Chickpea and Veggie Casserole
After straight week of waking up to heavy frost and termination dust on the mountains, I found myself craving a casserole. It felt like it happened on instinct. As soon as the cold was strong enough to hit my bones, I needed something hefty and warm. I always say it’s the trailer park in me: cold weather means food in large quantities. Usually made up of canned stuff and bread crumbs.
Of course, I’m cooking for a family of two, not five, so the heftiness needs to be toned down a bit. I always gain about five pounds in the winter, but I’m not looking to put those pounds on this early in the season. So I also had to throw in some veggies. But I didn’t leave out the bread crumbs, so it’s the best of both worlds.
Here is how to make this chickpea and veggie casserole. (Cutting the mozzarella into a pumpkin shape is optional, of course).
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Butter
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/2 White Onion, Diced
3 Ounces White Button Mushrooms, Sliced
Salt, To Taste
Pepper, To Taste
3 Cups Cauliflower, Riced
15 Ounces Chickpeas, Drained
2 Cups Baby Spinach
1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella (Vegan or Dairy)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
Fresh Mozzarella Slices, To Cover
Preheat oven to 400.
Over medium heat in a medium pan, warm olive oil and garlic until garlic begins to sizzle and brown. Add onions and mushrooms to pan. Once these have softened, add salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until mushrooms and onions are very soft.
In a 9-by-13, combine onion and mushroom mixture with cauliflower, chickpeas, spinach, and shredded mozzarella. Add salt and pepper and mix again. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove.
Immediately layer bread crumbs and then fresh mozzarella (or vice versa if you prefer bread crumbs on top). Cook for another 15-18 minutes.
This veggie casserole is incredibly simple, but it’s a great option for a warming, healthy meal on those days when you just want to dig into something big. Plus, the leftovers make it easier for me to jump up, eat quickly, and get out the door to do some pre-winter adventuring with Moosie. Being so much closer to the mountains now, we’ve spent a lot of time driving and hiking together in the past few months. Much like me, I think she’s ready for the snow to hit so that we can all stay in and be lazy for a while.
If you have a big meal that you turn to when it’s cold out, feel free to leave it in the comments below. I’m always up for suggestions on what to cook during the upcoming snowy season.