Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vegan Challenge - Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole

You might say I am venturing into unfamiliar territory. You could say I am getting out of my comfort zone. It would be reasonable to say I am eating outside the box.

I am going Vegan.

Okay, okay, stop laughing. Allow me to clarify. I am taking on a vegan challenge with a group of friends at work for one week. This is a part of a program that our Wellness Committee at work is promoting over the summer. The challenge is coming up next week, but I am trying to test drive a recipe or two in advance so that I know if I can stomach it or not before I invest in all the expensive vegan ingredients.

Today’s experiment? Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole.

Inherently, this recipe poses a couple of issues for me. One being that I am not a big fan of sweet potatoes. Two being….ditto for bananas.Three? Well, carbs and starches tend to be my DOWNFALL in the weight loss routine, not my salvation, but hey. Its only a week, right? Also, this recipe seems to harken to more autumnal days instead of the 100 degree heat wave we’ve been enduring here, but I digress.

The pluses? I need SUBSTANCE for breakfast. If I can’t have meat, then I need something that’s going to stick to my ribs. Oatmeal seems to be a reasonable solution. After some investigation on the good ol’ internet, I turned up this little gem of a recipe at Oh She Glows and decided to give it a whirl. I have included my notes in the recipe below, but head on over to the site for the original recipe.

If you saw my Facebook post last night, you know that I definitely had my reservations as I was putting this together. Let’s just say that the unbaked mixture is…..visually unappealing. It is a very easy recipe to throw together and the ingredients are mostly basic. I didn’t have chia seeds, and they are not an ingredient that is even remotely available in my area. Heading back to the web, I found that flax seeds are a good substitute and I happen to have a jar of flax seed meal in the pantry, so I subbed that out for the chia seeds. Other than that, no problem at all!

All of that being said, fresh out of the oven, this is a pretty tasty little dish! I doubled the original recipe to make a 9x13 pan so I would have plenty to share at work today, and I am pleased to say it has met with rave reviews! It is definitely something I would be more inclined to eat in the winter, with its cinnamon, nutmeg, oats and sweet potatoes, but it definitely has the “stick-to-your-rib-ability” I was looking for, and it makes a large enough quantity that I can eat breakfast from the pan all week long!

So, for my first dish in the lineup, not bad at all! Next up – Veggie Burgers! Stay tuned!

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole

Oatmeal Ingredients

·         1/2 cup rolled oats

·         2 cups soy milk

·         1 small sweet potato, peeled, chopped (made 2 cups raw or 1.5 cups cooked)

·         1 ripe large banana

·         1 tbsp chia seeds (if you omit, you may have to reduce the milk. I used flax seed meal instead of chia seeds)

·         1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract

·         1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/8th tsp nutmeg + 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

·         2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Crunchy Pecan Topping

·         1/3 cup chopped pecans

·         2 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter)

·         2 tbsp flour (I used spelt flour)

·         1/4 cup brown sugar (I used Sucanat)


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in the peeled and chopped sweet potato. Cook over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Give the pot a quick rinse and then add in the oats, milk, and chia seeds. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. With a potato masher, mash in the cooked sweet potato and the banana into the pot. I left some chunks for texture. Now stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla and salt to taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Cook on low for another few minutes.

4. Make the crunchy pecan topping by mixing together the pecans, flour, Earth Balance (or butter), and brown sugar with a fork. until very clumpy. Pour the oatmeal into a baker dish (I used a 4 cup/8 inch casserole dish) and spread out evenly. Now sprinkle on the pecan topping.

5. Transfer the oats to an 8x8 casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, at 350F. After 20 minutes, set oven to BROIL and broil on low for a couple minutes, watching very closely so you do not burn the topping. Remove from oven and serve. Makes 3-4 servings.

Nutritional Info (based on 4 servings with soy milk, without topping): 217kcal, 4 grams fat, 7 grams protein, 6 grams fibre.


Jeanne said...

Very cool!! I have big respect for anyone who can be vegan - even for a week!
I love sweet potato, so this sounds pretty good to me!!!
Good luck with the challenge!

Bev said...

A bacon lover turned vegan? Even for just a week that sounds like quite a challenge!