Vegan Breakfast Casserole

Photo: Dave Irving

For a Meatless Monday Morning.

We love breakfast casserole around the VeganAsana house. The omnis sometimes like theirs with some meat products, but are usually just as happy with a vegetarian version. For the rest of us, vegan is the way to go. We rarely get to have this for breakfast, due to the time needed for cooking, but it is a favorite dinner dish (and it pops up for special breakfasts, like on Christmas day). The “recipe” is pretty easy.

What follows is the amount that I make to fit in a large Pampered Chef casserole, so about the size that you would need for a 9×13 pan. This is enough for 4 of us to have a meal and have leftovers (that I hide in the fridge so that I can take them to school for lunch). Halve the recipe for a smaller group.

Breakfast Casserole

2 blocks extra firm tofu, drained
1 “roll” lightlife faux sausage (optional)
1 package frozen hash browns or tater tots
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 t turmeric
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t sea salt (ground fine)
olive oil
daiya or other cheese

Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil and add onion. Saute until soft. Add faux sausage and brown, chopping into small bits while cooking.

Place tofu in food processor or blender. Pulse until fully broken up and starting to get mushy, but not until liquified. Gently fold in nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, and salt. If you over blend, don’t worry about it. It will take longer for the tofu to firm up, but eventually it will.  If your tofu seems overly dry, you may want to add a little soy milk when you fold in the spices. This will help make the potatoes nice and tender.

Cover the bottom of a casserole pan with parchment paper. Add hash browns or tater tots (yep, tots). Sprinkle fauxsage evenly across surface. Add tofu mixture and spread evenly.

Cover with foil and cook at 350* until heated through and the tofu has begun to firm back up. Add Daiya (optional) and continue to bake until tofu is firm and Daiya is melted.

Remove from oven and allow to settle (covered) for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

YUMMY!

Vegan Lasagna

I don’t make lasagna very often.  I like it, a lot, but it seems like more work than I want to go through for assembly.  Today, however, I got out of a doc. appointment earlier than I planned, and I knew I had some nice fresh veggies in the house and the kids were all occupied, so it seemed like a good time to go for it.  I don’t really work with recipes on dishes like this, so the seasoning is really all “round about” measurement.  It came out well and I will enjoy these leftovers for several days!

Ingredients

1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large bell pepper diced
2 small zucchini peeled and diced
2 T Italian seasoning (or your own mix of dried or fresh basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary)
2 cans/jars tomato puree
1 package extra firm tofu
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Vegan parmesan
Sea salt

Process

Cook noodles as needed and set aside in cool water.

In a large pan, add onions, 2 T olive oil, and garlic.  Cook over medium temp, stirring often, until onions begin to soften and fragrance is released.  Pour in tomato puree and Italian seasoning.   Add sea salt to taste.  If you like a sweeter sauce, add some raw sugar gradually.  Allow to simmer 20 minutes over medium low temp.

In a separate pan, place remaining vegetables and sauté 5-8 minutes on medium high temp. Set aside.

Drain tofu and place in a bowl.  Using a fork, smash block until the texture resembles ricotta cheese.  Add vinegar, nutritional yeast, and ½ t. sea salt and mix.

Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with parchment paper.  Spread a layer of sauce over the parchment.  Place a layer of noodles on top, overlapping slightly.  Spread on a layer of vegetables.  Add tofu mix by small spoonfuls and spread.  Cover with a layer of sauce.

Repeat process until the pan is full or you run out of ingredients. I typically run out of veggies and tofu before the noodles and sauce, so I will do a couple of layers of just noodles and sauce at the top.

Sprinkle vegan parmesan mix over the top.

Cover tightly with foil and place pan in oven at 375* and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Serve with a salad and maybe some fresh bread. Enjoy!

Hot Vegan Breakfast

Ok, so the title sounds like something you would find in the video store behind the swinging doors, but what I’m getting at here is the idea of a cooked breakfast for vegans. It’s pretty easy to come up with a continental vegan breakfast, because there are plenty of breads, bagels, and cereals that contain no animal products. But, when you move into the hot food category, sometimes people get lost. So, here, in no particular order, are 10 ideas for hot vegan breakfasts.  These aren’t full recipes, but they should get you started.

Photo: MD Anderson's Focused on Health

1. Oatmeal and fruit
I suspect you don’t need me to say much more here, but if you want to read more about oatmeal, check out this post.  Oatmeal is good stuff, and an “oatmeal bar,” with a variety of toppings to select from, tends to make children pretty happy as well.


2. Tofu scramble

Add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a frying pan.  Saute some onions, peppers, and maybe celery (your option).  Add turmeric, ginger, chili powder, and salt.  Once vegetables are nicely done, crumble in a block of tofu and continue to cook, breaking up tofu into scrambled bits.  Delicious and filling!


3. Breakfast casserole

Cover the bottom of a casserole pan with parchment paper.  Add a layer of frozen hash browns or tater tots (yep, tots).  Sprinkle in a finely diced onion.  Pop a block of tofu into the blender and pulse until it’s almost blended, but not fully smooth.  Stir in 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast. Pour over tot mixture.  Add seasoning (salt, pepper, hot sauce) to taste.  Cover with foil and cook at 350* until heated through and the tofu has firmed back up.  If desired, add Daiya cheese and allow to melt.


4. Pancakes with peanut butter and bananas

I’m not the biggest pancake fan, but my kids are.  One of their favorite ways to eat pancakes is with some peanut butter and either syrup or bananas (or both).  I like that this option provides a little protein, as well as carbs.  A basic half-wheat recipe can be found here.


5. Tempeh fakon sandwiches

Bacon, I don’t miss.  But, sometimes I do miss that salty and smokey taste, and this takes care of it.  Slice a package of tempeh into very thin slices.  In a small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, 2 tablespoon of olive oil (or sesame oil), 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke,  2 tablespoon of soy sauce (or Braggs), 2 tablespoons of water, and a pinch of garlic salt (or 1 clove of garlic finely minced).  Brush mixture over tempeh on both sides, allow to soak in, and fry until crisp.  If you have extra sauce, you can continue to add more to the slices as they fry.   Serve on toast with lettuce, tomato, and vegan mayo.


6. Baked tofu and tomato on toast

This is one of my go-to weekend breakfasts because it is so easy and the leftovers make perfect sandwich starters at lunch.  Drain 1 block extra firm tofu.  Slice into thin (1/4 inch) slices. Place on a baking pan or stone and put in oven at 375*.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  When slices start to firm/brown on one side, flip over and continue to cook.  After slices are done, serve on toast (vegan butter or cream cheese optional) with slices of fresh tomato.


7. Biscuits and gravy

Make a pan full of basic soda biscuits (2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, cut in 4 tablespoons vegan butter and 3/4 cup water, roll and cut, bake approximately 25 minutes at 375*).  While those are cooking, heat 6 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and gradually add a half cup flour.  Lower heat slightly and continue to cook roux, stirring constantly until it turns golden brown.  Slowly add 1 quart unsweetened soy milk (good to let this come to room temp before you start) while stirring.  Turn up heat slightly and continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken – which may not be until it boils some.  Lower temp after it is close to as thick as you would like and add salt and pepper to taste.  If you would like, you can add sausage crumbles (see below) at this point. Serve over biscuits.


8. Fauxsage sandwiches

You can make your own vegan sausage with seitan, but I’m too lazy in the morning to do that, so I buy Lightlife sausage rolls.  Slice rolls into 8 pieces.   Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a frying pan.  Place slices in pan and coat both sides and then use spatula to flatten to desired thickness.  Fry until crisp on the outside.  Serve on your favorite bread (I like rye) with your choice of condiments (I like mustard and tomato).


9. Grits and greens

I love grits.  And, a little punch of greens in the morning sets you up all day (my preference is kale).  Grits are easy to cook – just see the package.  Once they are done, slap on a little vegan butter or olive oil, some sea salt and pepper and that part is done.  Chop kale or other green into bite-sized pieces.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke.  Add greens and saute until desired tenderness.  Salt and pepper to taste. Plate up with your grits and you are rocking.


10. Leftovers from last night

Who says hot breakfast has to be breakfast food?  I am a big fan of heating up pasta, beans and rice, veggie stirfry, vegan chili dogs, etc. for breakfast.  Root around in the fridge and find the best leftover before anyone else gets to it for lunch.  Muhahaha!

And there you have it.  A deck-a (little Latin joke) ideas for vegan hot breakfasts.  I think I just made myself hungry.