Baked Brussels

(posted by Emily)

After my post about the amazing Brussels sprouts at Gracias Madre, I was inspired to create my own version of a cashew cheese bake. It was a fairly simple dinner, with just a few elements put together. It did take a little planning, because of a few ingredients that needed some time to prep.

I started by caramelizing some onions in my little dipper Crock Pot--it was the perfect size for one large onion. My friend Janet taught me about using the slow cooker to caramelize onions--it's a lot easier than on the stove, because the onions won't burn and you can set it and leave it! I drizzle the onions with a bit of olive oil and a splash of red wine. Because the little dipper isn't adjustable, I ended up letting the onions cook down for 24 hours.

I also set aside about 2 cups of cashews to soak before I left for work in the morning. That way, they'd be nice and soft when it was time to make the cheese. 

When I got home from work, I prepped the Brussels sprouts (about 3/4 lb) by cutting off the woody end and quartering them. I tossed them in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for about 15-20 minutes at 450*.

While the sprouts were roasting, I put together the cashew cheese (and somehow missed taking a picture of that step!). In the blender, I combined the cashews, a tbs of tahini, 3 tbs of nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup rejuvelac, 1 tsp salt, 4 cloves roasted garlic (you could add 2 cloves regular) and the juice from half of a lemon. I blended until smooth, and then set the cheese aside. 

In a 1.5 quart casserole dish, I combined the caramelized onions, roasted Brussels sprouts, and 4 cloves of chopped garlic and stirred until well mixed. 

I added about half of the cashew cheese to the veggie mixture and stirred to combine. Once everything was evenly distributed, I added the remaining cheese on top of the cheese/veggie filling and spread until covered.

The casserole went into the oven at 375* for 20 minutes, covered with a glass lid. I uncovered the dish for the last 10 minutes, but probably won't do that next time. Because it was uncovered, the cheese on the top was less creamy and more like the texture of mashed potatoes. This could also probably be solved by adding some water to the cheese mixture, too. 

Even though we would include some changes when making this dish again, it was still delicious. We finish 5/6s of the dish in one sitting! It's creamy and simple, but the savory flavors compliment each other well.  

I don't make casseroles all that often, but you can bet we'll be having this one again soon!


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