Julie’s creamy spinach florentine + a Blendtec giveaway!

Creamy Spinach Florentine from Vegan Casseroles | A Dash of Compassion

Today I’m going to talk about a new cookbook that has been getting a fair amount of attention lately—one that’s just in time for fall and winter gatherings with a slew of comforting meals in the form of Vegan Casseroles

If you’re in tune with the vegan scene, you’ll likely recognize the author’s name and want to buy this book immediately. In case you don’t know, Julie Hasson is the beautiful and talented powerwoman behind eight other cookbooks, a line of gluten-free and vegan baking mixes called Julie’s Original, the Internet cooking show Everyday Dish, the hip food cart Native Bowl in Portland, and the original Babycakes Bakery in LA. Yep, she does it all.

Vegan Casseroles

Julie took on quite a challenge with this cookbook topic, and for that I am truly impressed. You see, when people talk about traditional comfort food, it typically means using key ingredients that are off limits to health-conscious vegans. Recreating the flavours of eggplant parm, shepherd’s pie, and cheesy rice and broccoli casserole without the cheese, eggs, butter or even any of the processed vegan substitutes, for example, means Julie had to rethink the whole casserole concept and look at it with fresh eyes.Creamy Spinach Florentine from Vegan Casseroles | A Dash of Compassion

I love that her new book emphasizes whole food ingredients. The resulting recipes are a mix of retro flavours—with a variety of cashew-based cheese sauces and a lighter cream of mushroom soup for that creamy goodness—and comforting, veggie-full dishes like cabbage rolls, stuffed swiss chard, and creamed greens. You can even invent your own casserole creations by pairing any of the super-simple sauces with your favourite veggies or pasta.

Book chapters include:

  • The vegan casserole pantry
  • One-dish appetizers
  • Dutch-oven and skillet casseroles
  • Old favorites and new twists
  • Pasta casseroles
  • Vegetable casseroles
  • Dessert casseroles
  • Sauces, toppings and basics

So far, my favourite recipe in this book is the creamy spinach florentine on page 98. It makes use of the almost alfredo sauce from the sauces, toppings and basics chapter to create a creamy base for the pasta and spinach. In this recipe, the addition of Dijon mustard, sherry and fresh nutmeg add a lot of depth and warmth to the dish. I can see myself pouring the sauce over steamed broccoli and other veggies, too.

Creamy Spinach Florentine from Vegan Casseroles | A Dash of Compassion

If you’re not already excited about this book, I’ve got something else to share. Julie is inviting all ADC readers to enter a grand prize giveaway for a brand new BLENDTEC Designer 725 Blender! Five runners up will receive a copy of Vegan Casseroles.

Please note the giveaway prizes can only be shipped to US mailing addresses. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Even if you don’t win, you’re still in luck because Julie was kind enough to allow me to share the florentine recipe from her book. Go make it now! And then buy the book to get more amazing casserole recipes.

Print Print

Creamy spinach florentine

Yield: Serves 4


For the almost alfredo sauce:

  • 2 1/2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3 tablespoons oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 11/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion

For the florentine:

  • 8 ounces dried shell pasta or macaroni
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 recipe Almost Alfredo Sauce (see below)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons dry sherry, depending how strong of a sherry taste you like
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


For the almost alfredo sauce:

  1. In the jar of a blender, combine the soymilk, water, cashews, nutritional yeast, oat flour, cornstarch, salt, and granulated onion. Blend the mixture at high speed until completely smooth and no bits of nuts remain. If you don’t have a big blender, blend the mixture in two batches.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking continuously. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, reduce the heat slightly and cook, whisking continuously until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Tip: Use a good-tasting unsweetened soymilk for this sauce, as the flavor really comes through. If you’re using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.

For the florentine:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.
  2. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta, especially if you’re using one that is gluten-free. Drain the pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Drain most of the liquid out of the spinach by gently squeezing it, but don’t squeeze it completely dry. Add the spinach to the pasta, along with the sauce, mixing until the pasta is thickly coated. Add the sherry, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, granulated onion, and nutmeg, stirring well. Add salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings to taste. Scoop the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until hot and slightly bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve.

To make gluten-free: Use a gluten-free oat flour in the sauce and gluten-free pasta (my favorite here is brown rice macaroni).

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Casseroles © 2014 by Julie Hasson, Running Press.



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53 Responses to “Julie’s creamy spinach florentine + a Blendtec giveaway!”

  1. Cindy — November 12, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    Amazing! I love spinach and casseroles. Do you think it would be ok to use plain almond milk instead of soy?
    Fingers crossed for the Blendtec! My ever-faithful blender is slowly fading away…

    • Nicole — November 12, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

      Hi Cindy! Yes, I used unsweetened almond milk when I made it and it turned out great. :)

  2. Lisa Breece — November 12, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

    I would love to try this creamy spinach florentine casserole. I love spinach, and never tried something like this.

  3. Jeanne — November 12, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

    Dessert casseroles! Especially one with bananas. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Liat — November 12, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

    This looks delicious! Really hope I win the giveaway. Could totally use a Blendtec.

  5. kate s. — November 12, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    i cannot wait to get my hands on this book! this recipe looks amazing.

  6. Jeffrey — November 12, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

    I’d roll with the Mac & Cheese Casserole!

  7. sarah — November 12, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

    can’t get enough mac n cheese!

  8. Cadry — November 12, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

    I’m really looking forward to making the green bean casserole. That’s always been one of my Thanksgiving favorites.

  9. Tova — November 12, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

    mmm looks good!

  10. Nicole — November 12, 2014 @ 8:44 pm

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! I think I will make the florentine casserole soon- what a great pantry friendly dish.

    I’m also really looking forward to the green bean casserole, thanksgiving style GBC plus rice has always been one of my favorite comfort foods.

  11. Janneal — November 12, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

    Yum! I can’t wait to try making this casserole!

  12. Paula — November 12, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

    I can’t wait to try the Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole.

  13. Krista F — November 12, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    Anything yummy with roasted veggies.

  14. Faith — November 12, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

    The Spinach Florentine is the first casserole I would make from the book! Looks delicious!!

  15. Sharon — November 12, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

    I would love to win a Blendtec. I heard it is great and would certainly help in making these casseroles.

  16. jacquie — November 12, 2014 @ 11:01 pm

    the stuffed swiss chard sounds interesting

  17. Anna H — November 12, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

    Looks like a great new cookbook, would love to win, thanks for the chance!

  18. Kiana — November 12, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

    I saw a post on this book yesterday. I’m pretty excited to get it.

  19. Lydia Claire — November 13, 2014 @ 1:27 am

    The Creamy Ppinach Florentine look yummy but so does the casserole on the cover!

  20. jen — November 13, 2014 @ 6:05 am

    One pot dishes….creamy and delicious!

  21. Kari — November 13, 2014 @ 8:47 am

    My daughter LOVES alfredo so I can’t wait to try this Creamy Spinach Florentine recipe!

  22. Patty K — November 13, 2014 @ 9:28 am

    Dessert casseroles are calling my name!!! Would love to see those recipes. And maybe they would involve using the blender.

  23. mona — November 13, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

    I would try the creamy spinach florentine casserole

  24. Donna F. — November 13, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

    I want to try the summer corn custard listed in book’s description. Sounds delicious!

  25. Adele — November 13, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

    Dessert casseroles like the Rustic Bread Pudding!

  26. kristen mcclary — November 13, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

    i would love to try a dessert casserole ive made tons of casseroles before but never made a dessert one!

  27. Nicollette+D — November 13, 2014 @ 9:25 pm

    I can’t wait to try the zucchini casserole. ..but I might be waiting until next summer for ripe zucchini.

  28. Cindy H — November 14, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

    That sounds delicious! Casseroles are the perfect meal for a cold, snowy day like today. I hope there are some nut free recipes so I can share these meals with my friends with allergies.

  29. Amanda Thomas — November 14, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

    The creamy spinach florentine looks absolutely delicious, but I’d love to the try the Cinnamon-Sugar Cheesecake Casserole.

  30. Tom H. — November 16, 2014 @ 12:00 am

    I’m curious to try the Eggplant Parm casserole recipe from the book as well as this Creamy Spinach Florentine. Thank you for the opportunity to win this Blendtec!

  31. Ruchama — November 16, 2014 @ 11:37 am

    The combination of the sauce, spinach and pasta looks perfect for lunches now that it’s getting cold, even here in “sunny California” I’ve seen several recipes from this book on different sites. If I don’t win a copy, I’ll just have to buy one.

  32. Rust — November 17, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

    I definitely want to make your Creamy spinach florentine casserole. This is right down my alley! :)

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  33. Laurel — November 18, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

    My favorite casserole has always been a Mediterranean spinach/feta/egg casserole which I obviously haven’t made in many years. I’ve been thinking cashew sauce and flax eggs lately although it sounds as if Julie’s already got me covered. So my favorite would have to be the creamy spinach florentine you’ve spotlighted today.

  34. Kathy — November 18, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

    It is crazy. I don’t have much in the house to make for dinner. I have been sick for about a week. And then the recipe for Creamy Spinach Florentine comes up. WOW! And I actually have all the ingredients. I think this is going o be a big plus towards getting the cookbook!!

  35. Rachel Guidry — November 18, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

    Yummy! I look forward to trying the pot pies.

  36. Tracy — November 18, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

    this looks amazing, I saw in the index a veggies and dumpling casserole, that sounds like just the thing for this cold weather, so that is probably the 1st one I would make!

  37. Jill Stump — November 18, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

    Your new cookbook looks amazing!!! I cannot wait to get it. And THIS recipe will be on this weeks menu! :)

  38. Cristina G. — November 19, 2014 @ 3:39 am

    Casseroles <3 Discovered them recently and <3 them already!!!

  39. Angela O'Brien-Turiccki — November 19, 2014 @ 4:34 am

    Dessert casseroles sound BRILLIANT. Can’t wait to try all of them!

  40. Rhonda P. — November 19, 2014 @ 10:51 am

    Wow this book looks amazing! Really good timing too since winter is casserole season. I’m looking forward to trying this spinach florentine casserole and ALL of the dessert casseroles!

  41. Amanda — November 19, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

    Looks amazing!

  42. Heather — November 19, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

    Just made this tonight and it’s amazing! I omitted the sherry because I didn’t have any and added a little bit more water to the sauce. Thanks for sharing this!!!

  43. Claire Elizabeth — November 19, 2014 @ 10:23 pm

    Definitely excited for VEGGIE casseroles! I’m always looking to try as many veggies as I can! I’m a typical veggie-lovin’ vegan! :)

  44. Patty K — November 19, 2014 @ 11:45 pm

    I’m quite sure I would like to make a dessert casserole !!!

  45. Amber — November 19, 2014 @ 11:54 pm

    All. Every single casserole in the book. The end.

  46. Lisa — November 20, 2014 @ 5:43 am

    I’m all about the pot pies!! Awesome giveaway!!

  47. Tracy — November 20, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

    I love the Blendtec blender!

  48. Linda — November 20, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

    Sounds like an awesome book!

  49. Ashley Outland — November 24, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    Jambalaya! Yum!

  50. Kim D. — November 30, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

    I want to try the Dessert casseroles.

  51. Amanda Sakovitz — December 9, 2014 @ 11:14 am

    I would love to try a dessert casserole!

  52. Thomas Murphy — December 10, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

    I want to try the Eggplant Parm casserole

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