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Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

2014-03-22
  • Servings : 6
  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 60m
  • Ready In : 1:20 h

My first vegan cookbook–and the first for many of my generation, I’m sure–was Vegan with a Vengeance.  I was by no means “punk” (or “post punk”), but the somewhat sassy, unapologetic vegan tone of the book struck a chord with me, and so some of my first vegan creations – from that book – still carry nostalgic value for me.

Even when the recipes aren’t that great!  There, I said it!  That’s kinda the case with this one.  It was early in the author’s career, and while the vast majority of her stuff is great, this one was a little underwhelming.

But that’s where your culinary creativity comes in.  The original recipe is just some bland, filling, comfort food with no visual appeal. So I like to mix it up and add whatever veggies and spices I’m feeling at the moment.  That’s the great thing about casseroles!

This recipe still keeps it pretty basic, so use it as a launching point.  I’m thinking I’ll add some eggplant next time I make it, when they’re in season…?  What else do you think might work?

Ingredients

  • 3 16oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thinly (I used a mix of red onion and shallots for taste and aesthetics, but yellow is fine, too)
  • 1 medium head and stem of broccoli
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used some leftover homemade stuff, but if gluten free, omit this, or substitute 1/2 cup finely pulsed walnuts)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt (or not, depending on how salty your broth is...)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or sturdy fork. Take a couple minutes to make sure you get a good consistency where all the beans have been damaged a bit, but it's not total mush (see picture for reference).

Step 3

Add the grated carrot, onion slices, broccoli, and cilantro and mix well. Her original recipe called for chives, but I wanted to try cilantro this time - feel free to make your own substitution here! Also, don't just use the broccoli florets and throw away the stem! Chop the florets into small pieces, but then thinly slice the stem as well and put it to good nutritional and fiscal use! (You may need to go at it with a vegetable peeler a bit if the skin is thick and fibrous.)

Step 4

Add the bread crumbs (or nuts) and oil and mix again. Lastly, add the broth, salt (or not), and spices and mix it all up one more time. Like I said, the original recipe is fairly bland, so the cumin and increased pepper is my spin on it...after adding 1/2 tsp of each, taste to see if you'd rather have even more...I wouldn't be surprised if you did...

Step 5

Dump all the ingredients into a 9x13 inch glass casserole dish. Spread into the corners and press down firmly on it because it won't settle on its own. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, then for another 15 minutes without the foil.

Step 6

Serve warm with some peppery, bright green Brussels sprouts, smothered with a delish gravy! Or have some cold leftovers two nights later, straight from the casserole dish, in your bed by yourself, wondering why that cute boy or girl hasn't messaged you back for a whole day now... It works either way, trust me!

A former math teacher, Matt is now cooking up food in a vegan restaurant in Berkeley, CA. More than 5 years into his vegan journey, he loves sharing tasty, compassionate, and healthful food with friends and family--and strangers, too, sometimes!

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