Tater tot hot-dish.
(For those of you not in the know, tater tot hot-dish is traditionally a layer of cooked ground beef pressed into the bottom of a baking dish, covered with 1-2 cans of a vegetable (I remember peas being used, but you can do green beans, corn, mixed vegetables), 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup spread on top, and then tater tots lined up in neat little rows on top of that.)
A few problems however, 1) Traditional tater tot hot-dish is far, far from being vegan. 2) I have never found canned Cream of Mushroom soup in Mauritius, and if I did it wouldn't be vegan. 3) I've not found proper vegan tater tots either. What is a girl to do?
Inspired by Vegan with a Vengeance's White bean and Tempeh sausage gravy recipe, and armed with a bottle of mushroom flavored soy sauce I set up shop in the kitchen. I usually buy my beans dry and boil them myself, but you can use canned beans also. I also added a pinch of chili powder, but that's because I put chili powder in almost everything, including cookies. That's optional, feel free to liberate yourself from bland, boring dishes and mix it up and customize the dish to what your satiates your palate!
For the "meat" I used "Pure Veg Meat by Govinda's Gifts" this is a Mauritian brand of seitan which is mildly flavored. You can use any seitan of your choice, or whatever style of fake meat you like. I used 250g of seitan, or a little over a cup. My pan was equivalent to a 9x9 square.
You will need:
- 2 cups cooked white beans
- 1-2 small onions
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 T olive oil
- Mushroom flavored soy sauce
- oil for cooking
- salt/pepper to taste
- paprika (optional)
- chili powder (optional)
- 1-1.5 cups seitan or faux meat of your choice
- 1.5-2 cups mixed vegetables (I used a frozen mix of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli)
- Small bag of tater tots (I used Casino brand Pomme Noisettes which are amazing spheres of mashed potato joy)
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF or 180ºC. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Chop the onions and garlic very fine, or process in a blender/food processor and fry in a large pan until golden. Blend the beans with the water and 2 T oil until smooth. You don't want there to be any chunks or bits of bean skin. Set aside.
Brown the seitan in the pan with the onions and garlic. Stir in the mixed vegetables and cook on medium-high heat stirring and adding dashes of water if needed. When the vegetables have defrosted and are starting to soften stir in the beans, adding more water if needed. Continue cooking on medium-high for a minute or two, just to mix the beans with the seitan and vegetables.
Turn the heat down to low or medium-low and add the soy sauce, pepper, paprika, chili powder, etc. checking and adjusting for taste. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Scoop the mixture in the prepared pan, leaving some space at the top for the tots.
Top with tots, I went with the circle pattern because of my pan. (I wish I had a square pan because I prefer everything to be lined up all neat and OCD like.)
I was so pleasantly surprised with this dish. I resisted temptation to make this not vegan and stir in a packet of cream of mushroom soup mix, so I was quite proud as I am still struggling to 100% convert to veganism. The taste was perfect, exactly what I wanted! I no longer have to feel sad and empty when thinking of tater tot hot-dish. Total win.