What’s better than crispy and golden mini rösti potatoes? Rösti casserole! Hidden beneath the layer of crispy rösti potates is a tomatoey plant-based mince and loads of garlicky mushrooms. And cheese. Because, cheese. But it might as well be something else, depending on what I’m in the mood for!
Frozen mini rösti potatoes are the main character here, everything else is a supporting role! If I’m being extra lazy, I’ll throw in what ever there is in the freezer, and just open a few jars and packages of store bought things from the pantry. Sometimes a recipe with lots of shortcuts is just what’s needed ♥
Mini rösti potatoes … and other frozen gems
If I were a super human, I’d obviously make my own rösti potatoes. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes I am that person! But rarely on an average Monday. Why bother, when the frozen aisle has perfectly good pre-made rösti potatoes I can buy?
I am all in for making everything from scratch. I love cooking and I often go to unnecessary lengths to do every possible step myself. But lately that kind of cooking has been a luxury I really can’t afford. It’s been all about quick and easy recipes, which hopefully feed me and my husband for several days in a row. And that’s when I turn to recipes, which come together with the twist of a lid and the opening of a bag – kind of like this kimchi & gnocchi casserole from last year!
My pantry is packed with easy to use ingredients like canned beans and tomato products. I always have oat cream and some kind of plant-based protein in the fridge! And, my freezer is stacked with frozen veggies! Green beans, kale, okra, spinach and corn are my favorites, but I also freeze tofu … and cheese! (Yeah it’s not a veg but it’s super handy to have around, I highly recommend!) You can add frozen grated cheese into dishes directly from the freezer and cheese obviously stores much longer frozen than in the fridge. And lately, I’ve also had frozen rösti potatoes in the fridge!
wannabe Tater tot casserole
I discovered the mini rösti potatoes last year for a specific reason. I really wanted to make a variation on the American home cooking classic, Tater tot casserole! It’s one of those dishes I’ve never eaten, but have somehow been strangely fascinated with. It’s likely to do with the layer of crispy potatoes on top – or “tater tots” – cylinder shaped shredded potato pucks! I LOVE crispy potatotes! Tater tots actually sound to me a lot like rösti potatoes, or latke, just a different shape. But it’s hard to tell, since they are not available here in Finland. But hey, mini rösti potatoes are!
My research tells me that apart from the namesake potato product, a typical Tater tots casserole has canned cream of mushroom soup in it. And cheese, and meat, and sometimes canned green beans too. Since I’m not really a fan of canned mushrooms, I immediately swapped the cream of mushroom to lots of pan seared fresh button mushrooms instead. The cream is added in separately! I’m not a vegetarian, but I prefer to eat as little animal based products as possible. So, I’ve swapped the animal-based cream to oat cream, and the minced meat to a vegan mince. Most of the times I still use animal-based cheese, but I do sometimes go for the vegan alternative; my favorite is a cheddar style vegan cheese from Violife!
I’ve typically kept the protein layer rather dense, with just a small tetra of tomato passata mixed in. I haven’t wanted the result to be super saucy and tomatoey, but more “meaty” instead. I suppose that’s how I imagine Tater tot casserole to be like too, but really I have no idea… 😀 If the protein I’ve used has come in a really small package size (some packeges are just so much smaller than others!), I’ve added in canned white beans to bulk up the dish. If I’m using green beans I do prefer the frozen ones!
After so many changes, I’m not sure how well my mini rösti casserole compares to a Tater tot casserole anymore. But the layer of crispy golden potatoes is still there, and in the middle of a busy week it’s all that matters to me!
Mini rösti casserole
In case you skipped to the recipe, here’s a recap: the whole point of this casserole is to use what you got. Essentially, you just cover up a layer of some sort of protein and veg with rösti potatoes and shove the thing in the oven! Whatever is underneath is going to taste wonderful, since it’s snuggled in nicely beneath a layer of crispy and golden mini rösti potatoes. My go to include a plant-based mince with some tomato passata, lots of pan seared mushrooms, some oat cream, and cheese. But feel free to experiment with the recipe, and find out what you enjoy the best!
Mini rösti casserole
- 300 g plant-based mince
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion (medium size)
- 4 cloves garlic (or as much as you like!)
- 1-2 tl smoked paprika
- 1 tl dried thyme
- salt + freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
- 150-200 g tomato passata (or store bought tomato sauce, in which case adjust the amount of seasonings)
- + a can of white beans (optional!)
- 300 g button mushrooms (or veg of your choice: spinach, green beans, corn... frozen or fresh it's up to you!)
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt + freshly cracked black pepper (+ chili flakes) (to taste)
- 4 dl oat cream (or any plant-based cooking cream)
- 150 g grated ( vegan) cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, anything you like, really! )
- 600 g frozen (mini) rösti potatoes
- The amount of plant-based mince I use varies depending on which brand I've bought. If the package size is on the smaller side, I'll throw in a can of beans to bulk up the dish.
- Instead of mushrooms, I sometimes use up all kinds of frozen veggies in this casserole: corn, green beans, kale, spinach... They work well in the dish and using frozen veggies obviously saves up some of the prep time, since you can just throw them into the casserole straight out of the freezer.
- You can use any kind of "cooking cream" available to you, or even swap it to some bechamel sauce. For me it's easy and convenient to just drizzle in oat cream straight out of the package, since I always have it in the fridge. You can also use seasoned cream - something with onions or herbs would really work well here!
- My preferred tomato product for this casserole is tomato passata, but you can of course also use crushed tomatoes. I've once made the sauce even with double concentrated tomato paste mixed with water! If you're using a seasoned store bought tomato sauce, you might not need to add any seasonings at all.
- Pan sear the plant-based mince in olive oil. Chop up the onion and garlic and once the mince has browned, add them and continue to sautee the mixture, until onion turns translucent and soft. Season the mixture to taste with dried thyme, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper.
- Add in the tomato passata (or tomato sauce) and mix. If you want to add even more protein to the mix, you can add in a can of white beans (or any canned beans, really, just rinse them fist). Spread the mixture at the bottom of a wide casserole.
- Slice the mushrooms and and brown them well in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once browned, grate in a few garlic cloves. Keep sauteeing for a few more minutes to cook the garlic - but be careful not to burn it! Season to taste with salt + black pepper, and some chili flakes if you like. Add the mushrooms to the casserole.
- Drizzle the oat cream on top of the mushrooms and sprinkle on most of the (vegan) cheese. Arrange the rösti potatoes into the casserole.
- Cook the mini rösti casserole in 225°C oven for about 20 minutes, or until the rösti potatoes are crispy and golden. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and return the casserole to the oven until the cheese gets crispy too!
What would you layer underneath all those crispy mini rosti potatoes?
Ps. I would totally serve this with a nice green salad, but on the day of the shoot all I had was a handful of parsley. Oh well…