Monday, November 26, 2007

Veggie Casserole with Tofu Croutons, Brussels, and Rockin’ Muffins

I jinxed myself by bragging about running around in shorts and sandals all month. That totally changed Thanksgiving, so I’ve been keeping busy in the house and keeping my oven on.

Chase helped me make dinner Saturday night. He prepped the veggies for our casserole by sautéing onions, purple cabbage, red bell pepper, shredded carrots, broccoli, and fire roasted tomatoes. He added a can of cannelini beans to thicken them, and seasoned it all with Italian spices. That went into a big casserole dish. Then he made the topping with half a block of tofu cut to the size of croutons, ½ cup panko, a little nutritional yeast, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and dried basil, oregano, and paprika. The casserole baked in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through and the tofu is crispy. It looks like this just out of the oven:

And like this on the plate:

I happened on to these “croutons” awhile back when making pizza. I had diced the tofu too small and in a really hot oven they nearly disintegrated. When done right, the nice thing about the croutons is they stay crispy on top of the veggies, but get soft again when mixed in with the hot broth.

I made our side dish – a ring of wild and white rice with roasted Brussels sprouts. We can’t get enough Brussels sprouts these days!

We had some crusty store bought French bread to gather up all the goodness.

For dessert we had the best muffins I’ve made in a long, long time. I suppose it’s because they are made entirely with wheat flour (I shouldn’t eat) that made them rise so high and taste so light. They are Pumpkin, Millet, and Chocolate Chip Muffins that I adapted from this recipe, eliminating the dairy products and processed sugar, and adding chocolate chips. Toasted millet replaces nuts, and after several bites trying to figure out what the millet reminded us of, it hit – candy sprinkles! I’ll include my recipe because I hope if you have leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving, a chocolate craving, and are in the mood for a unique and fun crunch in your muffins, you’ll give these a try.

Pumpkin, Millet, and Chocolate Chip (Rockin’) Muffins
(not gluten free)

½ cup millet
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
¼ t. ground cloves
1 cup “buttermilk”
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup sucanat
1 t. vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line or spray a 12-cup muffin pan.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add millet and toast, stirring occasionally, until millet is golden brown and begins to pop, about 3 minutes. (The millet will not pop out of the skillet like other grains or seeds tend to do.) Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add millet to the flour mixture, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend as much as I did. I relaxed as much as possible because I know from now until the end of the year will be crazy busy.


madeinalaska said...

Hey Diane,
Me and little Emma were just looking through your blog.. funny thing all she could say was ohhhh that looks good... that looks good and your muffins ohhh that looks better!
It’s a family affair here too! I can not help but get all giddy hearing about you and Chase cooking/eating together.. I do miss my older kids everyday!
take care, happy to hear your holidays went well!

Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

oh my gosh! your food always looks so good, and this post is no exception. the tofu croutons are a neat idea, too!

Anonymous said...

maybe a silly question but how did you make the butermilk ?

Sheree' said...

I love millet muffins. They have the coolest little crunch. Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I love your blog. I love you dishes. I am trying to get out of my rut after loosing Tilly and you give me cooking inspiration. Thanks!

aTxVegn said...

Hey, Julee! I think about you and your kids often. The little ones are so sweet and the older ones are so - different! But in a great way. For one thing they eat better - more veggies and not every meal has to be pizza or burgers. You and Emma should make some muffins together!

Thanks, Liz-2!

Johanna, use any kind of milk - soy, rice, almond - and stir in 1 teaspoon of white or cider vinegar and let it sit a few minutes. It will thicken like buttermilk.

aTxVegn said...

(((((HUGS)))))) Sheree!

Sheree' said...

My sweet hubby does not like tofu when it has a bland taste and rubbery texture. I want to make this casserole. Do the tofu croutons have a good flavor or do you think I should marinate them so hubby will eat it? I am making your muffins today

aTxVegn said...

Our tofu was mixed with garlic and herbs, etc., and wasn't bland at all. You sure can marinate it in whatever hubby likes, but you might want to crank up the oven to 400 or 425 to make sure they get nice and crispy. Let me know how it works out!
- Diann

Vegan_Noodle said...

I love the idea of tofu croutons! SO cute!
The rest of the year is going to be crazy busy....not sure I"m ready for all the holiday baking I have to do. Oh well, at least it feels a bit more seasonal now that it's chilly outside! :-)

Carrie™ said...

Shorts & sandals??!! I wish. As I type this the wind is howling and it's snowing - crazy blowing snow. That casserole is so pretty. What a great combo of colours. Everything else looks wonderfully delicious too!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness gracious those Pumpkin, Millet & Chocolate Chip Muffins sounds great!! I'm sure they'll taste just as fabulous with carob ;0)

I can NEVER get enough brussels sprouts, so I'm quite keen on that side-dish of yours!! mmm!!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I love the colorful-ness of your casserole! Hope you're enjoying the not-as-cold weather today :o).

Amy said...

Thanks for the suggestion -- I'll definitely have to check that out!

Also, your casserole looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

That is one colorful casserole! Looks great :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful casserole. Your tofu croutons sound like a fortunate accident. I have a craving for pumpkin stuff right now. Must be the season. Those muffins sound like they'd be the perfect solution.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the info.

bazu said...

I'll have some of everything, please.

Ashasarala said...

Those muffins look so, so good. I can picture myself sinking my teeth into them!

Sheree' said...

Thanks Diann, I will keep you posted.

Sheree' said...

Hi Diann,
I finally got these muffins made and they are the best ever. My picture does not do them justice. Brandie is also in love with them. She can eat them too. Morning sickness is not good.

LisaRene said...

Hello, I came to your blog via Veg-a-Nuts post on these muffins. I'm a huge muffin eater and have fun adapting traditional recipes to be healthier, lower calorie and vegan. I haven't baked with millet and looking forward to trying your recipe.

Your casserole with the crispy tofu on top is making me hungry!

Anonymous said...