By Elena Johnson
In honor of Christmas next week, I created a special meat-free casserole that lets all the flavors of the holiday season shine without the cruelty. This hearty dish of meatless chicken, mushrooms, gravy, and stuffing can be assembled the night before and then popped in the oven as your guests arrive. It also travels well in case you need to bring a meat-free dish to share at a friend’s holiday table. Happy holidays!
6 – 8 servings
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 12 oz. pkg. Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips
• 3 cups button mushrooms, quartered
• ¼ cup flour
• 2 cups vegan chicken or vegetable stock, such as Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
• 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh sage, minced
• 2 tsp. dried thyme
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. pepper
• ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance Buttery Spread – divided
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
• ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, minced
• 2 tsp. dried thyme
• ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
• Dash ground cloves
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 10 oz. pkg. stuffing mix, such as Arrowhead Mills Organic Savory Herb Stuffing, or 5 cups dry bread cubes
• ¼ cup dried cranberries, minced
• 1 ½ – 2 cups vegan chicken or vegetable stock, such as Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
First make the filling. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once translucent, add Beyond Meat and brown. Add mushrooms and cook until juices release and mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle with flour and mix together well, let cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add stock, stirring well to ensure there are no lumps. Stir in sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until liquid thickens to a gravy. Adjust seasoning if needed. Pour into 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, set aside.
Make the stuffing. Melt ¼ cup margarine in large skillet. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Sauté until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat and add parsley, sage, thyme, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Place stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and dried cranberries. Stir well to combine. Gradually mix in stock until bread cubes are well-moistened.
Spread stuffing across top of casserole, pressing down gently. Dot the top with remaining tablespoon of margarine. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more until top is browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
About the Author
Elena Johnson is a second-generation Filipino American living in Baltimore, MD. As a vegan chef and caterer she has been reinventing her family’s recipes and sharing them with friends, relatives, and those interested in vegetarian cooking. Elena is also the Special Projects Manager at Compassion Over Killing, a national animal advocacy organization focusing on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promoting vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for all. Elena combines her passion for vegetarian food with a love of teaching by offering cooking demonstrations to the public. To learn more about why she went veg, visit TryVeg.com. Questions/feedback: email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Elena on Twitter: @ElenaEJohnson.