Sunday, December 6, 2009

Not-Really-Cheesy Potato Casserole

Growing up in a huge German family, my childhood consisted of a lot of cheesy potato dishes. Like, seriously. It was kind of gross. Anyway, it's been quite a while since I've had real cheese... Missed my old comfort food in a way, so I decided to try to convert potato casserole into a vegan recipe. If you've ever made vegan Mac 'n Cheese, this should be super easy for you to cook. My idea was to layer slices of potatoes and onions with the Mac 'n Cheese mixture, then bake to a crisp. Didn't exactly crisp, but it did turn out pretty tasty. (Warning: the top layer did wind up dry... If anyone has suggestions for fixing it, please let me know.)

What You'll Need:
6 medium potatoes
1 large onion
3 tbs Nutritional Yeast
3 scoops minced garlic
~1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
~2/3 cup soy milk
1 heaping tbs Earth Balance
several tbs vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a food processor, mix the Nutritional Yeast, garlic, cashews, ~1/3 cup soy milk, salt, pepper, and Earth Balance. It should end up looking like nacho cheese.

Pour vegetable oil into the bottom of a casserole dish.

Peel and slice the potatoes into thin chips. Put a layer of them over the oil.

Brush on a bit of the cheese sauce.

Slice the onion finely. Sprinkle a layer of onion slices onto the sauce.

Drizzle a decent layer of cheese sauce on top of the onions.

Layer with potatoes; repeat the process until the dish is packed.

Pour ~1/3 cup of soy milk evenly over the top.

Bake for about 1hr. 15 min. *I would check after an hour to decide how much longer you want to cook. You may want to broil the top for a crispier texture.


'Red Herring' Creamy Cashew Salad

I've hesitated to put this recipe online for a while... It's a little something I picked up from volunteering at The Red Herring- this kick ass vegan restaurant where I first learned how to cook. The Herring was always struggling to get money, so I didn't want to post any of their secrets online. However, under new management, I don't believe they have this salad anymore. So, here it goes. Eat up! (And don't forget to stop by for a meal if you're ever driving through University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. 1 hour of volunteer work=1 free meal.)

Salad content: a bunch of kale, sliced; 1 red bell pepper, sliced; a few carrots, sliced; Creamy Cashew Dressing

Creamy Cashew Dressing:

What You'll Need:
~1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
balsamic vinegar
apple cider vinegar
lemon juice
diced garlic

Toss cashews into a food processor.

Eyeball the height of the cashews... Pour balsamic vinegar to about 1/3 of the height.

Splash in some apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.

Throw in some diced garlic to taste.

Add water to desired consistency.

Salt and pepper optional.

Blend until completely smooth.

*Following Herring tradition, I cannot give more precise amounts of the ingredients. We think measuring cups are for wimps.

Put the salad in a huge bowl and toss the dressing. This one usually goes over really well with non-vegan friends. Enjoy!