Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Recipe: Italian Veggie and Pasta Casserole

I found this recipe in the book "The Everything Vegan Cookbook" by Jolinda Hackett  and Lorena Novak Bull.
I have tweaked it just a little bit.

What you will need:

500 grams of pasta (spirals, corkscrews, small shells or bow ties)
1 onion chopped (optional)
3 zucchini sliced moderately thin  and halved if zucchini is large (Option - 2 zucchini and 1 can of kidney beans)
1 red bell pepper (optional)
4 cloves of garlic (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
two thirds of a cup corn kernals
tsp parsley and basil
quarter tsp oregano and paprika
half cup bread crumbs
one third cup vegan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to instructions on the packet, drain well and then lay out in a baking dish.
2. Preheat oven to 220 celcius
3. Saute onion, zucchini, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft - 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn and herbs. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
4. Cover pasta with zucchini and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and vegan cheese.
5. Bake for approx 15 minutes.

What I like best about this recipe is that it is very easy and you can make it gluten free by using rice pasta and rice breadcrumbs. I also love the Italian herbs. I am yet to find a vegan cheese that melts right but the taste is good, nonetheless.


  1. What on earth is vegan cheese? Cheese is a milk product. If not made of milk it's not cheese, so what is it made of? I am truly interested. :-) you may convince me to try some of your recipes..

  2. Hey, Miss Woo.
    I will start first by letting you know that there is cheese, vegetarian cheese and vegan cheese.
    Vegetarian cheese is made from dairy. The difference between it and non-vegetarian cheese is in the rennet. The rennet in vegetarian cheese is non-animal sourced, plant based, as opposed to 'regular' cheese which has rennet that is extracted from calves stomaches after they are slaughtered.
    Vegan cheese goes a step further my not containing dairy, or any other animal product. Most are made from soy and other vegetable oils and extracts and proteins. Quality and taste vary a lot. Some taste pretty ordinary, whilst others are very nice indeed. Melting potential is often an issue, as some will not melt easily. My advice is to try an assortment of brands and varieties until you come across the ones you prefer for cooking and ones you prefer for salads, sandwiches, cold foods.
    I'll list some brands that I have seen in Australia and have tried.
    Sheese: Sheese - quite a strong cheesy flavour, and works very well in sandwiches and on crackers. If you're a fan of strong cheeses, you can even eat it by itself! Sheese melts if it's shredded. An added benefit of Sheese is that it is available in a range of flavours: Mozarella, Medium Cheddar, Strong Cheddar, Gouda, Blue, Edam, Hickory Smoked Cheddar, and Cheddar and Chives.

    Toffuti Vegan Cheese Slices - The cheddar (American) flavour slices have a stronger flavour than the mozarella. These melt well to create grilled cheese and are delicious when used cold in sandwiches, too - very much like Kraft cheese. Oh, and Toffuti also do vegan cream cheese (highly recommend) and sour cream, too which is great on nachos.
    Cheezly - well known amongst vegans and vegetarians or anyone with lactose intolerance. This comes in a range of flavours. You can check out their website here: http://www.redwoodfoods.es/cheezly.php

    I get my vegan cheeses from health food shops, some deli type stores and vegan/vegetarian specialist stores. You can also get some vegan cheeses in supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths or smaller local supermarkets, like IGA.