There are certain recipes that fall into a category I call “Louisiana Church Potluck Dishes.” These are dishes that I grew up eating regularly because they were staples at the monthly “Family Night Suppers” at the church of my youth. I remember sampling delicacies like baked cushaw, mirliton supreme, and eggplant casserole without knowing what the heck they were, but hey, they tasted pretty good. My mother had her own signature dishes, and I don’t recall her ever making any of these potluck standbys, but there wasn’t really any need–we’d have them again at the next church supper.
I’d completely forgotten about eggplant casserole until a neighbor remarked that it was her favorite eggplant dish. As soon as she mentioned it, I was flooded with memories of a creamy filling covered with cracker crumbs, but I pushed it to the back of my mind because I wasn’t sure what went into it, but whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t vegan.
After consulting my stack of tattered, decidedly non-vegan Louisiana cookbooks, I was ready to take a stab at a vegan eggplant casserole, with one important change: Instead of boiling the eggplant, as most of the recipes instructed, I would roast it as I do for baba ganoush. It takes a little longer my way, but roasting the eggplant gives it a smokier flavor (and besides, boiling an eggplant just seems so wrong). To make this more of a main dish, I added chickpeas, but you could leave them out and serve the casserole as a terrific side dish for your creole black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. It won’t win any beauty contests, but you’ll be amazed at how luscious, creamy, and richly seasoned it is. (Even E The Eggplant Hater enjoyed it!)
Creamy Creole Eggplant Casserole
2 medium eggplants (about 1.25 pounds each)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or canned, drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces silken tofu (1/2 package Mori-Nu, Lite preferred)
1 ounce raw cashews (a little less than 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted and made into bread crumbs (or use pre-seasoned breadcrumbs and omit basil and oregano, below)
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 425 F. Prick eggplants several times each with a fork and place them on a baking sheet. Bake until they are both completely soft (skin will be blackened in places and collapsed in the middle)–30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop the flesh from the skin, discarding any liquid. (You can do this step a day ahead and refrigerate the eggplant pulp until ready to use.) Set aside until ready to use.
Chop all vegetables (I do each one separately in the food processor). Spray a non-stick pot with olive oil (optional, depending on the non-stickiness of your pan) and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions, green pepper, and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook on medium-low heat, stirring and scraping the pan’s bottom, until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the reserved eggplant, chickpeas, parsley, thyme, cayenne, paprika, and black pepper. Cook, breaking up any large pieces of the eggplant with the edge of a spoon, on medium heat while you prepare the tofu mixture.
Place the tofu, cashews, onion powder, and water in a blender and process at high speed until cashews are blended and mixture is smooth. You may have to stop the machine and scrape down the sides several times and, if you’re using a Vita-Mix, use the pusher to push the mixture into the blades. Scrape the mixture out of the blender and into the pot with the eggplant-chickpea mixture. Stir well, add nutritional yeast, and salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 375F. Oil a shallow baking dish and pour the eggplant mixture into it, smoothing the top. Mix the breadcrumbs with the basil and oregano and sprinkle them over the top of the casserole. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until top is browned and casserole is hot. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Nutrition (per serving): 188 calories, 32 calories from fat, 3.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1023.4mg sodium, 727.4mg potassium, 31.8g carbohydrates, 9.8g fiber, 6.4g sugar, 10.4g protein, 3.3 points.
Though MyPoints are calculated using a formula similar to Weight Watchers Points TM, this site has no affiliation with Weight Watchers and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.
DnJJanuary 26, 2010 at 9:59 pm
This is on the menu for tomorrow night! Any suggestions for substituting out the Soy? We're new at this and want to avoid the soy completely/as-much-as-possible.
SusanVJanuary 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm
DnJ, cooked white beans (like Great Northern) can be substituted for tofu in this recipe. Hope you enjoy it!
DnJJanuary 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm
Fantastic Dish! Highly recommended.
We omitted the tofu and replaced it with half white beans plus half a head of cauliflower (roasted golden a la America's test kitchen before pureed). Beautiful, and we went back to the recipe several times looking for all the FAT that must be there, but it just wasn't there.
another home run Susan!
Sarah The Hipster VegJanuary 28, 2010 at 10:41 am
WOW. You've really inspired me to try Eggplant in some new ways. I am so very fond of it, and I cook it all the time! Thanks for giving me some inspiration!
ElessarJanuary 29, 2010 at 3:13 am
Eggplant/aubergine has always been on my 'hit list': yucky, and not worth the effort. Thanks to Susan I recently made one of her dishes involving egglant & another vegetable I avoid, just to show I have l'esprit de corps'. The dish wasn't bad at all, so, amazingly enough, I have decided to try to make this casserole, as eggplant/ aubergine is no longer rock bottom on my Yumm scale.Typical England though: I can't find silken tofu at my upscale supermarket, so I am going to invent using normal (and unfrozen) tofu.
lovemyfamilyFebruary 2, 2010 at 8:48 am
I feel bad cause everyone loved this, but I tried it out and my husband and I thought it was just 'ok'. My 2 year old hated it and said yuck after trying it. I like the idea of the dish so much and may try to go back and tweak it for our taste.
JackieNovember 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm
Before I made it, I tweaked it a little bit for my taste. I added a fair amount of white wine and a vegan chicken bullion cube while sauteing the mushrooms and then added a little more white wine after I added the eggplant and chickpeas. I also omitted the paprika and cayenne pepper. For me, that made this dish ABSOLUTELY amazing. I hope that helps you!
StephanieFebruary 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm
I just discovered your blog =) I'm just starting to (officially) go vegetarian, and if all goes well I'll probably extend that to eating vegan. We'll see. In the meantime, I love eggplant, and cannot wait to try this dish!
AnonymousFebruary 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm
Susan, I have recently discovered your recipes. Due to heart problems my husband and I are changing our way of eating. Must admit vegan had never appealed to us too much! However, we are enjoying your recipes so much! We have tried your sweet potato gumbo recipe and your standby lasagna which I prefer to any I've ever eaten and am now going to try the eggplant casserole. Thank you! You are a tremendous help to me.
AnonymousFebruary 9, 2010 at 2:43 am
Hi. I am from Australia and have recently found your site and have so far tried a couple of recipes.. Unfortunately my partner and I found this one less than expected. It looked great and tasted nice but not as flavoursome as indicated by most of the comments. I did reduce the cayenne and used dried sage and rosemary instead of thyme. Any suggestions where I could have gone wrong.
VegnRNJuly 21, 2010 at 12:53 am
Just a tip – I increased the amount of spices the second time I made it (not quite doubled but more like one and a half times the original amounts) and found that the taste is bolder.
lolalafey4February 18, 2010 at 10:45 pm
Glad 2 c ur blog! My mouth is watering at the image of your creamy eggplant casserole. I think that you're versatility is greatly demonstrated through your creative touch. I have recently hit a wall for creative vegan cooking and I get bored sometimes with what I make. Your blog looks beautiful and I can't believe that these are fat-free dishes. We are new to the vegan blogosphere. Do you have any tips for us? http://veggie-baby.blogspot.com/
dteepellFebruary 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm
I'm just cracking up at your "Louisiana Church Potluck Dishes" category…so Louisiana indeed! Glad to have found your blog and will be trying the Creamy Creole Eggplant Casserole recipe this weekend.
Do you have a good recipe for mirliton stuffing/casserole? I'd love to try it!
Richard HustonMarch 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm
OMG you can eat southern and vegan. Thanks so much.
Kelly MichelleJune 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm
I finally made this and it was so good! Looking back at the comments now though I think next time I will certainly be using the tahini instead of the cashews (maybe with a little lemon?) I have another recipe for an eggplant/chickpea dish that has tahini and lemon that is fantastic so I think that combination with the casserole aspect will be out of this world. Thanks for the delicious recipe!
SarahBJune 20, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Made this tonight, exactly how the recipe was written. Out of this world delicious!
VegnRNJuly 21, 2010 at 12:50 am
SusanV – this was the first FFV recipe I tried and I am in love! I make it once a week now and am amazed how well it turns out each time. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!
JeanetteSeptember 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm
This sounds delicious. I love that you have chickpeas in it, and the tofu and cashews sound like they must make it creamy. Will definitely try this recipe!
Ms_MinNovember 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm
This recipe is insanely good. I can’t believe something that tastes this rich is actually GOOD for me. So decadently creamy! I wouldn’t have dreamt of feeding my relatives eggplant on Christmas, but I’m thinking my non-vegan relatives might like this as a side-dish at our celebration—it does have that casserole-y thing going on–and in a good way. You hit this one out of the park!
Armil@Cajun foodNovember 17, 2010 at 10:09 am
This is such an easy thing to prepare though the ingredients are numbers. For me, eggplant does not taste well but with these looks of this creamy creole eggplant casserole I don’t how it will taste this time. Therefore, I’m really gonna try this one.
Wish me I can do it well and to my family who’s gonna eat this good luck! I’m just kidding though.
Cathie CarterDecember 9, 2010 at 11:10 am
Hi, I made your Creamy Creole Eggplant Casserole. Thought it tasted much better on the stove in the pot before it came out of the oven. Thought cooking it in the oven ruined it for some reason.
vitaDecember 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm
any ideas on what to substitute for mushrooms?
i know dr. fuhrman says they are really good for you, but i just can’t get into mushrooms.
SusanVDecember 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm
You can just increase the other chopped vegetables to replace the mushrooms. The mushrooms add flavor that there’s really no replacing, but if you don’t like their flavor, I guess you don’t need to replace it. 🙂
AzaharaJanuary 1, 2011 at 9:11 am
Delicious! Next time, though, I’ll also increase the amount of spices, since it didn’t come out as flavorsome as expected.
Oh, and I sprinkled a few sunflower seeds over the breadcrumbs, for good measure.
Thanks once again, Susan.
LauraPFebruary 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm
I am from the midwest, and before seeing this post I had never heard of eggplant casserole. It looked interesting so I bought the ingredients, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Having never tried any non-vegan versions of this dish, I can’t comment on how it compares to the original. What I can say is this dish blew me away with its creamy, delicious flavor. I suspect it might be even better than whatever fatty, non-vegan recipe it replaces, and I plan on making this many more times! Thank you for another amazing recipe, Susan!
EmMarch 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm
We had this for dinner with brown rice and spicy collard greens and it was EXCELLENT!!!!
I give it 5 *****
RyanMarch 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm
Your recipes look great. Question: what is nutritional yeast? Can I find that in mainstream grocery stores? It’s not the same as yeast one can find in the baking section, is it?
AlexJuly 19, 2011 at 6:44 am
This looks AMAZING! totally in-love with Eggplant (although quite novice when it comes to cooking with it to the point i almost avoid it in fear of ruining it! ). I was just wondering why it is that the skin seems to often be removed in recipes??? (I tend to leave skin on veges as i’ve heard its where most of the nutrients, fibre and all that good stuff is)….is this not the case with eggplant? or is it removed because of bad flavour? texture? etc once roasted?
Thanks in Advance for the advice! Im super-Keen to try this one out and enjoy me some home-cooked EGGPLANTS! =D
SusanVJuly 19, 2011 at 7:59 am
Eggplant skin can be tough, so I tend to leave it on when the eggplant is in chunks or thin slices and the skin probably won’t be noticeable. But for recipes like this, where the eggplant is baked first, you want only the soft, creamy middle. When it bakes, the skin gets even tougher, so it usually isn’t used.
JoyJuly 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm
I’m excited to make this dish this weekend. What type of tofu do you recommend? Extra-Firm, Firm…?
SusanVJuly 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm
You can use any softness of tofu as long as it’s the silken tofu in the aseptic package. I used firm.
HappyDaneAugust 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm
This sounds so delicious! I can’t wait to try it out!
LainaSeptember 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm
I was going to make PPK’s eggplant moussaka today, but when I saw this recipe, I decided to make this instead and can’t believe how delicious it is!!! It will be on the menu often. Especially when I have eggplant in the garden. 🙂 I used the japanese eggplant. A little more work, but definitely worth it.
I really love the creaminess inside, the texture of the garbanzos and then the crunchy breadcrumbs on top.
I ate this with a salad and I’m a happy camper right now. 🙂 Thanks again, Susan, for another super-duper delicious recipe.
I broke my camera a while back and just got a new one (nothing like yours) *smile* so I’ll be blogging about the gem of a recipe. I hope you know how much you’re appreciated!!!
SünneJanuary 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm
Thank you so much for creating this awesome recipe! It’s my favourite casserole (and I eat lots of casseroles) and therefore had to be my birthday dinner.
I can’t get over how creamy it is with such a lot of great and healthy ingredients. Sure, it’s a bit time-intense but it’s well worth the effort.
Also, it’s easy to sub ingredients: I don’t like bell peppers so I used kabocha squash instead and seeing as I don’t ever have breadcrumbs on hand I subbed – don’t knock it ’till you try it – puffed amaranth (unsweetened). Such a fun, crispy idea.
Just something random I’ve been wondering: Do you still enjoy this recipe yourself? I assume as you’re coming up with new recipes all of the time others might be left aside. Maybe you could do a post on which are your favourites from the ones you created? I hope this isn’t a stupid question/idea.
ChristinaFebruary 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm
Hi Susan! This looks amazing and I cant wait to make it. I do have 2 questions. I really don’t like mushrooms and lord knows I’ve tried I just can’t seem to acquire a taste for them. Do you think the recipe would suffer without them or do you have a recommendation for some thing else in its place? If not I’ll just give the shrooms another try :-). Oh one more thing… I noticed the sodium is quite high. Where is that coming from? I don’t have issues with salt but I just try to be conscious of how much I take in daily. Love your site! It’s been a huge help to me as I’ve just recently adopted the vegan way of eating and have learned much from you!!!
Susan VoisinFebruary 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm
Christina, I think you can just leave the mushrooms out with no problems. About the sodium, it’s mostly from the salt, but using canned chickpeas that contain salt also contributes.
ChristinaFebruary 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm
Thanks Susan! Wow, that little devil (salt) really sneaks up on ya! Lol. Ok can’t wait to make this…..hopefully next week when I shop again. I will let you know how it comes out.
ChristinaFebruary 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm
Susan…..I bit the bullet and made it with the mushrooms! I didnt want to change your recipe. I LOVED IT! By far my favorite! There is so much flavor packed in this and I’m all about spice….love spice. Tofu? I have never used it or at it in my life…..why? It was great!!!! I am very new to vegan diet and you have no idea how helpful yor site is! It showed me variety and flavor that I didn’t know existed on vegan. I honestly think without finding your site I would have thrown in the towel for cheese. Now that I realize creamy flavorful dishes like this can be made I a happy woman!!
SarahApril 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm
I made this for dinner last night and just ate the leftovers for dinner tonight– LOVE it! It is so good! It made way more than 6 servings for me, though! If I didn’t make it myself I would not have believed it was vegan. Thanks for another great recipe! 🙂
Paola SJanuary 13, 2013 at 11:30 pm
It was amazing recipe!! My family loved it!!! I became vegan a moth ago, and I started searching for some websites, and I found this website. My husband and I read it and we like it. Thank you Susan for all the information that you are posting, we are getting more information and knowledge about being vegan. I made couple recipes and my little one love them. Thanks and God bless you!
jMarch 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm
just made this dish tonight – without chickpeas (forgot them!) and used portobello mushroom and almond butter instead of cashews. it turned out awessome! it was so good… my boyfriend (a meat-eater) even enjoyed it! i was so shocked. i’ve never used tofu yet and was pleasantly surprised by how creamy it made the dish. thanks so much for sharing 🙂
AmandaJune 5, 2013 at 8:36 am
I adore this blog and I’ve been using it to plan more and more vegan meals for the family each week. So far, my husband has put up minimal fight regarding the lack of meat…until I made this. Only one of my three kids liked it and I only loved the flavor, but the texture was downright unbearable. Any suggestions to cut the sliminess? Did I cook my veggies too long? Is there another main ingredient I could use besides eggplant (which I love but I know contributed to the slimy texture)? The creaminess was awesome and I loved the smoky spicy flavors and the crunch of the chickpeas, any ideas on how to save this one for the whole family? Thank you!