Potato And Soy Casserole

In Finland every child and high school student gets a free lunch at school. In the 80′s when I was on the first grade one of my favourite lunches was Mashed Potato and Minced Meat Casserole. Most of the kids loved it and we called it “Hot Food”, because it was always served extremely hot and the real name was so long. Mashed Potato And Minced Meat Casserole is similar to Shepherd’s Pie and here’s my vegan version.

Mashed Potato And Soy Casserole

1,5 kg floury potatoes
water and salt
4 tbsp margarine
5-6 dl soy milk

2,5 dl textured soy protein
1 tsp each salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (reduce salt if you use regular soy sauce)
hot water
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp oregano

more margarine

Peel the potatoes and boil them in water with salt until soft. You can half or cube the potatoes to make them cook faster. Drain. Mash the potatoes and add margarine and soy milk. The result should be a bit thinner than regular mashed potatoes.

Mix textured soy protein, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder in a bowl. Add some hot water and soy sauce and mix well. Let sit until soy is soft. Add more water if the soy has absorbed everything and isn’t quite soft yet. Peel and chop onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion, garlic, soy protein and oregano until onion is soft and excess water from soy has evaporated.

Grease a wide dish with margarine. Spread half of the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Spread the soy protein on the mashed potatoes, spread the rest of the mashed potatoes on it and put dollops of margarine on top. Bake in 200-225 Celsius degrees 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Cabbage Casserole

Here’s one more casserole recipe. Many people make their cabbage casseroles with rice, but in my opinion barley is better with cabbage. Grains can also be left out if you prefer only soy and cabbage. Light textured soy protein has a nutty taste, which goes well with cabbage, but dark is almost as good. You can also add couple of desilitres sauerkraut to the casserole.

Cabbage Casserole

1 dl barley (or rice) + water for boiling
1,5 kg cabbage
3 tbsp oil
1,5 dl textured soy protein + water for soaking
1 tsp each salt, black pepper, marjoram and lovage
1 onion
3 dl water or vegetable broth
margarine

Boil the barley according the instructions on the package. Roughly chop the cabbage. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a big pan and sauté the cabbage until soft. Mix textured soy protein with salt, pepper, marjoram and lovage and add enough hot water to cover it. Soak until soft. Chop the onion. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a pan and sauté onion and soy until the onion is soft and translucent (5-10 minutes). Stir in barley. Add more salt or other spices if needed.  Grease a dish with margarine. Put a layer of cabbage in it, next half of the soy and barley mixture, more cabbage, rest of the soy and barley and finally cabbage on top. Pour in the water and put some margarine on top. Bake in 175 Celsius degrees about an hour.

Cabbage Stew

By quick googling I found out that cabbage stews are eaten around the world. They’re also eaten here in Finland and here’s my vegan version. It wouldn’t win a beauty contest, but it’s simple and easy weekday dinner. Here it’s served with beet salad, pickle slices and bread. In Finland cabbage dishes are often served with crushed lingonberries or lingonberry jam, but I forgot we had lingonberries in our fridge. Well, maybe next time.

Cabbage Stew

1,5 dl textured soy protein
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp soy sauce
hot water
1-2 onions
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
1 big carrot
2 potatoes
piece of parsnip (50-100g)
600 g cabbage (1/3 of cabbage head)
3 dl water
1 tsp each: marjoram, parsley and lovage
salt if needed

Mix textured soy protein, garlic powder and pepper in a bowl. Add some hot water and soy sauce and mix well. Let sit until soy protein is soft. Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté onions, garlic and textured soy protein until onions are soft and translucent. Meanwhile peel carrots, potatoes and parsnip. Slice carrot and cube potatoes and parsnip. Cut the cabbage into strips. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot and simmer until all the vegetables are soft (half an hour maybe?).

How To Make Soy Milk

There are special machines for making plant milks at home, but making soy milk without them is quite easy too. All you need is a blender, big pot, colander/sieve and cheesecloth. And soy beans and water of course. Home made soy milk has a strong soy bean flavour, which means it doesn’t taste so good if you drink it, but it’s good for cooking and baking. If you like to drink soy milk, you can add something like sugar and vanilla to make it taste better.

Home made soy milk

200g soy beans
water for soaking
2l water

Soak the soy beans overnight. Drain and rinse well.

Use a blender to make a smooth paste from the beans. Adding a little water makes the blending easier. We have a hand held blender, but other kind of blenders can be used too.

Put 2 liters water into a big pot. 5l pot is good, because the milk easily boils over. Bring the water to boil and add the soy bean paste. Slowly boil 20 minutes (from the point the water starts boiling again after adding the bean paste). At first you have to constantly stir, because there will be lots of foam. You may need to remove the pot from the heat couple of times. The milk settles down in 5 minutes or so, and then you don’t have to stir it all the time. But stir often to avoid burning your milk, even if it doesn’t burn as easily as cow’s milk (if you have made sauces or anything of cow’s milk ever in your life you know how easy it is to burn).

Cover your colander/sieve with cheesecloth and put it above a bowl. Strain your milk mixture with it. Don’t pour everything at once, unless you have a huge bowl! Transfer milk from the bowl into a bottle or other container to make room for more and pour more to the colander.

When it looks like all the milk has dripped to the bowl, lift the cheesecloth like in the picture above to get the rest of the milk out. You can also squeeze it.

The stuff that is left in your cheesecloth is called okara and it can be used for cooking too. Make okara nuggets, for example.

Smoky Patties

I saw this bean patty recipe in Chocochili and had to try it. I did some minor changes with spicing, because I didn’t have cajun spice mix the recipe called, but otherwise I followed the original recipe. We had these with mashed potatoes and cabbage and carrot salad. The leftover patties made a great lunch with home made buns and ketchup, mustard and other burger fillings.

Black-eyed Bean Patties

(makes about 8 )

1 dl textured soy protein
1,5 dl hot water
1 tbsp vegetable broth powder (or 1 tsp lovage + some salt)
4 dl cooked (or canned) black-eyed beans
1 tsp smoked paprika
0,25 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp paprika
0,5 tsp cayenne
0,5 tsp thyme
0,5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil + more for frying
0,5 dl wheat flour
0,25 dl dry bread crumbs

Put soy protein, vegetable broth powder and hot water into a small bowl and let sit about 10 minutes. Put the beans into a bigger bowl and mash with fork or blender. Mix everything together and let sit in the fridge for half an hour. Make patties with wet hands and fry on oiled pan until they are golden brown.

Veganizing The Königsberger Klopse, Part 2

A while ago we posted about or first attempt to make vegan Königsberger klopse. Now we have a recipe for soy balls that actually look like balls. It’s very similar to the one used in Sopranos style lasagne recipe, but the spices and cooking method are different. In the picture below they’re served with boiled potatos and carrot and lentil salad.

Vegan Königsberger Klopse

3 dl textured soy protein
vegetable broth
1 potato
2 dl rolled oats (or dry bread crumbs)
1 dl wheat flour
1 onion
1 big garlic clove
marjoram, thyme and parsley
1,5 tbsp capers
2 tbsp vegan worchestershire sauce
pepper
salt if needed
pinch of cayenne or chili
margarine and oil for baking

Cook the potato in boiling water. Peel and mash it. Chop the onion finely and mince the garlic clove. Put the soy protein into a bowl, add some broth and stir with fork. Keep stirring and add more broth until the soy protein is moist. Remember that it’s easier to add broth than remove it, so add only little bit at time. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. Combine all the ingredients. Wet your hands and make balls, about 4cm diameter. Grease a wide oven proof dish with margarine and put the balls in it. Brush them with oil and pour about 1dl water to the dish. Bake in 225 celsius degrees for 45 minutes. Add more water if needed. Cover with foil in the end of baking if the balls look dry.

Meanwhile boil some potatos and make the caper sauce. The recipe for the sauce is in the earlier post. Put the balls in the sauce, make sure they’re all covered and wait few minutes before serving.

Childhood Memories

Back in the 80′s, when we were kids, all the kids loved macaroni casserole. Don’t know if they still love it, I haven’t talked about food with kids for years.

Usually macaroni casserole is made with eggs, milk and minced meat. Or just eggs and milk, if it’s served as side dish. In many vegan recipes soy flour is used instead of egg, but I don’t recommend that unless you want your casserole taste like soy flour. Here’s my version, I used bechamel sauce to make a firm casserole.

makaronilaatikko

Vegan Macaroni Casserole

350 g macaroni
water and salt for cooking
3 dl textured soy protein
salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 onion, chopped
oil
some herbs if you like

Bechamel sauce

2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp wheat flour
5 dl soy milk
salt, pepper
nutmeg

optional: grated carrot, chopped celery, frozen corn or peas or any other vegetables.

Cook the macaroni in the salted water. Soak the soy protein in hot water, spiced with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion couple of minutes. Add the textured soy protein and fry until the exess liquid is gone. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed, and add herbs if you want to.

Making the sauce: Melt the margarine in a sauce pan and stir in flour. Add 0,5-1dl milk, stir well, add more milk, stir etc. until all the milk is gone. Bring to boil (remember to stir often!) and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Grease an oven proof dish and put half of the cooked macaroni on the bottom. Put the textured soy protein mix and vegetables (if you use them) on it and rest of the macaroni on top. Or mix everything together. Last pour the sauce on. Put the dish to a cold oven, turn it on 125 celsius degrees and go to the library. When you come back, the food is ready. Or if you want to stay at home, bake the dish in 175 degrees about an hour.

Serve with ketchup and something simple, like grated carrots, cucumber slices or pickled beets.