Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : The Vegan BBQ Casserole

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It can be hard to make a casserole look cute.

It's almost April, and I think I speak for a lot of us when I say there's some serious "cabin fever" running rampant on the internet the past few days. I mean, do we really need to argue over every little thing and find fault in every comment and post? How does that make the world a better place?

So I went searching for a Betty recipe to save the day. One that would make the world a better place and give us a little glimpse of our impending summer. BBQ Beef Casserole seemed like a perfect place to start. Yes, I am pretty sure Betty intended this recipe to be a potluck dish, served to many people with sides of baked beans and fruit salad. We decided instead to keep it all to ourselves, and include a few BBQ-themed potluck favorites to make a complete party in a dish. I really channeled Betty for this one.

I admit I was little cautious about this at first... but it was awesome. Here's hoping it makes us all feel a little sunnier...

The Vegan BBQ Casserole
  • 1 Package Whole Wheat Penne (made per instruction on package)
  • 2 Cups Vegan Ground Beef (We used Lightlife Smart Grounds and loved it! You can also use Boca Grounds or Match Vegan Meats.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Dashes of Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (sliced)
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups of Your Favorite Vegan BBQ Sauce (We used Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, but there are many out there that don't have Honey or Beef Broth.)
  • 1 Can (4oz) Jalapenos (Diced; if you don't like spicy, you can only use half or skip this.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Braggs
  • 3 Tablespoons Beer
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Daiya Vegan Cheddar (shredded)
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • Dashes of Hot Sauce (optional)
Heat oven to 350. Spray a 2 quart glass casserole dish with Olive Oil Cooking Spray.

Prepare your Whole Wheat Penne per instructions on the package.

In your precious cast iron skillet, heat Olive Oil and Dashes of Liquid Smoke on a medium heat. Once the Oil is hot, toss in Vegan Ground Beef and Red Onions and mix with a spatula. Cook for around 5 minutes. Stir the mix occasionally. Remove from heat when the Onions are tender and Vegan Beef is browned and crispy on the edges and move to a large mixing bowl. It's OK if some Oil and small pieces of Vegan Beef and Red Onion are left behind.

Add Diced Tomatoes, Beans, Jalapenos, Corn and Bell Pepper to your already warm cast iron skillet. Toss the vegetables occasionally and once the Bell Peppers begin to become tender add BBQ Sauce, Braggs, Beer, Onion Powder, Oregano and Parsley. With a wooden spoon mix the ingredients until they are completely blended. Then put a lid on top and let it simmer for 1 minute. If your skillet is so hot the sauce is bubbling, you'll want to turn the heat down.

Put your cooked Penne into your casserole dish and make sure you have an even layer. Pour your BBQ Sauce and Vegetable mix into the bowl with the Vegan Beef and mix them with a wooden spoon. Then pour over the Penne. Sprinkle your Daiya over the top.

Put your casserole dish in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until your Daiya is melted.

Serve with some chilled beer or sodas and some hot sauce... maybe get out a little sunscreen. You can never be too careful.


  1. Yumm.. I don't know what you're talking about. It's a totally adorable casserole. ;) I do have some of those Smart Grounds I need to try...

  2. That looks so yummy, I wish I was having that for dinner!

  3. That looks really good! I think I know what I'm eating for dinner next Monday!

  4. This is one of those delightful recipes I can spring on my carnivorous friends and family and NOT tell them it's vegan til after they're done scarfing it up. BTW, they hate it when I do that! I will not be denied...

  5. I made this Tuesday night for dinner.... AWESOME! We had leftovers Wed. night and I took some on Fri. for lunch.. there is a smidge left. It was what we call "a make-again". Thanks for an awesome recipe.