In the spirit of continuing on yesterday’s forgotten childhood foods, today’s recipe is a food definitely NOT forgotten over the years. I even made someone else’s vegan variation on this dish once, and was so disappointed in its authenticity that I never made any version of it again. But cheesy hash brown potato casserole is THE single food that my mother made every single Christmas, and sometimes Thanksgiving, that I looked forward to, that I was in charge of making, that I devoured any last bits out of the pan, lest there be any leftovers remaining. My husband’s family is so gracious in always making this every year when we visit as well, so I have very rarely had a Christmas without my beloved cheesy hash brown potatoes.
If you were to look at a recipe for this classic holiday dish, you will notice how completely not healthy it is. Besides the potatoes and onions, there is an alarming amount of saturated fat and cholesterol from the cheese, sour cream, and butter that makes this dish so addicting. So in an effort to make it more nutrient-dense as well as keep the authenticity of flavor from the original, I went back to my trusty hidden veggie cheese sauce. A little decadence from vegan cream cheese, a little convenience from sticking to the frozen hash brown potatoes (you could absolutely use fresh diced potatoes here, I just wanted to stick to the original as best I could), and you have an indulgent, satisfying side dish for all your holiday meals.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 batch sneaky cheese sauce
- 1/2 c vegan cream cheese, softened
- 32 oz frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
- 1/2 c crackers, crushed (I used Back to Nature Classic Rounds)
- 2 T vegan butter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x11 baking dish with coconut oil or vegan butter.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine potatoes, onion, sauce, and cream cheese together in a bowl. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
- Top with crunchy topping. Dollop with small pieces of cold vegan butter if you're feeling decadent. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until bubbling and browned.
You can make this with still frozen potatoes, just increase the cook time by 15-30 minutes. You will also want to cover the dish for the first half hour, to ensure the sauce stays creamy and does not dry out.
Per serving: 325 calories, 37 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 6 g protein, 503 mg sodium, 3 g sugar