Easy Carrot Casserole- $2.86 recipe/ $0.47 serving

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This quick casserole is savory and light, the recipe makes 6 very large servings- but you could easily turn it into 8 small side dishes instead. I’m eating a big piece for lunch today with a side of spaghetti squash. Delicious!

Ingredients

2.5 lbs. carrots ($1.50)

4 stalks celery ($0.30

1 can chickpeas ($0.33)

1 can green beans ($0.33)

1/2 tsp. sage ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. arabic 7 spice ($0.05)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1 tbsp. olive oil ($0.16)

1/4 cup bread crumbs ($0.13)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Heat water in a medium pot until boiling. 

2. While water is warming, peel and roughly chop your carrots. Toss them in the water immediately. 

3. Boil carrots until they are easily sliced with a spoon. As they cook, you can slice your celery and get your other ingredients ready. 

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4. When the carrots are just about done, put spices, olive oil, celery, 1 tbsp water, and green beans into a skillet. Saute over high heat for about 10 minutes. Then turn off heat and set aside.  

5. Strain your carrots, and then put them back in the original pot you cooked them in. 

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6. Add in your chickpeas. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender, add in about 1/3 cup water. The mixture should be smooth but still a thick consistency. 

7. Add celery and green bean mixture to carrots, combine throughly. Pour the fully combined carrot mixture into the casserole dish of your choice. 

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8. I pressed down the top of mine with a spatula to smooth it out. 

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9. Then lightly sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 30 minutes. 

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It holds together very well, although I did destroy the first corner I scooped out (it was still delicious). I don’t think carrot casseroles are very common, but I don’t know why. I buy carrots in 5 lb. bags each week ($3) which means I’m always looking for new ways to use them- this does not disappoint, it’s surprisingly delicious.

Autumn Squash Bake – $3.67 recipe/ $0.46 serving

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This lovely little casserole is a perfect side dish for a potluck. Layered with zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, and hearty baked tofu, it browns very nicely in the oven and reheats beautifully.

Ingredients

1 yellow squash ($0.30)

1 zucchini ($0.34)

1 orange bell pepper ($0.89)

1 block soft tofu ($1.85)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.05)

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter ($0.10)

1 tsp. dill ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. cumin ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. coriander ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1/4 tsp. cayenne ($0.02)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Slice squash and zucchini, and dice bell pepper. 

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3. Grease dish with oil and layer with zucchini. Set aside, now cook your tofu. 

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4. Crumble soft tofu in a pan, add in peppers, herbs, and non-dairy butter. Saute for 10 minutes on high. 

5. Layer sauteed tofu mixture on top of zucchini in casserole dish. Then add another layer of zucchini and yellow squash, reserving enough to make a design on the very top of the casserole. Spread the remaining tofu mixture on top of the squash and zucchini.

6. Now make a pattern with the reserved squash. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a few cranks of fresh black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. 

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7. Now serve! Use a slotted spoon as there may be a bit of reserve liquid on the bottom of the casserole. The extra liquid is important, it enables you to easily re-heat the casserole without it drying out.

Holiday Green Bean Casserole

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I often make a variation of this around the holidays, and it has come to be one of our favorites. I love it because it really delivers flavor wise, but it doesn’t require a huge amount of minute to minute attention. It’s also a bit of a multipurpose dish; I make it so that there is reserve liquid at the end of cooking, that way when you’re done you can drain the liquid, heat it over low, add a bit of flour, and within a few minutes you have perfect mushroom gravy!

Ingredients

1 lb. green beans

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup chopped pecans

10 white mushrooms

1 can corn

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. madras curry powder

1 pinch white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Trim beans, slice mushroom caps, chop pecans, and portion other ingredients. 

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3. Mix beans, pecans, mushrooms, and cranberries together. Spread in casserole dish and top with non-dairy butter and spices. 

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Mix well, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. 

5. Add in nutritional yeast and a drained can of corn. Mix well, cover with aluminum foil, and return to oven for a final 20 minutes. 

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Serve with a slotted spoon! Reserved liquid may easily be turned into mushroom gravy.

Vegan Tex-Mex Casserole- $6.62 recipe/ $0.55 serving

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This casserole is inexpensive and delicious. It makes eight gigantic servings and takes less than an hour to make!

Ingredients

1 can corn ($0.33)

1 can black beans ($0.33)

1 can ro-tel  (diced tomatoes with jalapeno) ($1.49)

2 cans vegetarian refried beans ($2.36)

1/2 package corn tortillas ($0.96)

juice of 1/2 lime ($0.10)

cilantro ($0.15)

2 tbsp. adobo sauce ($0.25)

2/3 cup vegan sour cream ($0.65)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Layer corn tortillas in the bottom of a casserole pan, I fold mine in half and tear them so that they fit evenly against the edges of the dish. 

2. Spread 1 can of refried beans evenly over tortillas using the back of a spoon. 

3. Mix corn and black beans together with 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro and layer evenly on top of the casserole. 

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4. Now add another layer of tortillas, and another layer of refried beans. Once that’s done layer on your ro-tel (or jalapeno tomato mixture of your choice). Spread 1 tbsp. adobo sauce across the tomatoes along with the juice of half a lime. 

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5. Put casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 

6. While the casserole bakes, whip together vegan sour cream and 1 tbsp. adobo sauce. When dish is done baking, spread the cream mixture evenly over the tomatoes. 

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7. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until the sour cream browns and crisps up.

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Now slice and serve!

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Broccoli Leek Bake- $6.34 recipe/ $0.42 serving

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This casserole is great as an entree, or as a holiday side dish. The pureed broccoli topping is rich and savory, and the tender carrots and potato at the bottom are just perfect. It started raining as I wheeled these groceries home from the store, but within minutes my apartment was filled with the incredible smell of roasting carrots and simmering leeks, which made it worth it.

Ingredients

3 small leeks ($1.29)

3 white potatoes ($0.68)

1 head broccoli ($0.75)

2 large carrots ($0.37)

4 cloves garlic ($0.12)

2 plum tomates ($0.48)

1 cup pecans ($1.25)

1.5 cups crushed tomatoes ($1.12)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil ($0.18)

olive oil ($0.10)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Wash and scallop potatoes and carrots. Scallop the carrots at an angle so that each slice is elongated. 

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3. Grease your casserole pan with olive oil. Layer in first the potato (overlapping each slice) and then the carrots. 

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4. Cover with crushed tomatoes and bake for 45 minutes. 

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5. Saute leeks and garlic in oil until tender, when they are done set them aside.

6. Chop broccoli florets and puree in a food processor along with pecans, fresh basil, and olive oil. 

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7. Layer leeks, and then broccoli pecan mixture on top of casserole. Bake for 10 minutes. 

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8. Slice your tomatoes and layer them on top of the broccoli mixture, press them into the mixture using moderate pressure. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and place back in oven for 15 minutes. 

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Enjoy!

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Butternut Stuffed Shells

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These creamy, warm pockets of sunshine are delicious and easy to make. The flavor profile is quintessentially autumnal, and the presentation is so easy and beautiful. This recipe makes two pans of shells, so it ends up being a frugal meal as well.

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash (mine was around 4 lb.)

1 box medium firm tofu

1 box large shell pasta

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

olive oil

1. First you need to halve and bake your squash. Preheat your oven to 400, slice your squash, and rub olive oil evenly into the flesh of the squash, sprinkle oregano and dried basil over the oil. Bake until the squash is tender enough to easily pierce with a fork. Remove from oven, turn oven heat down to 350. Let squash cool on the counter for at least 10 minutes. 

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2. While waiting for squash to cool, heat a pot of water and cook the shells. When the shells are done cooking, drain them, rinse with cold water, and leave them momentarily in the strainer. 

3. Scoop the squash out of its skin and put in a medium-large pot. Get as much of the tender squash into the pot as possible. 

4. Add tofu, fresh dill, and half of the basil to the mixture in the pot. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to fully puree and combine the ingredients. 

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5. Now you need to prepare your casserole pan, mine are fairly small so I used two. Spoon a thin layer of crushed tomatoes onto the surface of your pans. Then you can stuff the shells with your squash tofu ricotta, and set them in the pan. Top with sauce, and the remainder of the fresh basil. 

6. Put the casserole pans in the oven for about 20 minutes. You could top these off with nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, red pepper flakes, or even pesto. 

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Enjoy!

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