Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pasta Bakes, Gratins, Pot Pies and Mo'.

Vegan Casseroles!
Scalloped Truffle Potatoes.
Pro tip: drizzle with truffle oil as directed, then sprinkle liberally with truffle salt.
Get. Truffle. Salt.
Julie Hasson is one of my favorite people. I'm the luckiest and have easy access to her on the regular, but for the rest of you, you can replicate your own JH via the delicious recipes she shares in her cookbooks.

Her newest shiny model, Vegan Casseroles, will have you dishing out the most truffly, noochy, cheezy, and comforting nibbles from your grandma's Pyrex. Not quite as good as Julie doing the work for you in person, but a damn fine replication, if you ask me.

Between Julie lovingly offering me little tastes from her kitchen, and whipping things up from the book on my own time, I've gotten to taste a bunch of really yummy things.

★ Mediterranean Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
★ Crack Gravy AKA Savory Gravy
★ Truffled Cauliflower Mac
 Apple Cinnamon Kugel
★ GF Cornbread variation
★ Scalloped Truffle Potatoes
★ Layered Polenta and Mushrooms

Also, for those of you looking for the gluten-free, most everything in this book is already XGFX, or can be made so with easy variations that Julie spells out for you.

Crack Gravy is the gravy that keeps on giving.
Pictured above with Vegan Dad's tofu scramble, hot sauce, and biscuits and tempeh bacon made off the cuff.
Julie nicknamed her Savory Gravy recipe, "Crack Gravy" because of how ridiculously addictive it is. It also makes a huge amount--about 5 cups, which seems a bit obscene until you taste it and realize you want to eat it by the bowlful. Plenty for a crowd, or to drown biscuits, scramble, potatoes, and stuffin' in. It's creamy-dreamy, and since Halloween, I've already managed to disperse 10 cups of this yummy stuff, but I'm not disclosing where it all went. Ahem.

Layered Polenta and Mushrooms, before I drowned it in more sauce and popped it into the oven.
Pacman approved Scalloped Truffle Potatoes. I'd truffle the world, if'n I could.
I sprinkled these with smoked paprika instead of fresh rosemary.
Mas y mas Crack Gravy 'n' Rocket Boots.
If you're sick of soaking cashews and have always wanted a super engine blender to park in your very own kitchen, good news for you! For those with a US addy, now's your chance to win one! In tandem with Julie's blog tour, there's an amazing contest happening right now where you can win a Blendtec 725. Five runner ups will receive a free copy of Vegan Casseroles! Click here to be transported to the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

I also have it on good advice from Somer, that the Baked Penne with Pumkin Cream Sauce should be next on my list of recipes to try. I'm sharing it with you with permission from VEGAN CASSEROLES © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

Pumpkin is always a fall favorite, although you can enjoy this dish anytime of the year. The sauce has a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin but also a nice savory flavor from the sage and onions. I think this dish has become one of my daughter’s favorites.

12 ounces dried penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
11/2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, plus more as needed
1 (15-ounce) can puréed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
11/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 recipe Buttery Crumb Topping (see below), prepared without nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.
In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the penne and cook according to package directions until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta, especially if you’re using one that is gluten-free. Drain the pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-highheat and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.In a blender, purée the onion mixture, soymilk, pumpkin, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt, sage, and nutmeg. Blend until the mixture is super-smooth and velvety, and no traces of nuts remain. If the sauce is too thick to blend, you can add up to an additional 1/2 cup of nondairy milk.

Add the pumpkin sauce to the pasta, stirring until the pasta is well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Tip: If you’re using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.

Variation: Substitute fresh or dried rosemary for the sage.

Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice, as well as gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in the topping. My favorite gluten-free pasta for this recipe is brown rice penne.

Buttery Crumb Topping
Makes about 1/2 cup, enough to top an 8-or 9-inch casserole

A nice buttery crumb topping is my husband’s favorite part of a casserole. It is especially good on
everything from mac and cheese to vegetable casseroles, as it adds a nice rich, garlicky crunch. Crumb toppings are also open to a number of variations, depending on how you season them.

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, margarine, nutritional yeast, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tip: You can substitute olive oil for the margarine, if desired.

Variation: For an herbed-garlic-flavored topping, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. For a richer topping, increase the margarine to 3 tablespoons.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. My favorite brand is Ian’s, which is also egg-free and dairy-free.

This timing of this book's release is poifect. So many cold-conquering comforting recipes to warm you and your winter. And while you're at it, Julie just posted her PDX famous nacho sauce. You better run.



  1. Yay! Thank you Kittee for all of the casserole love! xoxo

  2. Everything sounds wonderful. It will be easier to make with a Blendtec.

  3. I am seeing so many wonderful recipes from this book lately, it's hard to choose which I'll make first! But I have to say, the Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and the Not Your Mama's Onion Dip both sound amazing. Thanks for sharing the Penne recipe!

    1. I want to try the onion dip, too! Sounds so good. Julie just posted a video making that dip on our local morning news!

  4. I want to try the chili with cornbread topping!

  5. Pumpkin Mac & Cheese!?! Must make immediately! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  6. Oh crud; I need a bigger bookshelf.

    1. Enter the contest! They're giving away five copies!!! <3

  7. I can't wait to get Julie's book and yours! My kitchen is so happy :)

  8. Can I use fresh roasted pumpkin for this? It is difficult if not impossible to get cans of pumpkin here in South Africa :).

    1. I'd wager to guess yes. It's not my recipe so I'm not sure.


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