Vegan Cassoulet

VEGETARIAN CASSOULET

RECIPE BY MELISSA ROBERTS (source) 

SERVES 4 TO 6*

*adapted to feed two very hungry hippies

  • ACTIVE TIME: 30 MIN
  • START TO FINISH: 1 1/4 HR

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In case you are in the same boat as I was (and had never heard of a “cassoulet” until now) allow me to further introduce you.  It’s usually a meat based dish, but as per Gourmet, this vegan twist on the meal is good enough to have carnivores forgetting that a meat version even exists (see below quote). 

”A leek, carrot, and celery mirepoix, cooked until tender with rich white beans, gets a crisp, crunchy texture and delightfully rustic flavor from a garlicky bread-crumb topping flecked with parsley.”

Sounds good, no?  Yeah, I agree.  When Kyle’s mom suggested we give it a shot, I was game.  And so the recipe searching began…

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In the end, we ended up making both the vegan version and the traditional (meat filled) version of a cassoulet.  And as you can see, the internet was very much a part of this cooking session.

Here’s the recipe along with the modifications.  Enjoy!

FOR CASSOULET

  • 1 1/2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (I used minced garlic)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs (I used dried not fresh)
  • 2 parsley sprigs (I used dried not fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cans cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cups water (I used 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable broth)
FOR GARLIC CRUMBS
  • 1/2 loaf fresh sourdough baguette (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/6 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic (I used minced garlic)
  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley
MAKE CASSOULET:
  • Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well and pat dry.

  • Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herbs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden (~15 minutes).

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  • Then, stir in beans and water, and let simmer while partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart (~30 minutes).

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[The aroma at this point will be intoxicating]

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MAKE GARLIC CRUMBS WHILE CASSOULET SIMMERS:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with middle rack.

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  • Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated.

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  • Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden (~12 to 15 minutes).

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  • Cool crumbs in pan.

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[And try not to eat them all while they cool]

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FINISH CASSOULET:
  • Once done simmering, discard bay leaf (we actually leave it in and the person who gets it in their serving receives good luck). 

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[Liquid should be reduced a bit]

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  • Mash some of the beans in the pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth (the squashed beans make the liquid thicker and less soup-like). 

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  • Season with salt and pepper and then add bread crumbs to the top (pressing them down to absorb excess liquid).

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  • After adding crumbs, place the cassoulet in the oven for 15 minutes (at 350°F). 

Ready for the final photos?

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Voila!

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I didn’t take any pics of the other (non-vegan) version, but I’m fairly confident this one was the favorite of the evening.

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We had (more) sourdough bread on the side, along with fresh fruit. 

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And now, the pièce de résistance…

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Vegan Cassoulet!  Isn’t she a beaut?!?

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I dug right in. :)

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T’was love at first bite.  Seriously.  I’m not one to throw the “L” bomb around, so this was one winner of a recipe.  It was pretty heavy for a summer dinner (I usually crave lighter fare in the warm months), but I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome it was.  I really enjoyed the flavors of the herbs, but I especially liked the combo of the beans with the veggies.  Why don’t I use leeks more?  Also, carrots and celery are so dang tasty.  Kyle compared it to a white bean stew, and have to I agree a bit.  Remember this soup?

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Well, given my rave review, second helpings were obviously in order.  And my eyes were WAY bigger than my stomach because after round dos my jeans were feeling a bit tight.  Oof.  It’s an uncomfortable price you have to pay for deliciousness lack of self-control. 

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Comments (10)

  1. KAY

    HELLO! I HAVE BEEN CYBER “STALKING” YOUR BLOG FOR AWHILE LOL THOUGHT I WOULD WRITE TO SAY HI! LOVE YOUR BLOG!
    FOUND THIS ON THE INTERNET TODAY, THOUGHT YOU MAY FIND IT INTERESTING:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Fermented-tea-kombucha-apf-340175706.html?x=0

    HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!

  2. Anna

    How delicious does that look!?!?! I shall be attempting this soon. Thanks for the recipe :)

  3. Courtney

    MMMMMMMM…I love cassoulet! Now if the temps and humidity would go down and I had AC in my apt I could maybe make some for myself :-) Hurry up and get here, fall, so that I can cook again!

    Courtney

  4. nourishingnoshes

    Looks delicious! I’ve never heard of a cassoulet but your pictures have definitely won me over!

  5. BroccoliHut

    Ooh! That cassoulet looks pretty awesome.
    Love the pic of your side-by-side laptops:)

  6. Run Sarah

    This looks freaking amazing – bookmarking it for next time I have the rents/in laws over.

  7. Penny

    This was amazing. I made it the other day on a rainy night for dinner and it was a hit. I did add an extra ingredient though – chickpeas! I added Tasty Bite’s Chunky Chickpeas, which are preseasoned and added a nice flavor and texture to the cassoulet. It was a really delicious addition and I recommend trying this, as well as checking out the rest of Tasty Bite’s products, a lot of which are vegan. Thanks for the wonderful recipe and bon appetit!

  8. elise

    How smart are you!! The addition of chickpeas sounds amazing – thanks for the idea, I’ll definitely give it a shot next time. Glad you enjoyed the recipe :)

  9. susan

    Hi there! Do you think this can be made ahead and frozen right before the oven baking part? I don’t know how toasted bread freezes…do you?

  10. Elise (Post author)

    hmmm…maybe since the bread is toasted it wouldn’t get as soggy, but i do think freezing it first would change the way the bread toasts and gets crispy on top. i dont think it would taste bad though. just a different texture.

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