Healthy, green bean casserole

September 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Previously posted on No Sweat, York

When living on a budget, splurging on ingredients for a one-time dish is a big no-no. The past few weeks I had large bags of green beans from my CSA but didn’t know what to do with them other than steaming and covering with Earth Balance.

For green bean casserole, a creamy base is needed, usually in the form of a cream of mushroom soup. This is a hard ingredient to find for a vegan and sometimes a calorie-filled substitute is needed, usually in the form of a mushroom roux using flour.

On Friday I experimented with what I had on hand — cauliflower and butternut squash. I steamed and pureed these ingredients in order to cover the green beans.

It wouldn’t be green bean casserole without the fried onions, which amazingly are already vegan. A healthy alternative can be caramelized onions, though that is more time consuming.

This green bean casserole might not taste exactly the same as a non-vegan version, but it is easy, healthy and chock-full of nutritious veggies.

Healthy, vegan green bean casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2 cups frozen, cubed butternut squash
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (or more to taste)
  • 3 pounds fresh green beans, cut into small pieces
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fried onions

Recipe

  1. Add chopped cauliflower, cubed butternut squash and water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Add a lid and lower to a simmer, steaming for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, wash and cut fresh green beans into small pieces, place in a pot with about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add a lid, lower the temperature to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes.
  3. Drain green beans when they are done and place back into the pot.
  4. Place butternut squash, cauliflower and water into a blender. Add garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to the blender and puree. If the mixture seems too thick, add a few tablespoons of water to make sure it completely blends. You might need to scrape down the sides and repeat the pureeing.
  5. Add a bit of the puree to the bottom of a 9×13 dish. Add green beans and then coat with mixture. Stir until all the beans are coated.
  6. Spread the fried onions over the top, and cover with foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
  7. Take out of oven, let it cool for 5 minutes and then enjoy.

Tahini meatball freezer casserole

September 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Previously published on No Sweat, York

If your life is like mine right now, you barely remember to eat dinner after getting home from work.

We go from unearthing fall and winter clothes during an Indian summer day to everything orange, yellow and red and Halloween costumes and decorations.

Then, in a blink of an eye, we are finagling road trips for Thanksgiving feasts and/or stocking the pantry for the big day.

Then, we will be bundling under large jackets, furiously shopping for holiday gifts, and grumbling about how cold it is and we can’t wait for summer.

Wait, what about dinner?

I’ve learned a new trick to help out my limited budget and schedule: freezer meals. I recently found two, new-to-me blogs: Budget Bytes and Vegan in the Freezer. These gave me a ton of inspiration for what I can do when I get a few hours, in order to free up the time between getting home and my head hitting the pillow. I can even get my significant other to cook it in the oven, so dinner is hot and ready as soon as I step in the door.

This recipe was actually inspired by a Food.com blogger Christine who make a creamy chickpea and tahini casserole. I substituted a few ingredients for what I had on hand: pasta, fresh tomatoes and Gardein meatballs (on sale at Target!), and eliminated a few spices I did not have.

This is such a versatile dish that you can create a variety of sauces and mix and match grains, protein and veggies. Let me know what inspiration you get from this recipe.
Tahini meatball freezer casserole
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 Gardein meatless meatballs
  • 1 box of trio noodles or other small noodles
  • 5 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Boil a large pot of water, and follow directions to cook pasta until al dente. Drain and cool.
  2. Heat up meatballs in a microwave-proof bowl until able to mush the balls. Break up until consistency of ground beef.
  3. Chop veggies.
  4. Mix tahini, water and spices until well mixed. Set aside.
  5. Spray 9×13 pan with olive oil.
  6. Dump all ingredients into pan, first placing some noodles in the pan, adding tomatoes and meatballs and then half of the tahini mixture. Add remaining noodles and sauce.
  7. Stir until all the noodles are coated.
  8. Let the pan completely cool, then place lid on and put it in the freezer.
  9. When ready to cook, place pan in the refrigerator for about 7 to 8 hours. An hour before cooking, take it out and place on the counter.
  10. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Take off lid and place foil over pan. Cook for about 45 to 50 minutes or until center is warm.

Wordless Wednesday: Tahini meatball freezer casserole

September 18, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in VeganMoFo, Wordless Wednesday | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

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