Vegetable Bread Pudding

This is sort of a cousin to baked stuffings, but with more emphasis on the vegetables than the bread. For a gluten-free version, simply make this using gluten-free bread. However, this works best with a really sturdy crusty bread. Using a softer bread can make this come out mushy. Serves: 6 5 slices crusty, dense whole grain bread, torn into small pieces 1/2 cup unsweetened rice milk or other nondairy milk 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 4 to 5 cups finely chopped vegetables of your choice (see options, below) 1 grated mozzarella- or cheddar-style nondairy cheese 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or thyme Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Sesame or poppy seeds for topping Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the torn bread in a mixing bowl and pour the nondairy milk over it. Stir to moisten the bread, then set aside until needed. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until the golden and just beginning to turn brown. Add the vegetables of your choice and just enough water to keep the skillet moist; cover and steam until just tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain off any liquid that has remained. Combine the vegetable mixture with the bread in the bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well, then transfer to a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle a some sesame seeds over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and just beginning to turn crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve. VEGETABLE OPTIONS: You can use a single vegetable, or combine two or three. You’ll need a total of 4 to 5 cups raw vegetables, prepared as instructed below. Broccoli, finely chopped and steamed Cauliflower, finely chopped and steamed Small zucchini, thinly sliced Peeled and diced eggplant, steamed Firm, ripe tomatoes, diced Corn kernels (cooked fresh or thawed frozen) Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

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