This post was inspired by Ashley of NYCrochet on Etsy. She has a boutique where she recently posted an adorable Vintage Lace Pyrex Medallion Casserole dish, which reminded me that I also own one of the brown and yellow persuasion. In that moment I decided I was going to make a casserole. I had no idea how to make a casserole, but I was itching to use my new- -to-me dish. I tweeted that I didn’t know how to make one and Rudy told me you simply, “layer delicious shit, cover w/ foil, cook for 45 minutes @ a high temp. Done. Delicious.” With those wise words, I set out to make my casserole.
Don’t you know I searched for 20 minutes for that damn casserole dish? I nearly used all of my curse words for the day in the search. I never found it. Luckily, according to the box my pots and pans came in that is doubling as a nightstand in my bedroom, my pots are oven safe to 550 degrees. (Don’t make fun of me. I’m broketastic. You want me to have bedroom furniture? Send money.) ANYWAY, the result was delicious. It’s so good, in fact, that the leftovers I squirreled away for my mom are defrosting in preparation to be devoured. Sorry, ma. I’ll make you some more.
About Mung Beans – Sadly, they are hard to find. I found mine at Selene Food Co-operative in Media, PA. They are also available at Whole Foods and Wegmans, I assume. You can also buy them in bulk on Amazon. If there is another source for them, please let me know so I can update this post.
Mung beans are high in fiber and low in fat. According to Dr. Gillan McKeith’s book You Are What You Eat, mung beans are a high energy food and they “help lower high blood pressure, treat gastrointestinal ulcers and urinary problems, and … cleanse the blood by introducing more oxygen (68).” They have also been known to cleanse the liver and are great for detoxing. She turned me on to them. I eat them because they are delicious and super filling.
You can substitute mung beans for another dried beans if you’d like. Either way your beans are going to need to be soaked. Soak them in a container where you can put a lid on them and mimic drowning. Here is a before and after shot. I soaked these chompies for two days because I wanted them to be tender. That and the fact that I went to visit JCB and I didn’t deal with them until I got home. The result: they cooked faster, digested easier and they melted like buttah in my mouth.
Mung Bean Casserole – Serves 4-6 people
1 cup of mung beans soaked overnight
2 cups of Tinkyada brown rice elbow pasta
1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add sea salt to the water. When the water boils, toss in the beans. Bring back to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. They’re done when they start to fall out of their little green shells. Remove from heat and drain using a fine mesh sieve.
WHILE you are cooking the beans, also bring a medium pot of sea salted water to boil. Per the instructions, you dump the pasta in boiling water, allow it to boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and cover for 20 minutes. For this recipe, you want the pasta al dente, so reduce soaking time to 10 minutes. When you test them they should be firm and on their way to mushy.
The “Cheese” Sauce
I made this vegan “cheese” sauce from a recipe I found online. I omitted the garlic salt and ended up adding a 1/4 more water toward the end. This sauce is AMAZING. I was literally licking the spoon (okay, and the pot) when I was finished putting it all together.
The Bread Crumbs
I don’t buy bread crumbs because all the gluten-free versions of them suck. What I did have, however, was a couple of slices of brown rice bread. I used the butt parts (the ends that no one eats) and I stuck them in the food processor. Viola! No waste bread crumbs!
At this point, you are ready to assemble this casserole. Using a large casserole dish or an oven safe pot, place the al dente pasta on the bottom then layer the mung beans over the pasta. Last, and hopefully you haven’t eaten all the sauce by now, pour the sauce over the whole thing and stir. Be sure to mix it well. Top with bread crumbs, cover with foil or the pot’s lid and stick in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. The result is a beautiful, “cheesy,” hearty casserole that will feed a small army.
McKeith, Dr. Gillian. You Are What You Eat. New York: Penguin, 2005. Print.