This easy, cheesy vegan dinner bake makes a delicious dinner for anyone but it's a particularly good one to have in your back pocket if you have kids around.
It's cheesy with nutritional yeast and it's got vegan sausage so it's a tastebud pleaser beyond a doubt. But it also has lots of veggies packed away inside all that deliciousness, so you know you are feeding them something that's both tasty and good for them.
This is the kind of meal I put together in a hurry for Jay, when I have just about 15 minutes to get something together for dinner after wrapping up work and walking Lily and Leo in the evening. Almost everything here comes out of a packet (except the potatoes, although you can just buy mashed potatoes and add them to this dish).
With schools about to reopen (where did the time go?) this is also a great lunchbox option. It packs beautifully and is delicious warm or cold.
Why you'll love this easy, cheesy vegan dinner bake
- It's easy and it's cheesy. 🙂 Two things anyone would have trouble saying no to.
- It's healthy. The vegan sausage has lots of protein, but if you don't want to use it, use this lentil filling from my vegan Irish shepherd's pie recipe. It will take a bit longer, but it's also super tasty.
- It's kid friendly. With all those cheesy potatoes and the sausage, no kid will be able to resist. While I get that some of us don't love vegan meats because they are processed, it is important to give a little when you cook for kids. Jay loves vegan sausage and vegan hot dogs and vegan pepperoni, and letting him eat these foods occasionally keeps him happy and helps keep him off the really bad stuff--processed meat--which he sees kids consuming at school all the time.
- It's cook friendly. You just need 15 minutes of hands-on time to get this casserole together. After that it's the oven that does the heavy lifting.
- Potatoes. Any kind you have on hand, including yellow, red or russet potatoes.
- Vegan sausage or meatless "beef". Again, anything you have in your refrigerator will work for this. Just keep in mind if you use vegan sausage that you need to crumble it first into little bits, which you can do by hand or in the food processor.
- Vegetables. 16 ounces of any veggie you love or have on hand. From zucchini to bell peppers to mushrooms to spinach to just a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Frozen veggies work just as well as fresh here and will cut down prep time considerably.
- Garlic powder
- Onion flakes or powder
- Vegetable stock (optional), or use a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon seasoning.
- Thyme. Use dry to reduce prep time but it is summer so if you have fresh thyme on hand just use that instead. Use a teaspoon of dry or a tablespoon of fresh thyme.
- Paprika. This is optional, but use it for a nice color to your dish.
- Tamari (optional, leave out especially if soy-free)
- Ground black pepper
How to make this vegan dinner bake
Easy, Cheezy Vegan Dinner Bake
- Cast Iron Skillet or Nonstick Skillet
For the potatoes
- 4 medium potatoes (any kind is fine, from russets to yellows to reds.)
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the veggie filling
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (if you want to make this free of added oils, use a tablespoon of vegetable stock)
- 14 oz vegan sausage (or vegan meat, crumbled)
- 16 oz mixed vegetables (any kind is fine, frozen works great. I chopped up some zucchini and bell peppers this time because I had them around, but you can also use mushrooms, spinach, other squash, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peas and carrots)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion flakes (or onion powder)
- 1 teaspoon thyme (use a tablespoon if using fresh thyme)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- 1 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce, optional)
- ¾ cup vegetable stock (or sub with ¾ cup water and a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chives (optional, for garnish)
- Boil and mash the potatoes (I leave the skins on when organic). Stir in the nutritional yeast, lemon, salt and pepper and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a cast iron or nonstick skillet heat the oil. Add the vegan sausage and cook a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the veggies and mix. Add garlic powder, onion flakes, thyme, and the paprika and tamari, if using. Mix well.
- Let the veggies cook for a few minutes, stir a few times in between, until they are tender but not mushy. Add the vegetable stock and mix well.
- Layer the potatoes over the top of the veggie-meat filling, then, using a spatula or spoon, mix them in.
- Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Garnish, if you like, with chopped chives. Serve hot, warm or cold.
- You can use more or less potatoes based on your preference. Potatoes are healthy, and extremely so in this dish, and they are usually kid-friendly. Stir the mashed potatoes into the veggie filling instead of just layering it on top, as you would in a shepherd's pie, to mix all the flavors together for more deliciousness.
- Make sure you buy vegan sausages or meat marked gluten-free and/or soy-free if you are sensitive to these. There are many brands now available that are free of gluten, soy and nuts.