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Posted on October 31, 2018
Whether you call this signature dish a casserole, hotdish, delight or supreme, it’s been a part of our social fabric for decades. But beyond looking for the best plant-based casserole recipes, have you ever wondered about the history behind this crowd-pleasing classic? You may be surprised to learn it’s a reflection of the technology surrounding food.
The name casserole comes from the ceramic dish in which it’s cooked, and the idea really began to take off in the late 19th century as improvements in pottery caught on and as ovens began to be more common in American households. Casseroles were convenient and filling as well as cost and energy efficient, which was very important during tough time like the Great Depression and World Wars. Steve Gdula author of The Warmest Room in the House expands on this point by explaining,
“The saving of fuel during wartime was just as important as the saving of food, and both noble efforts were combined in casserole cooking. There were few ways to cook that were more economical that tossing vegetables and meats into a pot with some broth and allowing them to stew for hours over low heat. In fact, the casserole was really nothing more than an update of that old standby, the one-pot meal, which had been present in the America Kitchen for centuries.”
The casserole also took advantage of new technologies like canned soup and vegetables, which grew in importance as convenient pantry items with more women entering the work force in the 1950’s. It was an easy meal to make the night before for a hot, filling family meal at dinnertime.
And while it may not be a traditionally plant-based dish, there are many delicious plant-based casserole recipes that are just as wholesome, filling, convenient and easy as the cherished childhood meals so many people grew up with. Best of all we’ve got some tasty recipes for you to try!
We love this No Tuna Chickpea Casserole from Plant Based Jane. It’s comforting, easy to make and can be cooked all in one pot! It’s also deliciously cheezy and a source of plant-based protein!
A plant-based take on an ancient dish, this Vegan Goulash Casserole from All She Does is Eat makes a great make-ahead dinner. Make it for your meal prep, and enjoy a comfort food classic that will fill you up all week long.
Kirstieisvegan created this fun twist on your traditional lasagna that’s loaded with Tex-Mex flavors. It’s an easy weeknight meal everyone in your family will enjoy.
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