This recipe is creamy, savory, and delicious. It works well as a main dish (plenty hearty!) or as a side dish. It’s fancy enough for the holidays, but doesn’t have to be a holiday dish. It’s gluten free, has no nutritional yeast, and loaded with fall-winter flavors (think thyme, nutmeg, and mushrooms).
While the instructions for this recipe use a high speed blender (i.e. – Vitamix, Ninja, etc), you do not need one to enjoy this recipe. Simply soak the raw cashews in water for 2-3 hours, and then, drain off the liquid before adding them to your blender. The cashews should completely pulverize. If you have a high speed blender, you do not need to soak the cashews.
For a variation, switch out the mushrooms and spinach for a bag of mixed frozen vegetables or green peas with mushrooms. As with all the recipes featured on this blog, make sure to taste the recipe, as you go along. You may want to add a little more soy sauce or a little more balsamic. You can never add less, but you can always add more, if it is needed 🙂
Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Wild Rice Casserole
3 ½ cups fake chicken broth (I recommend adding Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base to water and making your own broth)
2 cups wild rice blend (I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice)
2 Tbsp vegan butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil (+a little more for later, maybe another Tbsp)
½ tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (or if gluten free, use tamari)
2 cups raw cashews (see note above, if using a regular blender)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
3 ¼ cups water
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
8 ounce package of sliced mushrooms
8 ounce package of frozen spinach
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to top – optional
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish, and set it aside. In a medium saucepan, add broth, wild rice blend and vegan butter. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and then, turn down to low. Simmer for ~45 minutes. When the rice is cooked through, remove the lid, fluff it with a fork, and set aside.
2. While the wild rice blend is cooking, add the shallots, olive oil and thyme to a large skillet. Season with salt and black pepper, and then, sauté over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, and keep moving the shallots around for another 30 seconds. Add the contents of the skillet to a high speed blender, but reserve the large skillet and do not clean it.
3. In the same high speed blender, add the raw cashews, garlic powder, onion powder, and water. Blend until completely smooth. Once it is completely smooth, add the nutmeg on top, and set aside.
4. In the same large skillet that was used for the shallots, add the sliced mushrooms. If there isn’t enough oil remaining, add a bit more (maybe a Tbsp). Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they start to brown a bit, and have sweated out some of their liquid. Add the frozen spinach, and sauté another 4 minutes — moving everything around to help the spinach cook through and the liquid in the skillet to evaporate. Set aside.
5. When the wild rice has finished cooking, add it to a very large mixing bowl with the cashew cream, the mushroom-spinach mixture, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir together, and taste. Make any adjustments to the flavor (ie – more soy sauce, more balsamic vinegar, more salt, etc). Taste again. Spoon the contents of the mixing bowl into the greased 9 x 13 baking dish, spread evenly, and bake uncovered at 400º F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.