Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole – Made Vegan!

I’m hoping one day to have made vegan versions of all my childhood favorites (chicken and corn chowder, Thanksgiving dressing, etc.). Working towards that goal, today I re-made the Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole that was originally from Madella Bathke who won the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest with it in 1978. My mom found the recipe online a few years ago, and it soon became a go-to recipe in our house and was eaten often.

So, after missing this delicious casserole for almost two years, I decided that I must make a vegan version. I made a small casserole, but feel free to double this recipe to feed a crowd. And. yes, I know that using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls for the topping isn’t the most healthy thing, but they’re accidentally vegan and very tasty.

Here’s the casserole: straight out of the oven and smelling amazing.

Zesty Vegan Italian Casserole


1 1/2 cups ground beef substitute (I used my Nearly Beef TVP)

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/2 TBSP olive oil

1 cup of spaghetti sauce

1/3 cup of shredded Follow Your Heart vegan chedder soy cheese

3 TBSPs Tofutti vegan sour cream

3 triangles of uncooked Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

1 TBSP margarine, melted

1/2 TBSP nutritional yeast


Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Add the onions and olive oil to a sauce pan over medium heat and saute until the onions turn translucent. Then add the ground beef substitute and spaghetti sauce, then let it simmer for about 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken up.

While the “meat” sauce is thickening, mix together the soy cheese and vegan sour cream in a small bowl.

Once the “meat” sauce is done, put it in a 7 x7 casserole dish. Top it with the sour cream/cheese mixture, then layer on the uncooked crescent roll dough. You might have to stretch the dough a little to cover the entire casserole. Mix the nutritional yeast with the melted margarine and then pour it on top of the crescent dough.

Put the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve!

A piece of the casserole, all nice and melty.


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