Ever since last week's very first Sunday brunch episode, there have been ideas flying around like crazy for what to make next. Mike had a vision in his head of some casserole his brother made once, with layers of hashbrowns and cheese, and we determined to create a vegan version of it that also had some exciting additions like spinach (greens felt like a very necessary part of today's brunch).
What resulted was a beautiful melangee of crisp hashbrowns (homemade!), onions and garlic, creamy vegan eggs and cheese, spinach, pickled jalapenos, and some veggie sausage. When we were assembling this casserole, we knew it would be good, but we really had no idea how intensely delicious it was destined to be. And if you use pre-made hashbrowns, this recipe would come together very quickly.
Vegan Hashbrown Casserole
Makes 1 9x13 casserole
8-10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (or enough frozen hashbrowns to line the bottom of a 9x13 dish)
Several spoonfuls vegan margarine (ignore if using frozen hashbrowns)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. shredded vegan cheddar cheese (1 bag of Daiya)
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup soft tofu, blended
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos (or to taste)
1 cup diced vegan sausage
4 large green onions, chopped, green and light green parts only
1. For the homemade hashbrowns: Shred potatoes with a box grater (no need to peel them). Grab small handfuls of the shredded potatoes and squeeze them really hard over a sink to get as much moisture out of them as possible. Place the drained potatoes in a medium bowl and repeat until you've squeezed the liquid from all of the potatoes. Prevail through the physically arduous nature of this task - it's worth it!
In a large frying pan, heat a spoonful of vegan margarine over medium-high heat. When melted, add some of the shredded potatoes, cooking in batches so that they crisp up nicely. Each batch will take around 7 or 8 minutes, and we did about 4 batches. Happily, it's an easy and non-fussy task.
2. To assemble the casserole: Preheat the oven to 400F. Line the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish with all of the hashbrowns (homemade or frozen). Evenly sprinkle the onions and garlic on top. Sprinkle on a little less than half of the vegan cheese, followed by the spinach. Spoon on the blended tofu and carefully spread - it'll just coat the whole thing. Prettily arrange the pickled jalapenos on top of that, sprinkle on the remainder of the cheese, and then top with the sausage. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, adding the green onions in the final 10 minutes of the cooking time. The sausage will start to crisp and the cheese will be bubbly.
Let it cool for several minutes, slice, and serve!
We served it up with some fresh fruit and homemade cinnamon buns. The bun part of the recipe was perfect, but the sauce needs some work so we'll have to re-try baking these in the future. A shame, I know, re-testing cinnamon buns. :)
Start the magic with a happy layer of hashbrowns.
Add the onions, garlic and a little less than half of the vegan cheese (coffee is mandatory for the brunch cooking experience).
Add a layer of spinach. Greens in a breakfast casserole never hurt anybody!
Spoon on the blended tofu and add some lovely slices of pickled jalapeno. When the tofu cooks, it develops an egg-like texture so realistic you could totally fool tofu skeptics.
Complete it all with the rest of the cheese and vegan sausage. Prepare for awesomeness.
Exhibit A: Awesomeness.
In between mouthfuls, we emphatically agreed that all Sundays should be this perfect. I can't wait to concoct another great brunch, complete with lazy lounging and great music.
Brunch-making tunes: Mother Mother's album "Eureka" and Crash Kings' self-titled album. Good vibes everywhere.
Hope you all had an excellent Sunday! :)