Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce, Bumbleberry Cobbler and Rustic Bread Pudding from Julie Hasson’s Newest Cookbook, Vegan Casseroles! Plus Review and Giveaway Extravaganza!

Vegan Casseroles

I don’t even know where to begin. A few years ago, I developed a profound hatred of casseroles. Probably because at about that same time I had just gone vegan and shortly after that life changing decision, I attended a recipe swap where nearly every recipe exchanged was a casserole recipe. These casseroles were all oozing with loads of butter, cheese, meat, sour cream, gelatinous cream of something soup from a can and more cheese. The kind of dishes that heart attacks are made of.

Julie Hasson

Then in September, I saw a post Julie Hasson had on Facebook about her new book Vegan Casseroles. My inner Mormon heart leapt with joy. (Mormons are almost as famous for their casseroles as they are for their devout love of green jello). Could I possibly enjoy casseroles again without the compilation of nightmarish ingredients above?!? The answer is a resounding yes, Yes, YES!

Pale Ale Stew 2I made this Pale Ale Stew on page 39. We took it camping in freezing weather. It was absolutely delicious and warmed us through and through!

Julie, like a vegan superhero, has recreated each and every casserole I can imagine with plant-based ingredients that are simple to make, have short ingredient lists, yet don’t skimp on flavor. This book is a comfort food lover’s dream!

Rice & Broccoli CasseroleThis Rice and Broccoli Casserole on page 70. When I shared a photo of this on Instagram, people were going absolutely wild! Your crowd will go wild for it too!

When I received my copy of Vegan Casseroles, I seriously could not stop making dish after dish out of this book and I have many more recipes earmarked for future meals. It’s not often I want to cook my way through a whole cookbook, but this book reads like one of my favorite CD’s plays! I want to make and enjoy everything and dance in the kitchen while doing it!

Campfire ChiliTop this Campfire Chili on page 45 with the Cornbread on page 81 and you get Old Fashioned Tamale Pie!

Since I got my greedy hands on Julie’s book, I’ve made the Campfire Chili no less than six times. It is the very best vegan chili I have eaten and the cornbread just completes it so fabulously. You must buy the book and make it! Full stop.

Mini Tamale Pies

The Old Fashioned Tamale Pie on page 81. I made this recipe into mini pies! I die! Ridiculously cute single servings! Ridiculously Good!

Now are you ready for a recipe extravaganza from Vegan Casseroles? I had originally planned on sharing just one recipe, but the email I received from Running Press Book Publishers said I could share THREE! I had already made and photographed two more recipes in addition to the one I planned to share on the list, so I’m going to share them all with you today! Yahoo!

Bumbleberry Cobbler

Bumbleberry Cobbler

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Casseroles © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

In my book, you can never have enough berry dessert recipes. Ever! This is another perfect berry dessert to add to your dessert rotation, no matter the season. One of the coolest things about this cobbler is that even though the berries go on the top, the batter below bakes up into a cake-like topping over them. I adapted this recipe from my pie book, The Complete Book of Pies.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 cups (1 pound) fresh or frozen mixed berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
    (unthawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk
  • 1/3 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. In a medium bowl, toss the berries with 1/4 cup of the sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Add the soymilk, melted margarine, and vanilla, whisking to combine.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Scoop the berries evenly on top of the batter (don’t stir, as the batter will rise to the top as it bakes).

Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes, or until the top crust is nicely browned and looks cooked through and the berries have formed a thick sauce. If it looks like there are a few spots where the batter isn’t cooked all the way through, which you can confirm by lightly touching the spots with your finger, continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until fully cooked through. Let the cobbler cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Gluten-Free: Substitute a mix of 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup superfine brown rice flour, 1/4 cup
potato starch, and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour.

Rustic Bread Pudding

Rustic Bread Pudding

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Casseroles © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

This is comfort food at its very best, and one that I can never get enough of. My grandmother made the best bread pudding, and my recipe is very similar to hers, except that she added dried apricots and raisins. You can definitely choose to add them here.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 cups plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups bread cubes (a crusty, rustic bread or French bread is great)
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Add the soymilk, maple syrup, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Add the bread cubes and let sit about 10 minutes, or until the bread is soft and has absorbed most of the milk. Gently fold in the chocolate chips, dried cherries, and a few sprinkles of cinnamon. Don’t overmix. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan. Lightly sprinkle the top with a little more cinnamon.

Bake the pudding for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it is puffed and golden and the milk has been absorbed. Variation: You can embellish this bread pudding with other additions, such as substituting 1/2 cup raisins, slivered dried apricots, or chopped toasted hazelnuts for either the chocolate chips or the cherries.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free bread cubes.

Baked Penne

Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Casseroles © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Pumpkin is always a fall favorite, although you can enjoy this dish anytime of the year. The sauce has a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin but also a nice savory flavor from the sage and onions. I think this dish has become one of my daughter’s favorites.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 ounces dried penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, plus more as needed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can puréed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Buttery Crumb Topping (see below), prepared without nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the penne and cook according to package directions until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta, especially if you’re using one that is gluten-free. Drain the pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.In a blender, purée the onion mixture, soymilk, pumpkin, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt, sage, and nutmeg. Blend until the mixture is super-smooth and velvety, and no traces of nuts remain. If the sauce is too thick to blend, you can add up to an additional 1/2 cup of nondairy milk.

Add the pumpkin sauce to the pasta, stirring until the pasta is well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Tip: If you’re using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.

Variation: Substitute fresh or dried rosemary for the sage.

Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice, as well as gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in the topping. My favorite gluten-free pasta for this recipe is brown rice penne.

Buttery Crumb Topping

A nice buttery crumb topping is my husband’s favorite part of a casserole. It is especially good on everything from mac and cheese to vegetable casseroles, as it adds a nice rich, garlicky crunch. Crumbtoppings are also open to a number of variations, depending on how you season them.

Makes about 1/2 cup, enough to top an 8-or 9-inch casserole

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, margarine, nutritional yeast, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tip: You can substitute olive oil for the margarine, if desired. Variation: For an herbed-garlic-flavored topping, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. For a richer topping, increase the margarine to 3 tablespoons.

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. My favorite brand is Ian’s, which is also egg-free and dairy-free.

Perfection

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Visit Julie Hasson at her site, Julie’s Kitchenette, here.

Purchase Julie Hasson’s new book, Vegan Casseroles!

Julie and Running Press have a super special giveaway going on in conjunction with her book tour! Enter below for a chance to win a Breville Smart Oven and one of five runner up copies of Vegan Casseroles! This giveaway ends November 12th. Click on the link below to enter! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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35 comments

  1. That pale ale stew looks amazing, and since my husband just brewed up a carboy’s worth of craft pale ale, I’d definitely use it in the recipe if I won the book. 🙂

  2. I always enjoy your posts, but this casserole book looks like it takes the cake!! I LOVE pot luck dinners, but Vegan is harder for that type of dish. I can’t wait to try these!!

  3. What a fantastic recipe collection! I’ve been following the pictures of these recipes you’ve been sharing on Instagram, and all of them look amazing!

  4. My Mormon heart jumped too when I found out Julie was writing a casserole cookbook! I’ve said this before and I will say it again…I’m not vegan, but with all of these great recipes that I’m seeing on this blog tour, I might just turn!

  5. I’ll have to start with the berry pie and the pumpkin Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce. Pre Thanksgiving week! Every recipe looks good but it’s Julie Hasson, of course!

  6. Oh my goodness! I am so excited about trying the Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream – might have to prepare some for our family Thanksgiving potluck!

  7. The mini tamale pies look unfair. I’m going to have to do that, because I remember making crazy-good cornbread in my pre-vegan days.

    As usual, you make everything look amazing, and everyone who sees your food pics should be thrilled to be associated with you. I’ll try not to gush so much next time I visit!

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