. Cook until soft. Stir in green beans, cannellini beans, and peas. Cook another 5 minutes.
  3. Combine vegetables and pasta and spread in deep 9 x 13 dish.
  4. In saucepan over medium heat, add 1/2 cup vegetable broth and quickly whisk in the flour. Slowly whisk in remaining broth. Add parsley, thyme, paprika, and mushroom broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring until thickened.
  5. Pour the sauce over the noodles-vegetable mixture, and bake, covered for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove casserole, uncover, and sprinkle panko evenly on top. Return to over and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until panko is nicely browned. Serve hot.

My Notes:

This recipe went over surprisingly well. When I was putting it together, I leaned over and whispered to my mom, “No one is gonna eat this.” It was a BIG jump from our regular big meat entree with two vegetable sides.

We had family coming over for dinner at the last minute so I doubled the recipe, or almost doubled it. I didn’t have quite enough pasta to double it so I cut back on the broth by a few cups. If I had to do it again, I would have doubled the sauce completely.

I forgot to cover it during the 30 minute bake time so that probably contributed to the casserole being drier than I wanted.

I wasn’t a big fan of the bland panko breadcrumbs so I mixed some Italian bread crumbs with them. I still thought it lacked in flavor for the topping so I would skip the panko next time. It might even be good with a non-dairy cheese.

Overall, I only heard positive things about this recipe….even from the picky meat-eaters of the family. So with some minor tweaks for next time, I’d definitely call it a success.

Recipe: Vegan Taco Soup

This was the first vegan meal I made for the whole family. We thought it would be better to try out the veggie “meat” crumbles in a dish where it wasn’t so prominent. I was worried about the texture being a problem.

It turns out it wasn’t an issue at all. It had great taste and nothing funny about it. I actually put too much meat in the recipe, but I’ve altered it below.

Prepare this in a 6 quart crockpot or make it on the stove if you’re short on time.

VEGAN TACO SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs. veggie “beef” crumbles
  • 1 large onion, chopped (optional)
  • 2–10 oz. can Mexican-style tomatoes
  • 1–16 oz. can ranch-style beans
  • 2–16 oz. can whole kernel corn
  • 1–16 oz. can kidney beans
  • 2–16 oz. can black beans
  • 1–16 oz. jar picante sauce-you decide how spicy you want

Preparation:

  • Microwave and crumble the “beef”
  • You can brown the onions with the meat crumbles on the stove if you wish.
  • Pour all the remaining ingredients into a 6 qt. slow cooker-DO NOT DRAIN THE LIQUIDS! Pour them into the crockpot.
  • Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  • Garnish your serving with vegan sour cream and shredded cheese and enjoy with corn or tortilla chips.

It’s a great soup–no matter how you fix it!

How the Crew Liked It:

I was pleasantly surprised at how well my kids liked this dish. My youngest son asked for seconds and couldn’t wait to have it for lunch the next day. My husband was a little suspicious at first, but he admitted to liking it as well.

It was definitely a success and sure to be a keeper.