A one-pot vegan Tater Tot Casserole with a creamy, savory filling of veggies and vegan sausage covered by a golden, crispy layer of tater tots. A fun and easy recipe that’s also gluten-free and soy-free.
This vegan Tater Tot Casserole is guaranteed to thrill the child inside you but it’ll appeal just as much to the adult you are.
Let’s deal with the kid inside you first. This dish is basically a thick, delicious pool of creamy, savory veggies and bits of vegan sausage, topped by a crunchy, golden layer of tater tots. It just makes you want to pick up a fork and start stuffing your face until eternity. And if you actually have one of those little monsters around, you’ll find that it’s never been so easy to stuff that picky little tummy with this many veggies while getting told, “You’re the best cook in the whole world, mom (or dad)!”
All that praise for a recipe with mushrooms? Genius.
And now for the adult. You know this is a one-pot dish because you read that right up there in the header, so you’re already going, easy cleanup! But there’s more. It’s a pretty easy dish to put together too. Almost all the ingredients come from the freezer so there’s minimal prep. The tiny amount of chopping and cooking that’s required takes no more than 15-20 minutes, tops. After that it’s the oven that does all the work for you while you relax and get a manicure. Or a pedicure.
Or, if you’re not overly obsessed with the state of your digits, a nap.
You could read a book too. Or watch TV.
Point is, this is a breeze: easy prep, easy cooking, easy cleanup.
If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can certainly use any other oven-safe skillet, or make the creamy filling in a skillet, pour it into a baking dish, and then top with tater tots before baking.
Tater tot casseroles enjoy a high degree of popularity in the upper Midwest, and especially in Minnesota, where a tater tot casserole recipe, known as hotdish, is something of a food staple. The story goes that the frugality of hotdish, and the fact that it combined starch, vegetable, and protein, secured its place as a popular family recipe during the Great Depression. I can totally see why. There are no exotic, expensive ingredients here, and although one couldn’t — and probably shouldn’t — argue that tater tots are healthy, the recipe in totality is pretty nutritious with just 227 calories per serving and more than 10 grams of protein from the cashews and vegan sausage.
And here’s the best part for the cook, which I saved for the last, or probably not because you’ve already seen the photos. This is one gorgeous dish, and everyone will be rather impressed when you carry it to the dinner table and put it down. Be sure to do it with a tiny flourish. And no, you won’t get pronounced a genius by the James Beard Foundation, but you will certainly see lots of happy faces and hear many satisfied burps, and in the end isn’t that even better?
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1 tsp vegetable oil like olive
- 6 Vegan sausage patties, crumbled or chopped Either Gardein or Morningstar is fine. Morningstar makes vegan sausage and grain patties -- be sure to use that, and not the one in the green package that contains egg whites.
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (crimini or button or portobello are all fine)
- 16 oz frozen veggies. I used a mix of green beans, wax beans and carrots. You can choose your own, including corn, green peas, and green peppers.
- 1 tsp dry sage or thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsweetened cashew or almond milk
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups (approx) tater tots to top your skillet
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Add the garlic and onions, season with salt and ground black pepper, and cook over medium heat until soft but not brown.
Add the sausage and stir for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown.
Add the mushrooms and stir well. Saute for a few minutes until the mushrooms start to soften, then add the sage or thyme and the flour and mix well. Cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes.
Add the frozen veggies, mix, and then add the nondairy milk. Stir frequently until the mixture just comes to a boil. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Turn off the heat.
Arrange the frozen tater tots on top of the veggies. You can make a simple but appealing design, like I did, by arranging the tots in concentric circles.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake 55 minutes or until the tater tots are golden-brown.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.