(This is a crock pot recipe, but it only cooks for 1 – 1 1/2 hours & is best if you can occasionally give it a stir. It can even be started the night before and assembled before cooking. Start cooking this 1 1/2 hours before serving time.)
Fall calls for the start of comfort foods. I can’t get enough thick soups and casseroles this time of year! I remember loving my mom’s chicken noodle casserole when I was a kid. Though this is not based on her actual recipe, it is kind of like my veganized version from my childhood memory. I have been trying more crock pot recipes out lately & intend to try more, especially the long-cooking ones… It’s amazing to come home from work and smell dinner cooking. Its like having your very own private chef! This would be an easy dish to take to a fall pot luck!
I was so pleased that my 3 & 5-year old kids liked this. In fact, I didn’t tell my daughter she was eating seitan (she thought it was “tofu chicken”, which she loves) until she was into her second serving and asking for more of the “tofu”. She was even giving me seriously exaggerated “MMM”‘s! every time she had a piece (she was loving it so much she was rolling her eyes with every bite!). When I told her she was eating seitan -& loving it – her eyes practically popped out of her head! LOL… We have had numerous failed attempts at finding ways to get the kids to eat seitan, it’s just not one of their favorites. SO, I was stoked it was a hit! Hurray for another delicious & healthy recipe that they enjoy! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! This could easily be baked in the oven in a casserole dish though I until I try it myself, I cannot vouch for oven temp/cooking times as of yet.
Crock-Pot Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz sliced mushrooms ( I used 2 cans, which rang in at about 8 oz)
- 1 Tbsp vegan chicken-flavored bouillon (I used one square of Edward & Sons Not-Chicken Bouillon Cubes by dissolving it in a bit of the milk, heated)
- 4 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 1/2 -2 cups seitan, plain or chicken-flavored, torn or chopped into small cubes. Use store-bought or homemade seitan. (I actually used plain seitan and it was great… One box was about 1.5 cups &I had about a 1/2 cup already in my fridge that I threw in to use it up.)
- 8 oz dried pasta shells of choice (whole wheat or regular – I used some penne noodles but most anything would work.)
- 3/4 cup peas (opt. – I just love peas, so I added some in there!)
- 1/2 tsp thyme dried
- salt and pepper to taste (the veg bouillon cube is so high in sodium I didn’t add any additional salt)
- 2 Tbsp flour, if needed to thicken
- Bread crumbs or topping of choice (think panko, crushed Ritz, crushed potato chips, French fried onions…)
1) To make the cashew cream sauce, blend in a food processor until smooth & creamy:
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
2) Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent, about 3-5 min. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms reduce in size and are tender, 5-10 min. (If you use canned mushrooms, just cook 5-10 min as well to blend flavors.)
At this point you can refrigerate both the sauce and the veggies, separately, until the next day if you are preparing this ahead.
3) Oil the crock of your slow cooker and combine the sautéed veggies, cashew cream sauce, disintegrated bouillon cube, milk, seitan, pasta, thyme & pepper in the slow cooker. Mix thoroughly and cook on high for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the pasta is al dente. Give it a good stir about every 20 minutes or so.
4) If the pasta is ready but the sauce isn’t thick enough, stir in the flour. This should help thicken it up. (Note: I added in the flour to find that after I had taken the lid off the crock pot, it thickened up more on its own very quickly!) If desired, add your topping before serving. Devour!!
This was truly delicious & easy. Will make again for sure. Id love to try baking it in the oven sometime with some French Fried Onions on top. Let me know if you try that! And as always, suggestions and comments are appreciated!