I don't often share cookbook reviews here (very rarely, in fact), but I'm making an exception today and sharing this vegetarian sausage casserole recipe from the new cookbook Hungry Healthy Happy. The reason is that it was written by one of my favourite bloggy friends, Dannii Martin from the blog of the same name. I'm so excited for Dannii... and also excited that I get to delve into the recipes, and share one of them with you today.
Dannii's book is based around the same ideas as her blog; it's healthy food that doesn't make you feel like you're missing out on anything. She's all about balance, and making small dietary changes to improve your health. There are heaps of recipes in the book that tickle my fancy - homemade strawberry jam, breakfast burritos, courgette fritters, Mexican rice, spicy lentil tacos, lemon squares... to name but a few. Unlike a lot of 'health food' books, the recipes use easy-to-find, everyday ingredients - there's nothing that sounds totally alien.
This isn't a vegetarian cookbook, but there are plenty of yummy veggie recipes included (Dannii's never shied away from a lentil), and many more can be adapted to be vegetarian. For example, in the book this sausage casserole isn't specifically vegetarian, but it was very easy to swap in my favourite vegetarian sausages. The end result is a rich, tomatoey casserole that's packed with vegetables and lean protein. Comfort food made healthy!
The sausage casserole is really easy to make. The sausages are cooked in the oven, which means you can focus on making the sauce, helping to speed things along. The tomatoey sauce is built on a base of celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms, onion, garlic... You're getting towards your five a day without needing to go anywhere near a lettuce.
Then you just add a tin of tomatoes and the cooked sausages, and leave everything to cook down into a thick, rich sauce. It's seriously tasty, especially served alongside some creamy skin-on mashed potato. Comfort food at its finest.
Vegetarian sausage casserole
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- 4 vegetarian sausages (or 6 if they’re on the small side)
- ½ tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 medium mushrooms, sliced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes (~ 1 ½ cups)
- 200 ml vegetable stock (~ ⅔ cup)
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- Cook the sausages according to the instructions on the packet - probably something like 20 minutes in an oven set to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery and carrots. Cook over a medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, and mix well. Simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausages are ready. Add the cooked sausages to the sauce, and cook for another few minutes, or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.
Recipe barely adapted from Hungry Healthy Happy by Dannii Martin, photography by Jacqui Melville. Published by Jacqui Small (£20). Shared with permission.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.