Well after not posting for two days and then saying that I was burned out, I guess I recovered a little since I felt like cooking tonight! Hooray! Of course it always seems that I have extra time on Thursdays to cook, so I make a big batch of something, and then I don’t really need the leftovers at all for the next several days since G always goes out to lunch on Fridays and then the weekend is always spazzy. Poor timing, right? But, in keeping with tradition, today we have casserole! Midwestern, carby, oven-tastic casserole!
Did anyone else grow up on a steady stream of casseroles? It seems like my mother, bless her Michigan roots, was well versed in two kinds of dinners–A) the meat, green vegetable, and potato kind or B) the casserole kind. She was a fantastic cook (and a caterer) but it is pretty funny, looking back, at how predictable our dinners often were. She even made this one–basically a chicken pot pie with biscuit crust–that we all called Chicken Goop. Seriously. Gross, right? But, dang, I really craved that dish.
So, needless to say, back in 2008 when Jessy (who I dearly miss in the blogosphere–I hope you’re doing well out there Jessy!!) posted her recipe for TunaNOT Casserole, I immediately saved it on my Google Reader. Actually, I think I saved her original recipe from 2008, but I never went back that far in Reader to transfer recipes over to Pinterest. So, given the history of having this recipe in my queue for-ev-er, I knew I needed to make it during this Pinterest Challenge MoFo of mine.
I actually put the gluten back in the recipe (after she gluten-free-ed her original recipe–getting meta up in here) and made a few small changes–no pimenoto peppers around, so I used half a red pepper, for example–but in general I stuck pretty close to the original. Or the amended original. You know. And guess what! It’s amazing! It’s creamy and comforting and crunchy from the raw veg bits with just a tiny hint of the sea. And, honestly, I can’t compare it to the ‘real thing’ since I’ve refused (for some reason) my entire life to eat tuna casserole (and I am NOT starting now, thank you very much), but it’s beyond fabulous. I’m so stoked on the leftovers.
So, Jessy, thank you so so so much for posting this recipe twice and making sure that the world knows how awesome TunaNOT casserole is. And, girl, if you’re out there, I miss your presence online and I hope you’re doing well with whatever adventure life has thrown your way! And for those of you who never knew Jessy’s awesome blog–HappyVeganFace–get yourselves over there and check out her recipes–they’re the best!
Adapted slightly from HappyVeganFace
8 oz uncooked short pasta
1/2 c TVP
1/2 sheet nori, chopped (I’d recommend using the whole sheet)
1/2 tsp veg broth powder or bouillon
1 c water
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
1/2 red peper, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1/4 cup Veganaise
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 c unsweetened plain almond milk
1/2 c bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small sauce pot, bring the water, nori, and veg broth powder/bouillon to a boil. Remove from heat and add the TVP to rehydrate the TVP. Set aside.
In another larger pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta per the package’s instructions–probably 8-10 minutes–until the pasta is cooked. Drain and transfer the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl.
Chop the peppers and celery and add them to the mixing bowl. Add the Veganaise to the bowl as well.
In a skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and pepper, stir to combine, and slowly add the almond milk while stirring/whisking to create a gravy. Stir/whisk until the gravy thickens. Then transfer to the mixing bowl with the pasta and veggies.
Add the TVP to the mixing bowl, then mix everything together to fully combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown.
On This Day in MoFos Past:
2011: Potato, Kale and Bean Soup (ironically ALSO one of Jessy’s recipes! WEIRD!)