November 5, 2010

Easy Vegetarian Casserole

I know it's been awhile since I've posted a savory recipe.  I guess that's because, the truth is, I'm more of a baker at heart.  I make savory dishes often but mostly out of necessity (gotta feed myself breakfast, lunch and dinner) but I bake because I love it.  So, I hope none of you, readers, mind that this blog has veered much more in the direction of baking as of late.  I'll still post savory recipes occasionally, but I have much more fun talking about and experimenting with baked goods.  Plus they're much prettier to look at, don't you think?

This casserole came together very quickly one night when I didn't feel like devoting that much time or energy to cooking dinner, but still wanted something tasty, healthy, and comforting (I have high standards, if you didn't already know).  This ended up being much better than I expected, which is why I decided to share it with you.  It was a leftover that I didn't mind eating, and that says a lot.

Below is a rough recipe because when I cook, I don't really measure out ingredients.  Casseroles are pretty forgiving anyway.

Easy Vegetarian Casserole
Makes enough for 1 bread pan sized casserole dish, easily doubled
Inspired by Gourmet

Ingredients
Tomato sauce (I used my homemade version)
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
~2/3 cup brown rice, millet, or other whole grain
generous 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
a few handfuls of spinach, just wilted in the microwave (about 15 seconds)

Topping
~1/2 block firm tofu, drained and pressed
~1/4 cup medium hard or hard cheese, freshly grated (I used a mix of cheddar and gruyere)
~1/4 cup fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of oregano
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Preparation
Preheat your oven to 350 F. 

Using your fingers, crumble the tofu into a small bowl.  Mix in the rest of the topping ingredients and set aside.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of your pan.  Top with all the black beans and spread to cover completely.  Layer the brown rice above the black beans followed by a layer of tomato sauce to cover.  Top the tomato sauce with roughly tablespoon-sized spoonfuls of cottage cheese, no need to spread these out.  Add a layer of spinach over the cottage cheese and top with tomato sauce.  Lastly, pour the topping evenly over and add a bit more grated cheese if desired. 

Place in the oven and bake for 30- 45 minutes, until the casserole is warmed through.  Move the dish to the top rack near the end of cooking to ensure a browned crust. 

1 comment:

francesca said...

i would like to get in on this one