The world is big and wonderful place. It is full of so many possibilities – some a little weirder than others – this is true of mock fish as well.
After years and years of food scientists all over the world slaving away over hot plates in laboratories and spaceship kitchens, vegans now have numerous mock and faux fish choices* and many of them don’t even come close to resembling fish. Keeping this in mind, Dan and I invited several brave friends over to sample Betty’s Tuna Casserole made with Fish Ham – a surprisingly delicious faux fish from May Wah. Our good buddy, Kim (IDA’s Vegan All-Star for March) brought over vegan Caesar Salad. She made it using the Post Punk Kitchen Recipe and it was perhaps the fastest Caesar Salad this side of the Mississippi. We drank a few bottles white wine – since we were kinda eating seafood and talked for hours about Dune, casted super hero movies if qualifications, the space-time continuum and salary were no object and other such nerdery. Scott was allowed to leave with our beloved Red Son after signing over his soul. We told a few anecdotes from our younger years. I admitted that for several years, I had thought Dr.Pepper was only available at Mexican restaurants and we all had a good laugh . . . but seriously though – nothing goes better with Mexican food than Dr. Pepper.
We ate maybe WAY more than we should have. . . even Marta (cookbook author and adamant faux seafood dissenter) ate a big plate of it and LIKED IT! There a few things I might have done differently and I’ll note those below but all and all this was a really good casserole that you could make with almost any kinda of mock meat or marinated tofu and feed a lot of people!
We really hope you like it too. We also encourage anyone who reads this to have their own Fake Tuna Casserole Party! We think they are the new wine tasting.
Vegan Tuna Casserole
1 1/2 cups Elbow Macaroni
3 Tablespoons Margarine
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour
4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
Dash of Liquid Smoke
2 teaspoons Poultry Seasoning or Seasoning Salt (Most Poultry Seasoning is vegan – but some isn’t so please read your label)
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Pinch of Celery Seed
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
2 cups Soy Milk
1 Package Shredded Daiya Cheddar Cheese
2 cups Peas and Carrots
1 1/2 cups Fake Fish (We went with May Wah’s Fish Ham but there are a lot to choose from – if you can’t get any – Baked Firm Tofu in a seaweed/vegan Worcester sauce marinade would also be a good substitute)
Vegan Worcester Sauce to taste (We didn’t add this – BUT – if you were looking for a more “fishy” flavor in your casserole – I would add a few small dashes till it ALMOST reached desired fishy-ness. You have to keep in mind that baking, Fake Fish and Macaroni will soak up some of the moisture making the seasoning stronger)
French Fried Onions for a topping ( Betty recommends crushed Potato Chips or Bread Crumbs but the Onions were perfect and I recommend using them)
Heat oven to 350.
Cook and drain Macaroni as directed on the package.
In a a 11/2 quart sauce pan, melt Margarine over a low heat. Whisk in Flour and Braggs till smooth. Then Whisk in Soy Milk till it is smooth. Heat to a boil and whisk in Nutritional Yeast, Liquid Smoke, Poultry Seasoning, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Lemon Pepper.
Add Peas and Carrots. Stir in Shredded Daiya Cheddar Cheese. Keep stirring slowly. You want the cheese to melt and not stick to the side. You also want to make sure the cheese doesn’t clump . . . you want a thick cheesy sauce. Once you have a thick cheesy sauce, add the cooked Macaroni and stir till the pasta is covered completely and evenly.
Cut Fake Fish into chunks that are the desired size. . . large or small – kinda up to you.
Put a thin layer of Pasta, Veggies and Cheese mix in an ungreased 2 Quart casserole dish. Then put a layer of Fake Fish. Alternate Pasta mix and Fake Fish till you fill the dish. You want the Pasta mix on top so keep that mind when making your layers.
Put in the oven and bake for around 5 minutes.
Completely cover the top with French Fried Onions. Bake uncovered for about 5-10 minutes. Pull it out when the Onions are more golden and browner.
Eat, Drink and be Nerdy!
*Just a friendly reminder to please remember to always read labels. . . products change their ingredients all the time without telling anyone and although something is marketed as a “vegetarian” option- it may have eggs or dairy in it.