I don’t know about where you live, but here in Romania the weather has been a bit…let’s say temperamental. It’s been incredibly hot and humid one day, chilly and rainy the next, and them my personal favorite, the unbearable mix of super hot and incredibly humid.
Yeah, I’ve been finding ways to not let the weather get to me, mostly by ignoring the heat, but also making use of the little desktop fan that I have all to myself. When the weather is really ridiculous, I just switch it up and wait until close to sundown to start working & writing, because I have that luxury.
But what about those days when the weather dips just a little? Well, on those days I take advantage and have something unexpected in this stupidly hot summer. Enter, Cajun vegan sausage casserole.
We can all agree that July is just too damn hot for any type of casserole, except when it isn’t. When that day rolls around, I’m taking full advantage. So…here we go!
When you’re in search of an easy vegan casserole recipe, I find the Cajun or Creole style options are wonderful. And very forgiving. These types of vegan recipes work really well if you want a spicy dish or a milder one, and you can experiment with grains to change it up and prevent mealtime boredom.
So what did I use? Seitan sausage, brown basmati rice, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, roasted red pepper, garlic, tomato paste, dark soy sauce, smoky & hot paprika, cumin, garlic powder and piri piri powder. Oh, and scallions for garnish and a pop of freshness.
You can always use black or kidney beans (Cajun beans & rice recipe here) instead of vegan sausage to replace the protein, or you can go more authentic and add vegan chicken and vegan sausage to this vegan Cajun casserole. Basically what I’m saying is, whatever floats your boat.
My advice is to cook the mushrooms first to get some of the water out, unless of course you like soggy mushrooms. Give them a good 10 to 15 minutes over medium-high heat, until they start to get brown and crisp around the edges. If you cook oil-free vegan recipes, you can avoid burning by adding a splash of water if/when they start to stick to the skillet.
When you’re confident the mushrooms are how you like them, add onion and cook until translucent.
Add your vegan protein and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add garlic and roasted red pepper, cook another minute or two.
Here is where you’ll want to preheat the oven, unless you’re a wasteful person who let it preheat this entire time!
Add tomato paste and rice to the skillet, seasoning as you go along. Bring the liquid to a boil and when it’s time to simmer, move it to the oven. Make your life and post-dinner cleanup easier by using an oven safe pot or skillet so you can just slide it right into the oven. This will cut down on the cooking time because this has to cook until the rice is done and tender.
If you’re feeling lazy, cook it all on the stovetop and serve. Easy peasy.
It should take 10 to 15 minutes in the oven, unless you choose wild rice or black rice as your grains.
When everything is done cooking, let it cool and then plate it up, garnish with scallions and put it IN YOUR BELLY!!!
If you’re feeling bold and grown, try enjoying an icy cocktail on the side. I made a version of a gin Tom Collins with gin, fresh lemon juice, coconut syrup and a splash of tonic water. It was cool and delicious, and I might have two.
I know this is the wrong glass for a Tom Collins but…moving. Two of our wine glasses made the trek from Germany to Romania and since, well the last two have since been broken.