It's been a while since we've had an adventure on this blog, so this time we're taking a journey into the past. You shuffle in through the front door after a long, wintery day of school. Tossing your backpack aside, you follow tempting aromas into the kitchen. Your mom pulls open the oven to reveal a warm, creamy, hearty....casserole!
Aside from the fact that it's vegan, there's one main difference between our casserole and your mom's. Most likely your mom's casserole had canned soup (and possibly canned or frozen veggies as well). Not ours. Our casserole is going to be made from scratch, and that's what makes it an adventure.
First, you need to make some seitan. Click here for full instructions and step-by-step photos on making seitan. Cut the seitan into small cubes.
You also want to cook up some of your favorite rice. Follow the instructions on the package, but where the directions call for water, use vegetable broth instead for some added flavor.
Now it's time to make that soup. Since it's a creamy soup, we're starting with a roux. Despite what you may have heard, a roux is pretty easy to put together. You just need to melt some margarine, then whisk in some flour until it takes on a sandy color and a lightly toasted fragrance.
After making the roux, slooowly pour in some mushroom or vegetable broth while continuing to whisk. I like to use mushroom broth so it tastes like cream of mushroom soup. The consistency should be smooth and thick.
Finally, whisk in some soy milk and seasonings. Simmer it for a little while so that it thickens up, keeping in mind that it will continue to thicken as it cools. Set the soup aside while you get to work on the veggies.
Fry up some onions, mushrooms and broccoli in a little olive oil. That's all you need to do!
Now grab a great big bowl and mix everything all up together...your seitan, your rice, your creamy soup and your veggies. Spread it all in a casserole dish and, if you want, sprinkle some Daiya on top. Cover everything with your favorite crunchy topping. I like crispy onions.
Bake the casserole until it's melty and brown on top, and then you're ready to take your tastebuds on a trip through time!
Retro Seitan and Broccoli Casserole
Important: Be sure to give yourself enough time to cook the seitan. For a quicker recipe, you can use store bought seitan.
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable broth powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked rice (any kind you like)
salt to taste
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 cup mushroom or vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 cup Daiya cheddar style shreds (optional)
1 cup French fried onions, crushed vegan crackers or vegan bread crumbs
- Prepare the seitan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a lidded casserole dish with non-stick spray. Combine flours, nutritional yeast, spices and vegetable stock powder in a large bowl. Mix the water, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Adjust amount of water or gluten as needed (see tip). Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then form into a loaf. Place the seitan in the casserole dish and cover with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Flip the loaf, then cover and cook for another 40 minutes. Remove the seitan from the dish and allow it to rest until cool enough to handle. Cut into bite-sized chunks.
- Prepare the rice according to package instructions, but substitute vegetable broth for water and season it with salt.
- While the rice cooks, prepare the filling. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a 9x13” casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Melt the vegan margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wire whisk until smooth and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the mushroom broth while continuing to whisk until no lumps remain. Whisk in the soy milk a little at a time. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the nutritional yeast, spices, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook onion for 7 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until tender and brown around the edges. Add broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Mix seitan, rice and veggies in an extra large bowl. Stir in the cream sauce until well combined. Pour into casserole dish and top with Daiya (if using). Sprinkle with French fried onions, crushed vegan crackers or vegan bread crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.