Vegan Potatoes O'Brien Casserole

I am not a proper food blogger. I do not have a half dozen fancy pictures for you staged perfectly. What I have are ideas for lunch, mostly, but having veganized a casserole successfully, I thought I would share it with you.

It was good, although really, really rich, and like most of my vegan adventures, tasted better as leftovers. I could see this working well for a potluck or a holiday dinner in which people are sneering at your vegan food, though, because impressing omnivores with vegan foods usually involves adding a lot of fattening things. I began with this recipe, which I cut in half among other things, and was inspired to make the base for the cheesy mushroom sauce with this recipe. This is a creamy, cheesy potato casserole that works well as a side for things you might otherwise serve with mashed potatoes. You can also have it as a main dish alongside the sorts of things you would put with a main dish baked potato.

Prepare to be fattened!

Vegan Potatoes O'Brien Casserole
Serves: About 6-8

3/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), divided
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups soymilk
1/2 package of frozen hash brown potatoes O'Brien, thawed
3/4 cup shredded non-dairy cheddar (such as Daiya)
1/4 cup non-dairy sour cream
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter in a saucepan. Cook mushrooms and 1 tablespoon onion in butter; set aside. In same pan, melt 3 tablespoons vegan butter. Whisk in flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper and cook for about a minute. Add soy milk slowly, a few tablespoons at a time, fully incorporating into the flour mixture before adding more. After all has been added, return cooked mushrooms  and onions to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until thick. Remove from heat.

Spray a 9 x 9 square baking dish (or equivalent casserole dish of your choice) with cooking spray. Spread thawed potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Melt remaining butter; divide in half.

Combine half of melted butter with your mushroom mixture, remaining 1/4 cup of onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Pour over potatoes.

Mix remaining butter and bread crumbs. Top casserole with buttered bread crumbs.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Allow to cool a little before serving.


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