Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Big Bite of Nostalgia: Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish

WARNING: THIS RECIPE (as it is written, substitutions given) IS NOT GLUTEN FREE!

First of all, you may be asking yourself, why is she posting a non-gluten free recipe on a gluten free blog ? My answer is simply that sometimes I throw caution to the wind and have a little gluten, but it has to be for the right recipe (See UPDATE at the bottom). Incidentally, it would be gluten free if I could find an acceptable substitution for ground beef that doesn't contain TVP (textured vegetable protien.) With that being said it was either the cow or the TVP, and when it comes down to that, the TVP wins...Hands down.

(I suppose if you had the time you could take a few thawed gluten free veggie burgers, run them through the food processor and cross your fingers that the end result resembles ground beef...I'll give that a try next time and let you all know how that goes. Or, you could always substitute pinto beans as well.)

On to the recipe at hand. Being from the midwest, the "Land of the Hotdish" I grew up on this stuff. LOVED, L-O-V-E-D it. There's something comforting about hotdish, something indescribable. Sure, many mock the hotdish, but you know they're all closet caserole lovers deep inside.

The classic makings of a hotdish are simple; Just throw together whatever is in a can in your cupboard at the time, mix it with ground beef or turkey and top with something crunchy and then bake it in the oven for about an hour, and *Voila!

I came up with this vegan recipe for Tater Tot Hotdish on my own, with a little consultation from my mom (the hotdish queen) on the key ingredients. The sauce that replaces the cream of mushroom soup may look familiar. It's actually the "cheese sauce" from the infamous Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Interestingly enough, it tastes completely different in this recipe, very authentic, and very creamy.

So call your Grandma, have her bring over the lime green jello with the shreded carrots (you know, the kind that looks like your fish tank froze over?) and have your mom bring a pan of "bars" (pronounced "bahrs") and enjoy this recipe the way it was meant to be enjoyed...With family and friends!

Vegan Tater Tot Hotdish

1package Boca meatless crumbles (thawed) (NOT gluten free, but dairy free)
1 package baby bella's, sliced
1/2 red onion chopped
1 package frozen mixed veggies (thawed) (I used frozen peas, carrots, and corn)
1 package frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onions for a few minutes until nearly translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook for an additional few minutes. Combine the mushrooms, onions, Boca crumbles, and mixed veggies in a large bowl and pour in the sauce from the following recipe. Combine well. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Add the tater tots to the top until it is mostly covered. Bake for one hour or until the tots are crispy and the sauce begins to bubble.

2 Tbsp + 1/3 cup Earth Balance non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
2 Tbsp shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water reserved from the cooked vegetables
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

To make the sauce:
In a saucepan add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

3. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened veggies and 1 cup cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.

*Fancy French words not necessary when preparing, serving or eating hotdish.

I made this hotdish again and instead substituted pinto beans for the Boca crumbles, which in my opinion is just as good, and I didn't have to spend a week dealing with troublesome joints. Sometimes throwing caution to the wind just isn't worth it!


Danika said...


Sandra said...

I wonder if this could be done in the crockpot?

Jenni said...

Sandra, you really want to do it in the oven because you have to lay the frozen tots on the top so they get nice and crunchy...Nobody likes soggy tots.


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I don't cook. Is Swank or Skank no more? What does that mean? Does that mean that you chose one or the other (I'm guessing Swank), so there was not longer a conflict?

Jenni said...

DKN, Go back to my last post and read the comments. I have had requests to open S or S back up, but for the time being, I'm keeping it private. (You're not missing much, I haven't updated in a while) Send me your email address (jenniswank@gmail.com) and I'll invite you to read...Consider yourself blessed. ;)

Oh, and learn how to cook. That girlfriend of yours deserves a nice home-cooked meal.