Hello on this snowy day! I love the fact that it is sunny today despite the 5-6 inches of snow. Ryan had a nice 8am final so he had to be out in that mess!
Our weekend was successful busy and full of music. After 2 days of rehearsal with Ryan and the orchestra we proved to be ready to perform 2 back-to-back Christmas programs.
When we headed back home we embraced the snow storm we had heard was coming and arrived home with EVERYTHING covered in snow. It looked like people had not even ventured out of their homes. I do not blame them!
In the next few days I will be focusing on meals I have been preparing in the last 2 weeks. Seeing that I will be traveling soon and not really cooking anything fancy, I feel like that would be the best thing.
As you plan for your holiday meals, I really suggest you try this Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Bake. When Ryan took a bite he said it reminded him of green rice even though the dish is made with Italian rice, orzo. It is amazing how creamy and cheezy this bake almost tastes and it has no dairy!
Eating vegan is not hard it is having to be creative and finding options to warm the tummy. This meal is super easy to prepare and would go perfectly with Christmas dinner.
Amber at Almost Vegan featured the recipe when I ran across it, but I had also seen it in Lauren Ulm’s new cookbook Vegan Yum Yum, which is a pretty fantastic cookbook. It has beautiful pictures and EASY recipes.
Anyway, when I read Amber’s opinion of the combination of ingredients and flavors I knew I had to try it.
I had a bag of colorful orzo from my Farmer’s Market that I had ready to use.
I cut up some broccoli, mushrooms, and onions and garlic and sauteed. If broccoli is not your favorite veggie, try cauliflower or carrots or simply try a different combination.
While the veggies are cooking, the creamy mixture is prepared and then the creamy sauce, orzo, and veggies are mixed together and placed in a 9×9 glass dish.
Breadcrumbs are sprinkled on top along with some paprika and baked for 30 minutes. This is probably the best comfort food I had had in a while! I cannot wait to make it again. You will not be disappointed!
Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Bake
from Lauren Ulm’s Vegan Yum Yum cookbook
For the casserole:
1 cup orzo pasta (dry)
1 large stalk broccoli, stem peeled, stem and florets chopped
1 cup mushrooms (any kind), cleaned
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ tsp paprika (optional)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
For the sauce:
1 cup almond or coconut milk, or non-dairy milk
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup raw cashews, soaked 6 hours ( I did not soak and just used Vitamix)
2 Tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp tahini paste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and thoroughly grease a 9×9-inch (or similar sized) baking dish. Cook the orzo in boiling water for about 9 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, pulse the broccoli, mushrooms, and onion in a food processor until chopped into small pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. When done, remove from the heat.
While the veggies are cooking, combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.
Add the drained orzo to the vegetables, then pour on the entire batch of sauce.
Stir thoroughly to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly across the top, then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper as desired.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the top slightly.
Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.