I am so excited about this recipe.
I used to make this casserole, Johnny Marzetti, all the time for my family, when the kids were little....it was such a snap. Brown ground beef, add in cream of mushroom soup, pasta and pasta sauce and it was a done deal. Of course, since going vegan, this, and my other claim to fast food fame, tuna slop (tuna, cream of celery, rice and cheese), have been permanently archived.
This weekend, for some reason, I was thinking about ole Johnny and thought, wait a minute....I can figure this out.
I started with my favorite lentils, Trader Joe's cooked lentils. I don't know how they cook them, but they are so good.
Then I made up some cream of mushroom soup. After searching the web a bit, I settled upon two vegan versions and basically did a combo of the two.
Virtually Vegan Mama has a recipe here: http://virtuallyveganmama.com/2013/11/vegan-cream-of-mushroom-soup.html
and Healthful Pursuit has one here: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6005805
In my version, I sauted about a half of an onion and one clove of garlic in some water. I used one small box of baby bella mushrooms (chopped), and added those to the onion/garlic. I soaked about 1/2 C of raw cashews for several hours, and processed those in the food processor with some coconut milk (I had leftover in the frig needing to be used). As a thickener, I used a couple of tablespoons of flour and blended with some of the coconut milk along with some pepper, celtic salt (my new favorite seasoning) and a dash of onion powder.
Here is the blending of the soaked (and drained) cashews with the coconut milk going into the onion/garlic/mushroom mix that is sauteeing.
I added a bit more liquid after adding in the flour mixture.
Let heat for a few minutes to thicken up.
I lightly seasoned with some white pepper.
At this point, you could puree the mixture again and that would break up the mushroom chunks some, but I omitted that step. I'm thinking I could boost the nutritional value of this dish and the mouth feel of the bottom layer by adding in some cannellini beans. I'll play with that a bit. More veggies could be added as well.
From here it is an easy conversion.
Mushroom mix blended into the lentils. Pasta on top of the lentil/mushroom mix. Whole-wheat penne in this case, but spaghetti would be nice too.
And pasta sauce on top of the pasta.
I like lots of oregano in mine.
Top with some ground raw cashews and a quick heat up and it is good to go.
Both my husband and my (fairly finnicky) son pronounced this as GOOD!
Fun stuff......already kicking around some ideas for resurrecting tuna slop.... :)
Sue, loving Johnny, in Ohio