Moosewood Cookbook inspired Spinach and Rice Casserole with Tahini and Avocado Sauce

Since I’m going to be moving to SB shortly, I’m taking all my vegan recipes with me leaving my mom with nothing she can go to for reference.  I’ve suggested that she take a look at my notebook and copy the recipes that interest her.  I also reminded her about the Moosewood Cookbook (by Molly Katzen) that we’ve had forever and suggested she adapt the recipes as desired.  (If you don’t have this cookbook, it really is a great resource, even if you aren’t vegetarian.) 

Over the weekend I created a recipe similar to a recipe found in the Moosewood Cookbook that incorporated tahini and avocado to create a creamy filling that replaced the egg, milk and cheese used in the original Moosewood Cookbook recipe.  The Sauce I created also tastes great on its own…use it as a salad dressing or to top fresh tomatoes (like we did).

As I look at the Moosewood Cookbook’s Spinach-Rice Casserole (page 135 in the 2000 version), I notice that the recipe provides options for vegans  (without eggs, milk or cheese).  Not sure how that new version would turn out but I would think it would be a little dry.

As I was making my version, I never even looked at the Moosewood recipe, just went by memory and taste.  And, now after looking at the Moosewood recipe, I would have enjoyed the addition of nutmeg and cayenne pepper so I suggest adding them (to taste, as preferred of course).

I must say that I had the leftovers for lunch today and it was so good.  They held the classic square shape so it holds together really well once cooled and reheated in the microwave and it is still creamy.  Freshly baked, though, it does not hold a square shape…but it is still very delicious!

Spinach and Rice Casserole with Tahini and Avocado Sauce

Tahini Avocado Sauce

1/4 cup red onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup tahini (pureed sesame seeds)

3/4 of a whole avocado

1 T soy sauce or shoyu

6 T water (or more as needed, especially use to thin out sauce as desired)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1-2 T agave syrup (to taste)

1-2 leaves fresh basil

Salt to taste

1. In a small sauce pan, soften red onion and garlic with 2 T water over medium heat. Set aside.

2. Combine remaining ingredients including the softened onions and garlic in a food processor.

3. Adjust seasoning and thinness.  For this dish you want it thick but pour-able.  Set aside.

Mock Parmesan ‘Cheese’

Whole Almonds (handful)

1/8 cup or less of  Nutritional Yeast

2 pinches salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1. Combine all ingredients into a food processor to chop finely.  Consistency similar to grated parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

Spinach and Rice Filling

2 cups already cooked brown rice (1 cup dry brown rice, 2 cups water, bring to a boil, turn temp to low to simmer, takes about 30 mins or so)

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 T olive oil

1 med carrot, chopped into small pieces (about 1 cup)

1 1/2 cups cooked spinach (uncooked spinach – lots, you’ll have to eyeball it)

Salt and pepper to taste

Paprika to dust on top

Optional: Nutmeg (1/4 tsp) and cayenne (1/4 tsp).

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a square casserole dish (8×8 or something similar) by spraying with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat, add onions and salt and pepper.  Add carrots, stir.  Add optional spices if desired. Add spinach, stir and cover to allow spinach to wilt.  Stir.

3. Add the brown rice to the spinach, stir to mix.  Take off heat.

4. Add 1 cup or more of the tahini avocado sauce.  Stir.  Adjust seasonings, add more sauce.

5.  Add 1/4 cup of the mock parmesan ‘cheese’ or more if desired.  Stir.

6.  Pour into casserole dish.  Top with a sprinkling of the ‘cheese’ and some paprika.

7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until hot, slightly browned with a crunchy top.  Serves 4 (at least).  Great with a salad or fresh tomatoes topped with the sauce if making this as a main dish, or as a side dish. Could also be a great potluck dish!

Please note that I know that this recipe may seem a little involved but don’t let that stop you because the Sauce and the cheese can be made while the rice is cooking.  You may even be able to get the spinach mixture cooked before the rice is finished. Get the rice on first, then work through the different parts.  It’s well worth it in the end!

Enjoy!

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This entry was published on July 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm. It’s filed under Blue Crocus Food and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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