Monday, December 31, 2012

Winter Comfort Food: Cheesy Onion Rice Casserole

These cold winter days are really prompting me to seek out comfort foods, like hot soups, casseroles and sinful fried things. Oh, and cheese... lots and lots of cheese. I basically want to make myself a cheese sandwich, pour myself a cheese cocktail, and settle into a toasty cheese bath, but... Oh. Yeah... I'm vegan. *frowny face*

ENTER: VEGAN CHEESE SUPERHERO (who, by the way, looks awesome in tights)

Oh, Vegan Cheese Superhero! Thank goodness, you're here! It's a real emergency... I have a criminally large hankerin' for some cheese!

Never fear, Sexy Vegan Mama! With the help of viable vegan cheese substitutes, like Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free shreds, you can enjoy those comfort foods right alongside your omnivorous loved ones.

Oh, you really ARE a hero! *bats eyelashes and swoons into a cheese-fueled fantasy*

Ahem... Anyway, I love this casserole, not only for its cheesy, melty, gooey goodness, but also for its piquant onion aroma and flavor, as well. I served scoops of the casserole atop large, broiled tomato slices. I think it would also be fab over grilled zucchini slices.

Cheesy Onion Rice Casserole

1/4 c. vegan stick margarine (I use Nucoa)
1/4 c. unbleached flour
1/2 t. crushed oregano
1/2 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 c. non-dairy milk
1 T. stone ground mustard

1 medium onion, diced

4 oz. (half a package) Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free "cheddar" shreds

1 T. egg replacer powder, mixed with 4 T. warm water (I use Ener-G)
1 c. fresh or frozen peas

6 c. cooked brown rice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a heavy sauce pan over low heat, melt margarine.

Stir in flour, oregano, basil, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika.

Add in non-dairy milk and mustard, stirring well over heat until thoroughly combined.

Fold in onion and "cheese."

Finally, add in prepared "egg," stirring completely to ensure even distribution throughout cheese mixture.

In a large bowl, combine peas and rice with cheese mixture, mixing well.

Pour into a greased 9" x 13" casserole dish.

Sprinkle top with paprika, and bake for 35 minutes.

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