I had the hardest time thinking up a name for this dish. I had the idea of making a lasagna type dinner, but without the noodles. I toyed with the idea of naming it noodleless lasagna, but that just sounded weird. I finally settled on chickpea casserole, even though it’s not exactly what it is. I know, first world problems right? Oh well, regardless of what this meal is called, it is delicious. We devoured it all and quickly wanted more. It makes fabulous leftovers and it is a great prepare ahead meal so that come dinnertime all you have to do is heat it up in the oven. Simple and delicious, what more could you want?
For the chickpea layer:
- 3 cups chickpeas, soaked/rinsed/cooked (you could also use 2 cans of chickpeas, but I liked dried better)
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, depending on how “cheesy” you want it to taste
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp italian seasonings
- salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp basil
- 1 to 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
- salt to taste
- Make your sauce first. In a medium saucepan, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for about 5 to 7 minutes. Once the onion is soft add in the oregano, basil, and fennel seeds. Stir to combine everything and then add in the tomatoes. Depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce, add in a little bit of the broth at a time. Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover the pan halfway with a lid and simmer while you make the chickpea layer.
- Preheat the oven to 400 and put the chickpeas into a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to break them up. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until it is all combined and creamy. If it is too dry you can add in a few tablespoons of water or broth.
- Lightly oil a casserole pan and spread the chickpea mixture into the bottom. Press the chickpeas down and make sure that there are no cracks. Then pour the sauce over the top and cover the chickpeas. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly. Take out of the oven and let sit for 5 minutes and then cut and serve.
After you assemble the casserole, you can keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. Then simply heat up the oven and pop the casserole in. This would be a really good meal to take to a potluck or share with a big group of people. You can easily double it and feed a crowd. And I’m pretty sure they will gobble it up and ask for seconds! Or maybe that’s just me…. Enjoy!