Cashew Noodle Casserole

Cashew Noodle Casserole is a tasty combination of vegetables, Chow Mein noodles, raw cashews and mushroom soup.  It's so easy to make and it's ready to eat in less than an hour from start to finish.  It can be eaten as a main dish or as a side dish.  Serve this with a big tossed or green salad and any vegetable of your choice.  You can also serve with rice or potatoes.

Cashew Noodle Casserole is what I'd call "a blast from the past".  Seems to me it was popular in the last century but I don't see it often anymore at potlucks and the such.  But, here I am eating it again, ha, ha.  Who'd a thought food trends could be so capricious!  But, it's true.  Just think over the last few years and you'll recall how trendy cupcakes were or granola or even Jell-o desserts.  Of course we still eat foods we like but the popular recipes and foods change over time in resturants and popular cooking shows.  I really don't care if Cashew Noodle Casserole is passé in the world of trending foods.  I like it so I'm making it.  

Okay, I must confess, I haven't made this in years.  (So much food to make, so little time to eat it all!)  The other day I was rummaging about my various cupboards and pantry shelves and came across a big bag of Chow Mein noodles and visions of Cashew Noodle Casserole came dancing through my brain. (The part that remembers food I like.)  A quick mental inventory of the remaining ingredients gave me the assurance I had all the necessary things to make this and so I did.  

I took the Cashew Noodle Casserole to a church potluck and there was only a spoonful left--not enough to take home so I scraped out the dish and ate that lonely spoonful before I left the church.  

Cashew Noodle Casserole
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can mushrooms, stems and pieces
½ cup sweet red and/or green pepper
1 can mushroom soup
½ soup can milk plus mushroom liquid
1 cup raw cashew nuts, chopped coarse
3 rounded cups Chow Mein noodles
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or pan spray an 8 cup casserole or baking dish.

Sauté the celery, onion, mushrooms and sweet pepper in oil for a few minutes, until soft.  Do not brown vegetables. Add the milk and mushroom liquid to the mushroom soup, and stir. Combine together the soup mixture, sautéed vegetables and remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.  Pour into a greased casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. The mixture will seem a little moist, but thickens as it stands.

Sauté the vegetables in the 2 tablespoons of oil.  Cook them until soft but not browned.  (You don't see any sweet peppers in the picture because I didn't think I had any.  But I found some in the freezer so you'll see red and green peppers in the mixture in a picture below this one.)

Roughly chop the cashews. Raw cashew nuts can be found in the baking aisle of the grocery store.  If your store does not carry them, bulk food stores often have them.

 Chow Mein noodles can be found in bags.  Measure 3 rounded cups of noodles.  

Mix the mushroom soup, milk and mushroom liquid together. 

Combine the sauteed vegetables, mushroom soup mixture, and remaining ingredients together.  Mix well until everything is coated with the soup.  (Now, you can see the sweet red peppers.)

This is a terrible picture but . . . pour the mixture in the prepared casserole or baking dish and bake 25-30 minutes.  The casserole may seem "sloppy" when baked but give a few minutes to settle and it will spoon out just lovely.

When the casserole bakes the noodles become soft and the cashews are no longer crunchy.  The cashews almost have a meaty texture.  

Just peering deeply into the Cashew Noodle Casserole.

A tasty vegetarian main or side dish.


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