A Fall Vegan Casserole


As the holiday season approaches, most of us attend potlucks or host events that require food for all types of eaters: omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. I have several recipes to satisfy “omnis,” and “vegies,” but I have struggled with feeding those dedicated vegans in my life. No eggs? No milk? No cheese? It can be hard to change our cooking habits, but don’t despair; the answer to those three questions comes in the form of a delicious casserole.

Vegan Quinoa & Kale Casserole
(Makes 6 servings, about 2 cups each)

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 large onion diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (divided)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric
4 teaspoons cumin (divided)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons cayenne (divided)
½ teaspoon ground allspice
4 cups cooked white kidney beans (cannellini); or any cooked or canned beans of your choice.
3-4 cups freshly roasted tomatoes, skinned and chopped. (To roast fresh tomatoes, place on jelly roll pan under the broiler; broil for 10 minutes with the pan placed on a rake in the MIDDLE of the oven, not right below the broiler; turn the tomatoes and roast for another 5-10 minutes. Skins should split and blacken some). You can also use two 14.5 ounce cans of chopped tomatoes.
6-8 cups chopped kale, stems removed; microwave 1-2 minutes to wilt. Once wilted, you’ll have 2-3 cups of kale. You can also use Swiss chard, collards, or the greens of your choice.
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
½ cup raisins
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt, divided (If you’re on a low-salt diet, omit entirely).
1 medium to large butternut squash baked and mashed. You’ll have 3-4 cups cooked squash. If you have more, that’s fine. You can use any cooked winter squash you prefer. If the squash you use cooks up “watery,” drain in a strainer for a few minutes before using.
½ cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Over medium heat, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven proof skillet. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add half of the chopped garlic, paprika, turmeric, 2 teaspoons cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon cayenne, and allspice. Cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in white kidney beans, tomatoes, kale, quinoa (uncooked!), raisins, water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

In a separate bowl, mix mashed squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the rest of the chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Carefully spread the squash and spice mixture over the top of the bean and quinoa mixture in the skillet. The quinoa mixture should be completely covered by the squash.

Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool uncovered for 5 minutes then sprinkle with cilantro or parsley and serve.

Note: if your eaters like “spicy” add a little more of each spice listed. If you’re serving eaters who prefer less spicy, cut back as you deem fit. Also if you’re still not willing to say no to dairy or meat,  serve grated cheese, sour cream, or even bacon crumbles or chopped, browned ham on the side and let each person add what they like to their own portion.

This recipe is adapted from the September 2012 issue of Eating Well and originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of The Regular Joe.

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