Tonight, I present you with ideal winter comfort food. It’s warm, creamy, “cheesy,” and filling, and it’s easy to prepare. If you cook your quinoa ahead of time (perhaps as part of a weekend batch cooking routine), then you can even throw this together on weeknight, after work or class. The leftovers get better over the course of a day or two, and they’ll also freeze for a couple of weeks, so no matter how many people inhabit your home, it’s worth making the whole recipe and saving leftovers for a quick and easy express meal later on.
And did I mention that it’s cheesy?
In his recent roundup of vegan favorites, my boyfriend mentioned that I put nutritional yeast on everything. Guilty as charged. I add nooch to grain bowls, salads, curries, and…everything. But the real beauty of nutritional yeast isn’t only its value as a condiment. It’s also the perfect base for creamy, “cheesy” vegan sauces. In this recipe, I’ve used the classic cashew/nutritional yeast combination, along with cooked chickpeas, which add a thick texture (not to mention a healthy dose of protein, folate, and iron!). The sauce is excellent, and it may now join my steady rotation of creamy condiments.
The broccoli in this casserole is lovely, but you could swap it for all sorts of green veggies: kale, spinach, green beans, peas, shredded Brussels sprouts…I could go on. Like many casserole dishes, this one lends itself to customization, based on what you have at home. It’s also a nice vehicle for frozen vegetables, if you’re short on groceries and looking to make something special.
As I’ve mentioned a few times recently, I’ve been in a bit of a recipe development rut, relying often on bowls or old, tried-and-true meals to get by. When I made this bake last week, I had that sweet sense of personal accomplishment that comes when one has created a really satisfying meal. It had been a while, but it was enough to make me feel inspired again.
Cooking is funny; it’s easy to fall into ruts or to lose one’s sense of creativity, but even one good meal is usually enough to get the wheels turning again. I hope to have more to share soon, and in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this dish as much as Steven and I did.
Good night, friends!