Casseroles have been a popular dish since the 1950s, mainly because the ingredients are readily available and inexpensive, and the dish is easy enough for anyone—even young children–to make. A family of 4 could enjoy a satisfying meal at a cost of only a few dollars. The popular tuna casserole, for instance, consists of a can of tuna, a can of vegetables, a can of soup and/or half a cup of mayonnaise, cheese, and a package of egg noodles, which magically becomes a budget-friendly family dinner within 35 minutes, with minimal preparation time.
The Veggie “Tuna” Casserole is an updated, plant-based take on a traditional comfort food recipe. This casserole is loaded with flavor, but is guilt-free because it replaces the calorie-laden mayonnaise, cheese, milk and cream of mushroom soup with healthy ingredients like cashews, kelp, mushrooms and vegetables. Although the sauce contains no dairy products, the cashews and plant-based milk make this casserole creamy, delicious and irresistible.
Veggie “Tuna” Casserole Recipe
2½ cups plant-based milk
½ cup unsalted cashews
1 tsp granulated onion
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp kelp granules
1½ cups uncooked elbow pasta
1 yellow onion
8 white mushrooms
2 cups green peas
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
Place the plant milk, cashews, granulated onion, pepper, and kelp (optional) into a blender and set aside (allowing cashews to soften).
Cook the pasta in a medium-sized pot according to the instructions on the package; drain and place the pasta back into the pot, away from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add the onions and mushrooms to a skillet on high heat, stirring and cooking (about 3-5 minutes) until softened and lightly browned. Add a little water, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Add this mixture and the green peas to the pot of cooked pasta.
Put the garbanzo beans into a food processor; pulse until the beans are broken down (but not mushy). If you don’t have a food processor, mash the beans with a potato masher. Add mashed garbanzo beans to the pot.
Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Add to the soup pot and stir.
Spoon into a 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.