I grew up eating different kinds of casseroles at my grandma's - I really loved them! Though I cannot eat some of them anymore because of a lot of the ingredeints (cream of "something" soup, corn, etc.), I do love the idea of putting a bunch of yummy things into a pan, baking it and enjoying. I also love the idea of a "make ahead" meal because we are as busy as ever. I wanted to figure out a way that I could make a casserole in a way that I could acutally eat. Sometimes people are turned off by the word casserole, but you shouldn't be. It's whatever you want it to be! The definition of casserole is - "a kind of stew or side dish that is cooked slowly in an oven."
This casserole can be made vegetarian by using veggies instead of ground beef and veggie broth instead of a meat broth.
You could make it dairy free by using a rice or nut cheese.
You could make it low carb by eliminating the rice/quinoa mixture and using more veggies and perhaps some black beans.
You can replace the green beans with spinach.
If you are allergic to nuts, you can use another type of sour cream instead of cashew cream.
You could really do whatever you like. When I first made this recipe, it was similar to the recipe below but, since then, I have made it every single possibly way with spinach with black beans, no rice or quinoa, just quinoa, just rice, etc. and they were all delicious! This is my favorite version though. Also, notice I dont add any salt to this recipe (I'm a firm believer in "salt your own food").
3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 yellow onion (diced)
2-4 cloves of garlic (diced)*
1LB organic ground beef
2 cups French style green beans (frozen)
1 package of Seeds Of Change Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice**
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth or beef broth
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/2 TB Oregano (add to ground beef)
If you feel like you will NEED salt... add about 1/2 tsp to ground beef
1/4 cup Cashew Cream (vegan sour cream)
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
*We used abut 8 cloves of garlic because we just love it so much. It really is our favorite vegetable. Feel free to increase your number cloves if you are a garlic lover! If you don't love garlic, you don't have to use any.
**We buy this bag of delicious Seeds Of Change Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice from our local grocery store Mother's Market (only in Southern California). You can also find it at Costco and perhaps Sprouts Market. If you don't want to go hunting for it or if you can't find it, use 1 cup of cooked brown rice and about 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa.
In a large sauce pan, put your olive oil in and sautee your diced onion. Once it becomes transulcent, add your diced garlic. Once mixed, brown your ground beef. After your beef is ready, add your 2 cups of frozen French style green beans and stir until well combined. Don't worry about making sure they are warm, just stir well.
Pour in your Seeds Of Change Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice and mix well.
Add in your tomato sauce and broth and mix well.
Lastly, add your mozzarella cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted.
Pour your mixture into a prepare baking pan. Make sure you leave room for the cheese and cashew cream (vegan sour cream) on top. (I used a pan that is 11 by 7)
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven and place on a trivet.
Measure out about 1/4 a cup of cashew cream (vegan sour cream) (RECIPE HERE) and spread out over the top of the casserole. You may want to use more and you may want to use less - but that is soley up to you. Then spread your mozzarella cheese on top.
Put it back in the oven for another 10 - 12 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
Wait a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your casserole!