The word “casserole” always takes me back. The famous “4 food groups” style of eating was the cuisine of my childhood. Every dinner plate would feature a slab of some sort of meat, potatoes (mashed or boiled) and some sort of veggie, usually canned.
But every once in a while, my mother would mix it up and make a casserole. At the time I thought casseroles were the height of sophistication. So many ingredients in one dish! As a person who never liked meat, I also enjoyed the fact that there was usually less of it, or it was, at least, not front and center.
Imagine my surprise when I started cooking for myself and realized that casseroles are actually really easy to put together. Casseroles remind me of my Midwestern upbringing. They’re the ultimate comfort food.
This casserole comes from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I love the fact that it really only requires a mixing bowl and a casserole dish, so the cleanup is simple. I decided to make it in the early days of the shift to colder weather. Casseroles require a hot oven for usually at least an hour, so it warmed up my drafty old house nicely.
This is a great, colorful one-dish meal. The original basic recipe features the flavors of the veggies with no herbs or spices. I chose to add fresh thyme, since there is still lots of it in my garden.
Meatless Monday: Chickpea-Broccoli Casserole
- 3 16-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 cups)
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced chives
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used pumpernickel bread crumbs.)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas well, using a potato masher or a firm fork (I used a pastry cutter). It takes about 2 minutes to get the right consistency.
- Add the onion, carrots, broccoli, and chives and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and oil and mix again. Finally, add the vegetable broth, salt, and some fresh black pepper, and mix one last time.
- Transfer all ingredients to a 9×13 casserole dish. Press the mixture firmly. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes.