This is a guest blog post by Carrie Forrest, MPH.
This casserole is a wonderful meal that is chock full of healthy ingredients like spinach, wild rice, lentils, and peas. The cashew cream sauce provides creaminess and flavor, with very little added sodium.
To make the preparation easier, cook the rice and lentils the day before. Additionally, you can split the final casserole mixture into two batches, baking one now and freezing the other half to de-frost and bake at a later date.
Makes 10 servings.
- 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown lentils
- ½ of a medium red onion, chopped
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 (16-ounce package) frozen peas, thawed
- 1 (10-ounce package) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground dried turmeric
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (for topping)
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the Cream Sauce:
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried garlic
- Spray a large casserole baking dish (about 9” x 13”) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pick over the lentils to remove any debris. Rinse the rice and lentils and drain thoroughly. Place the wild rice and lentils in a medium saucepan with 3 1/2 cups of water and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer covered for 35 minutes, or until rice is cooked and most of the water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool.
- Heat two tablespoons of water in a large skillet over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms, stir, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. The mushrooms will begin to soften and release their liquid, but you can add another tablespoon or two of water to keep the mixture from sticking to the skillet.
- Add the peas, spinach, minced garlic, tomato sauce, smoked paprika, dried oregano, dried turmeric, and stir to combine. Cook for one more minute and then remove the pan from the burner. Pour the cooked wild rice and cooked lentils into the skillet with the cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Make the cream sauce by placing the cashews, almond milk, soy sauce, and dried garlic into a high-speed blender. Process on high for about 30 seconds or until smooth. (Note: if you do not have a high-speed blender, then you can make the sauce in a regular blender, but you will need to soak your cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes to soften them. Drain the water before adding to your blender and process until smooth).
- Pour the Cream Sauce over the casserole mixture and stir well. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and sprinkle the top with the nutritional yeast.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the top of the casserole starts to turn golden brown. Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast, if desired.
A former world champion of Hating to Eat Vegetables, Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health nutrition and writes the popular food blog, Carrie on Vegan. Carrie is the creator of the best-selling recipe app for iPhones and iPads, Vegan Delish, featuring over 150 whole food, plant-based recipes, available in the App store on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @carrieonvegan.