The traditional potato casserole takes on new life with a creamy vegan sauce and bits of smoky tempeh.
Does anybody make casseroles anymore? I’ll be the first to admit that just the sound of the word is enough to give me flashbacks to the potato chip-sprinkled, tuna and cream of mushroom soup concoctions that were so popular when I was growing up. They were enough to drive a kid to vegetarianism, which, now that I think of it, is a point in their favor.
But maybe it’s time that we vegans take it upon ourselves to change the casserole’s image. After all, potatoes, grains, and pasta–all naturally vegan ingredients–are the backbones of most casseroles, and without the artery-clogging meat, cheese, cream, and cream of this-or-that soup, casseroles can actually be healthy (and easy) main dishes.
The one drawback that I can see is having to turn on the oven during these hot summer months, but I justify that by doing all my cooking in the oven at the same time. Case in point, this potato casserole: roast a big pan of vegetables at the same time, add a green salad, and you’ll have a complete meal without having to use the stove at all.
The recipe was inspired by all those potato, cheese, and ham concoctions of yesteryear, but instead of cheese I use a variation on the sauce from Macaroni and Cheeze, and instead of ham I substitute a simplified version of tempeh bacon. To be honest, the tempeh breaks down so that it’s like neither ham nor bacon, but crumbly and delicious in its own right.
Though the recipe looks complicated, once you’ve got the casserole assembled, it practically cooks itself; you’ll have plenty of time to toss a salad, pour yourself a glass of wine or juice, and kick back and enjoy the aromas wafting from your oven.
One more thing: The family says to tell you that this recipe is kid-friendly and husband-approved…which is a good thing because you’ll probably have enough leftovers for the whole family’s lunch the next day.
Golden Potato and Tempeh Casserole
- 6-8 ounces tempeh
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt optional
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 teaspoons white miso
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon snipped (optional)
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon vegan Parmesan such as almond parmesan (optional)
- Slice the tempeh about 1/4-inch thick. In a flat, microwavable baking dish arrange the tempeh slices in a single layer. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the tempeh.
- In the microwave, cook on high power for 3 minutes. Turn or rearrange any pieces that were not covered by broth and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Then cook at 50% power for 3 more minutes. Allow the tempeh to stay in the broth until you’re ready to assemble the casserole.
- Make the sauce by putting all the sauce ingredients except the tarragon into a blender and blending until completely pureed. Stir in the tarragon just before using the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Oil a large, 3-quart casserole (or use two smaller casseroles). Wash the potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each half into 1/4-inch slices.
- Put half of the potato slices in the bottom of the casserole dish. Lift the tempeh out of its marinade and arrange it on top. Put the remaining potatoes over the tempeh. Stir the sauce and pour it over the potatoes. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and cover tightly.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cover, sprinkle with vegan Parmesan, and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until potatoes are tender and sauce has thickened. Remove from the oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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RobinAugust 25, 2009 at 6:19 pm
I want to THANK YOU for sharing such a GREAT recipe!!!
I did not have the Vegan Parmesan nor did I have the fresh Tarragon but it did turn out lovely. Since I did not have Vegan Parmesan to top it off, I opted for the "not-so-fat-free" option and topped it with some organic vegan fried onions instead.
My husband raved about it after the first bite and even went for 2 LARGE helpings 🙂 I know this dish makes a lot but I don't think it will last very long in my house with my husband hoarding it 😉
You can count on me to put this into my regular circulation of tasty vegan recipes!!! Thanks again 🙂
panther_girl1629October 15, 2009 at 8:13 pm
I made this last night since I had all of the ingredients (sans tarragon) on hand. I don't know if I messed something up or what happened but I did not like this dish.
I love casseroles and was kinda disappointed that I didn't like it. (I want to like it, I really do!). I like it enough to finish it off since I don't want to waste it. Any suggestions as to how I can spice it up?
BarbAugust 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm
I made this dish last night and it was fantastic! Rich, salty, and a lovely hint of a deep smokey flavor that wasn’t too intense. I served it as a small main next to a large green salad topped with lots of veggies…wanted to add some color to the plate since the dish is truly golden! My dish was WAY done after 45 minutes so next time I’ll bake for just 30 minutes and then take the cover off for the last 10-15 minutes to let the top brown a bit (I did not top with vegan Parmesan). Other than that, I’ll be making this again…especially for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner when my friends and family moan about vegans missing out on flavorful holiday food. Thanks, Susan!
Regina EldredSeptember 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm
this is not a related comment but I did not know how to contact you
I wanted to try zuchini spagetti, what is the best gadget or making this
mOctober 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm
I just made this and wow! It is so delicious. I didn’t have taragon or vegan parmesan so just left them out. I sprinkled a little panko on top for the last 15 minutes.
NadiaOctober 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm
Love, love, LOVE this recipe! It is the main reason I keep nutritional yeast in my cupboard. I make a couple of changes though – I never have miso so I just leave it out, and I use sweet potatoes instead of Yukon Gold. I prefer sweet potatoes to any other kind, so I used them on the basis that I had nothing else in my cupboard, and wow does it work in this recipe. It adds an extra creaminess and the sweetness just works so well. Thanks for another amazing recipe, Susan!
jenDecember 30, 2010 at 10:41 am
i added a layer of fresh kale – turned out great! we were starving and dove in just a few minutes after i pulled it out of the oven, so it hadn’t set, but it was so yummy we didn’t care. i bet it will be even better today! next time i’ll add a few panko crumbs on top.
Michelle L.February 10, 2012 at 5:16 am
This came out delish! I wasn’t sure how all that “cheese” liquid would work but once I got it out of the oven, it looked totally different! Gotta love cornstarch. 🙂 Great recipe – my meat-eating boyfriend even liked it!
TaylorJuly 24, 2012 at 2:35 am
I bought most of the ingredients to make this recipe sometime this week. However, I’m newly vegetarian (working towards vegan) and not really all that familiar with miso (I know I had miso soup once a long time ago, but don’t really remember it). I looked up white miso, and it turns out I can’t have it because it’s made from barley (I have celiac disease). I’m not really familiar with the flavor, so I don’t really know any good substitutes (or if I could get away with just leaving it out). Any suggestions?
Susan VoisinJuly 24, 2012 at 6:58 am
Miso has a salty, savory flavor. You can leave it out and increase the salt and other seasonings just a little to compensate and it should be fine.
Susan WrightSeptember 6, 2015 at 11:24 am
made this today, but I put vegetables in there too for more flavor it turned out well.
TracieMay 1, 2016 at 5:44 pm
Just made this – so yummy! Even my omnivore husband liked it! 🙂
Sonia LigonApril 13, 2017 at 4:14 pm
I made this with sweet potatoes two weeks ago, and my family loved it so much! I am making it again this evening. Thank you <3
Ruth RiveraFebruary 26, 2019 at 10:12 am
What size casserole dish should I use?
Susan VoisinFebruary 26, 2019 at 12:12 pm
Large, 3-quart casserole dish or two smaller ones.
AprilApril 24, 2020 at 5:26 am
This was super yummy! I used russet potatoes, since I had some old ones needing to be used. I added some finely chopped fresh kale between the tempeh and top layer of potatoes. This will definitely be added to my regular rotation of dishes.
Mary Kathryn LeMayAugust 24, 2020 at 8:08 pm
This was creamy and satisfying! Omitted the tahini and vegan parm to cut down on fat and it was still yummy. Would add some cooked onions to up the flavor next time but it was great as it is. Hubby and I talked about all the different version we could make with it…add some vegs in, put some black beans in it and add cumin for Mexican taste…so many options! Great basic casserole dish!
KarleAugust 26, 2020 at 4:56 pm
I often use chickpe miso.and it’s certified gluten free.