This hearty casserole calls for garbanzo beans instead of tuna, and mushrooms instead of the traditional can of salt-heavy Cream of Mushroom Soup (has over 1,000mg sodium per can). Perfect for “comfort food” night. No-nut option as well.
- 2½ cups unsweetened, non-dairy milk
- ½ cup unsalted cashews (2 oz.)
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kelp granules or powder (see below)
- Other ingredients:
- 1½ cups uncooked elbow or small-shell pasta
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 2½ cups)
- 8 medium cremini or white mushrooms, halved then sliced
- 2 cups green peas (frozen and thawed, or canned)
- 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 2 15-oz. cans, drained)
- Place all sauce ingredients into a blender and set aside (so the cashews can soften).
- Cook the pasta in a soup pot according to the instructions on the package; drain and place the pasta back into the soup pot off of the heat. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Add the onions and mushrooms to a skillet on high heat, stirring and cooking for 5 to 7 minutes until softened and lightly browned (see photo below), adding a little water only as needed to prevent sticking. Add the cooked onion and mushrooms, as well as the peas, to the soup pot of cooked pasta.
- Place the garbanzo beans into a food processor and pulse just until the beans are broken down (but not mushy), or smash them with a handheld bean or potato masher. Add to the soup pot.
- Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Add to the soup pot and stir. (The mixture will be a little soupy, but it will firm up during baking.)
- Spoon into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish (no oil or parchment paper is necessary). Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned (see photo below). Cool at least 5 minutes before serving.
No-nut option: For a lower-fat and nut-free casserole, substitute 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans (or 1 15-oz. can, drained) for the cashews.
Fish flavor: If you’d like to add a little fish flavor, opt for the kelp granules or kelp powder above. I don’t like any in mine (even though I used to love tuna); it’s just too seaweedy for my tastes. But everyone’s love of seaweed/kelp is different, so the amount you add will be up to you; but 2 to 3 teaspoons is a good amount to start with, and then add more to your taste. (Note that kelp granules are more potent than kelp powder.)
Above: I like to cook the onion and mushrooms until they are golden in color, adding just a little water as needed to prevent sticking.
Above: Ready to go into the oven! I like my casserole more on the firm side; but if you want to make yours softer, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more non-dairy milk.
Above: You can also make this in a 2-quart round casserole dish.
Above: For a grated cheese effect on top, use some walnuts in a rotary cheese grater.
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