Vegetarian Shipwreck Casserole

Vegetarian Shipwreck Casserole Recipe

Vegetarian Shipwreck Casserole
My mom always had a few recipes that she’d make all the time when I was growing up. There was Cheesy Beef Casserole, which is pretty self-explanatory. Cheese. Buddig Beef. Potatoes. Toast. And then there was Chicken a la King, the only way I’d ever eat peas (even if I’d pick the chicken out). But one of the recipes that always stands out in my memories is Shipwreck.

Shipwreck, my mom told me, was named such because it was all that people had to eat after their ships wrecked. Naturally, anytime my mom would make it, I’d imagine Pilgrims on a tropical island, cans of Campbell’s soup and baked beans in hand, preparing to make a casserole over a camp fire. I had an active imagination, you see. (I also had two imaginary friends named Joy and Field–Joy after the dish soap and Field after Marshall Fields. Incidentally, Field looked exactly like Joyce DeWitt from Three’s Company.)

Vegetarian Shipwreck Casserole
Anyway! When I did a vegetarian casserole challenge with Valerie from Eclecticisms, I challenged her to make a vegetarian shipwreck casserole. It sounded so good and brought back so many warm and fuzzy memories that I just had to try to make it myself. The credit for this recipe goes to Valerie (with a few slight adjustments from yours truly), and you can read about her experience making it here.

I know this recipe sounds a little bit bizarre, but trust me, it’s really good. (You do trust me, right?) My husband, not a fan of baked beans, was really skeptical but I converted him.


Vegetarian Shipwreck Casserole

Vegetarian Shipwreck Casserole Recipe

A vegetarian version of Shipwreck Casserole, made with crumbled tempeh in place of ground beef.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages tempeh, crumbled
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • cooking spray or oil mister
  • 2 large baking potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1-14 oz. can of vegetarian baked beans
  • 1-10 oz. can of condensed tomato soup


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add tempeh and cook until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray or oil and layer potatoes on the bottom, overlapping. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover potatoes with tempeh mixture. Top tempeh layer with baked beans and top baked beans with tomato soup.
  5. Bake uncovered for about 1 hour, or until browned.

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I have never heard of this before – meatless or otherwise. Your vision of Pilgrims with canned soups is hilarious!

I'd never heard of Ship Wreck before. I made it your way tonight for dinner and I'm wondering if I did something wrong with the soup portion. It looked very unappetizing. I served it upside down to hide the "soup sheet" and everyone ate it. My middle son asked for thirds. Maybe I should've thinned the soup with water? Hmmmm. I took pictures so I may share on my blog. 😀

OK … I put this together tonight. The components taste good so I’m hoping for excellent results. I covered and put in fridge and will cook tomorrow night. I know, it’s 100 plus degrees in Dallas in August but I was intrigued – we’ll eat it in the cool kitchen with a fan on 🙂

I don’t see where you recommended a temperature for the oven. 350 degrees F?

Ack, I’m sorry about that! When I transitioned my recipes over to ZipList, I must have deleted the oven temperature. It’s 375 degrees. 🙂

I hope you like it! I know it sounds a little strange, but I swear it’s good!

This was better than I expected! It’s not very pretty but it tastes good :). I think next time I will use half a can of tomato soup and half BBQ or maybe marinara. Thank you for sharing!

I haven’t cooked with TVP in at least 10 years, so I have no idea how I’d change the recipe to accommodate it, but that would definitely work. My mom used to use frozen soy meat crumbles too. 🙂

I am making this tomorrow for a friend of mine who just had a baby and is vegan (there is a hungry husband and 8 year old to feed and naturally, my friend isn’t ready to be standing in the kitchen all day to cook for them!) I would love to add some sort of green veggies into this. I was thinking spinach! I was going to pre-wilt it and then stick it between the tempeh mix layer and the baked beans. Thoughts?

I’ve made this with both kale and Swiss chard! So I’m sure spinach would work too. And that’s exactly what I do–I wilt the greens, then stick them between the tempeh and beans. 🙂

I have just made this (in the oven as I type) and as everyone else a bit skeptical, it is my first time cooking with tempeh and it smelt a bit odd while cooking 🙂 and it got a bit dry in the pan and some got very brown. I used it all anyway. I hope this works and is a hit as I have just read the incorporating a greens layer so will definitely add a kale or chard layer next time.

I’m making the shopping list for this dish. Do you think it’s possible to omit the temph for just sautéed veggies or mushrooms? temph is a bit high in calories for me. Will make it and let you know how it goes.

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