Potato and Onion Lasagna (aka, "Pierogi Casserole")

March 25th, 2010 8:22 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Being a lover of all things pasta-related, I totally ♥ pierogies. (Or ‘rogies, as I call ’em, cuz we are all BFF like that.) I’d eat them damn near every day if I had access to an endless supply, I tell you what. Unfortunately, I’m both too lazy to make them from scratch, and too vegan to purchase most prepackaged varieties off the shelf. If it’s not the animal “meat,” it’s the dairy cheese; if it’s not the dairy cheese, it’s the chicken eggs. Sigh.

Thus far, I’ve only been able to find one “accidentally vegan” pierogi in-store: Mrs. T’s Potato & Onion Pierogies. But not the “baker’s dozen” size; heaven’s no, that would be too convenient! Nope, those Mrs. T’s Potato & Onion Pierogies contain eggs. I’m talking about the food service size, silly! Which is only sold to consumers in a few store chains, including the east-coast based Wegmans, where once upon a time I not only lived, but worked. (I know, I know.) Now that I’m located more than 1,000 miles away, I have to rely on that old standby – you know, dear ole ma – for my ‘rogie fix.

And so it was that, near the end of winter, I found myself nagging my mother to send me a few bags of pierogies before the weather warmed up. The morning after one desperate, pleading phone call home (what do you expect? my freezer was completely devoid of pierogies!), I found a recipe for Pierogi Casserole in my inbox. While very NOMy-looking, I figured that this was my mother’s kind and gentle (and somewhat passive-aggressive?) way of telling me to make my own goddamn pierogies. Alas, I was mistaken, because she overnighted a box of 144 pierogies (not to mention some assorted Liz Lovely cookies which can only be described as delectable) by week’s end (and well before reading my own niggling reply to the recipe; hello, technophobia!). Cynical and jaded, who me?

Anyhow, I digress. I decided to give the recipe a spin, Mrs. T’s or no, and holy dog am I glad I did! It took, like, forever to make (major planning FAIL on my part), but this is one seriously yummy dish. Naturally, I veganized the original and projected my own tastes and preferences onto it; feel free to do the same! This is a rather basic white potatoes, onion and vegan cheddar formula, but you can mix it up with the addition of soy sausage or soy bacon bits, or use mashed sweet potatoes as a filling instead.

So many possibilities! So much NOM! And no cruelty required!

Potato and Onion Lasagna (aka, “Pierogi Casserole”)

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Ingredients

1-2 white onions
6 white potatoes
10 to 16 ounces vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
1 pound lasagna noodles
1 stick (i.e., 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) margarine + 2 tablespoons extra
water
plain soy milk (optional)
olive oil
salt (to taste)
white or whole wheat flour (as needed)
1 or 2 medium-sized glass baking pans (9×12)

Directions

1. In a large pot, bring 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium heat (2 for 1 onion, 4 for 2 onions).

2. Finely chop 1 to 2 white onions (depending on your taste) and add to the pot. Simmer on medium for ten minutes, or until the onions start to become tender.

3. Add 1/2 stick of margarine to the pot and continue to cook on medium, stirring every few minutes, until the onions have begun to turn a light brown/golden color. Remove from heat.

(Optional: Set some of the cooked onions aside to use as a garnish on the top layer of the lasagna.)

4. Peel, rinse and cut up six white potatoes. You can cube them into eighths, or cut them even smaller for faster cooking. Add to the onion/margarine mixture and cover with water or a water/soy milk mixture (roughly 8 to 12 cups). Toss in some salt to taste. Bring to a high heat and cook, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes have begun to soften. Remove the cover and continue to cook on medium heat until the potatoes have broken down and mixed with the liquid. Use a hand masher to facilitate the process if desired. Continue to stir the pot every few minutes throughout this step.

5. Optional: Towards the end of step #4, fold 10 to 16 ounces of shredded vegan cheddar cheese (i.e., Follow Your Heart, Teese or similar) into the mashed potato mixture. Cook on medium until the cheese has melted into the mashed potatoes. Continue to stir the potatoes.

Also optional: Alternately, you can add the cheese to the potatoes after mashing them (step #6) and before layering the potatoes with the lasagna noodles (step #9).

Which alternative you choose will depend on your favorite cheese’s optimal cooking temp – if the brand doesn’t consistently melt at 350 degrees (the lasagna’s baking temperature), you may want to melt it on the stove top instead.

The addition of vegan cheese will transform this “Potato and Onion Lasagna” into “Potato and Cheddar Lasagna.” NOM!

6. Remove the pot from heat and, if necessary, transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the rest of the of margarine (1/2 stick + 2 tablespoons). Using a hand mixer, blend until smooth and creamy. If the potatoes are too liquid-y, you may need to either add in some flour to thicken the mix and/or transfer the potatoes back to the pot and cook uncovered until some of the excess water has evaporated.

7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

8. Setting the pot/bowl of mashed potatoes aside, cook 1 pound of lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse the cooked noodles with cool water.

9. In a large glass baking pan (9×12 or larger), spread a thin layer of mashed potatoes (or, alternately, a little bit of melted margarine) in the bottom of the pan. Add a tablespoon or two of olive to this “base” if desired. Next, layer the noodles and margarine until none remain.

Note: The mashed potatoes “puff up” a little when baked, so you may want to split the potatoes and lasagna noodles between two medium-sized pans, making two “short stacks” instead of one thick lasagna casserole dish. This will also make the baked lasagna a little easier to cut and serve (and the leftovers, cut and store neatly in Tupperware). Plus, “real” pierogies consist of a layer of potatoes stuffed between two pieces of dough, so a shorter stack of one or two layers potato/lasagna layers stays a tad truer to its boiled namesake!

10. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

11. NOM. Preferably with Mom. Moms kick ass.

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6 Responses to “Potato and Onion Lasagna (aka, "Pierogi Casserole")”

  1. Abby Says:

    What a fantastic idea! I too am a fan of Mrs. T’s pierogies (I live on the east coast) and am too lazy to make my own. My Mom is pretty righteous as well & she does a mean Mrs. T’s Mexicana version that will knock your socks off!

  2. Mary Jo Says:

    I’ve made this twice and it’s SOOO satisfying and yummy. The really bad thing is I could finish this off in a day if I let myself. Must. Let. Family. Have. Some.

  3. Sara Says:

    I assumed Mrs. T’s pierogies all contained eggs… is it still true that the item above is “accidentally vegan”? I may email them because that would be waaaay too exciting!!

  4. Kelly Garbato Says:

    Hi Sara! The last I checked (about a year or two), the Mrs. T’s potato & onion pierogies were vegan – but only the food service size! If you live on the east coast, they’re available at Wegman’s. Unfortunately the smaller sizes all contain eggs.

  5. Debbie Says:

    Wow – I had no idea the Mrs. T’s smaller size had eggs! Thanks for the heads up! I actually live in the northeast and do get the industrial size at Wegman’s.

    I am having a guest from China visiting for the week, so feeding her while being a vegan household (yeah, we eat weird stuff!) is a bit of a challenge. I’m going to try this casserole and see how it goes over — thanks for the recipe!!

  6. Sarah Says:

    I like your idea of this recipe. I didn’t understand some of the steps, so we’re doingit our own way. thanks for the great idea!!!

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