Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 2: Hashbrown Casserole

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

Ingredients:


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


Directions:


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! :)

20 comments:

  1. This casserole looks soooooo good! Your Sundays sound pretty awesome :-)

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    1. They have been! And they will continue to be. :)

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  2. Oh yeah! This brunch looks awesome! And you have all of the proper components with the savory casserole and the sweet cinnamon buns. Nice work and happy Sunday :)

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    1. Thanks Nikki! Sweet and savory is crucial for brunch. Though I might forego savory when I make waffles sometime in the near future, depending on my motivation level. :)

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  3. Whoa! This just hit the top of my list of awesome brunch foods to try! That casserole sounds amazing! I love how you balanced your plate too, it looks so good with the fruit and the bun! I'm going to make this for the next brunch occasion I have :) Yum!

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    1. Seriously Sarah, you can't go wrong with it! Let me know how it goes if you try it. :)

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  4. Oh wow, it looks fantastic. Never would have thought to blend soft tofu and bake it but I can see how that would work really well. Nice on the greens and jalapeno - the buns look good too!
    Practical question - do you just have all the stuff on hand already or do you plan to make something and buy ingredients before Sunday? Or do you actually get up and grocery shop that morning?? I always want to do something like this but can't get my act together and just end up eating a banana for breakfast, ha!

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    1. It definitely gets planned in advance, for two reasons - 1, if I need any specialty ingredients, every single health food store is closed Sunday. Second, there's no way I could have the motivation to grocery shop on Sunday morning AND cook!

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  5. Tomorrow is "my Sunday" so I am making this happen! I crave casserole/comfort dishes and this recipe sounds excellent. Thanks, Allysia!

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    1. Tuesday is your Sunday? Well hey, at least you get a Sunday then! :) Hope it goes well for you and you get to enjoy some R&R!

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    2. Yeah, weird work weeks cause I split my time with so many odd things going on this summer. I'm actually working later today but made the casserole this morning! Only sub was some red and green onion instead of the white for the second layer.

      I had major urges to season the tofu. I thought it was screaming for salt, turmeric, nooch, anything, but I resisted. It is so good! I love all the texture from the cheesy daiya, crisp sausage, and tofu with hash browns. Such a great recipe, Allysia!

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    3. I was thinking it would be weird without seasoning the tofu too, but then my desire to make things very simple took over, and yeah, it ended up fine! I'm glad you liked it! :)

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  6. I always see recipes like this around the holidays and keep meaning to make a vegan version. I'll give yours a try someday!

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    1. That's funny, I hadn't even heard of hashbrown casserole until last week. :)

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  7. I thought that hashbrown casserole looked amazing - then I saw those cinnamon buns. Wow! That looks like my kind of brunch plate. What sausage did you use?

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    1. Usually I would use Tofurky, but I bought this weird vegan sausage from an Asian market in town that I wanted to try. It was decent, but not nearly as awesome as Tofurky. :)

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  8. The casserole looks incredible! A perfect brunch dish, love the addition of greens.

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    1. Well green is a color brunch doesn't usually see, but I love green. :)

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  9. Made this on Sunday and twas fabulous. I changed a bunch of stuff, because I can leave well enough alone, and it still tasted great. I used potato chunks and roasted them first (I was too lazy to shred and squeeze :P), way less spinach (because I ran out), and added some nooch and different spices to the blended tofu, oh, and I wasn’t paying attention and put on way too many jalapenos. Everyone was breathing fire, but they thought it was great. Thanks for recipe!

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    1. Lol, improv is always the way to go - glad it still worked just dandy with the alterations! It would be great with potato chunks for sure. Thanks for letting me know how it went!

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