I wanted to create a rich, satisfying brunch dish that has all the flavor of a hash brown-topped sausage, egg and cheese bake…using only healthy, plant-based ingredients. This fits the bill. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand held electric mixer to scramble the tofu mixture until (including) adding the vegan cheese; then hand stir in the remaining ingredients with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon.
Recommended equipment: stand mixer fitted with mixing blade, convection oven
For the hash brown topping:
1 pound bag frozen unseasoned hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fine salt
For the casserole:
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp ground dry mustard
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 large shallot, finely minced
1 large red bell pepper, trimmed and diced
1 small white or yellow onion (or half of a large one), diced
2 large fresh jalepeño peppers, stems and seeds removed, chopped
10 ounces vegan sausage (Beyond Meat Original Brats recommended; use 3 links)
10 ounces shredded or chopped vegan cheeses (I like a mix of Violife Mozz and Cheddar shreds)
30 ounces extra firm tofu, drained (“kettle style” if available)
1 Tbsp vegan mayo
Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Spray a 9×13″ ovenproof baking dish with non-stick spray or lightly oil it.
Mix the cumin and salt for the hash browns in a small prep bowl. In a medium mixing bowl, stir the oil and seasonings to coat the hash browns. Set aside.
In another small prep bowl, mix all the dry seasonings for the casserole and set aside.
Cook the vegan sausage in a pan or grill according to package directions, let cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chopped bell pepper, jalepeños and onion.
Crumble the drained tofu into stand mixer bowl (or a large sturdy mixing bowl, if using hand mixer). Add the minced shallot, casserole dry seasoning mixture and vegan mayo and blend on low-medium speed, about 2 minutes.
Add the cheese and blend on low-medium speed until well combined.
If using stand mixer: stop mixer, add cooked chopped sausage and vegetable medley to bowl, then blend on lowest speed for one minute or until evenly mixed. If not using stand mixer, accomplish this step by stirring the sausage and vegetables into the tofu mixture by hand with a spatula or sturdy spoon.
Spread casserole mixture into the prepared baking dish, then top with the hash browns. Cover with foil, leaving a vent for steam to escape. Bake on center rack of oven for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake uncovered 35 minutes, using convection bake setting at 425ºF if available, or until hash browns begin to turn brown and crisp.
Allow casserole to cool and set up – at least 20 minutes, then cut into squares and serve hot. 8 to 12 servings; reheats well if leftovers are kept refrigerated and tightly covered, up to 3 days. Good with salsa on the side.