Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chickpea Casserole

I’ve mentioned that I like casseroles because they’re the ultimate meal-in-one. This one has the added bonus of being vegetarian, using chickpeas for protein, and is pretty light on the dairy. I did make it lactose-free, using Lactaid’s cottage cheese. I also used a red onion instead of the shallots. While the consistency was good, I found it a bit bland, and I would add some grated sharp cheddar to the chickpea mixture next time (added below). We had leftovers for days with this dish!

3 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 5 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown rice
4 large shallots, minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice and zest of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup lactose-free cottage cheese (ideally the small curd variety of cottage cheese, but beggars can’t be choosers)
¾ cup plain lactose-free yogurt (ideally full-fat yogurt, and not Greek yogurt, which has too little moisture)
a big handful of grated sharp cheddar (optional)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 stalks fresh rosemary (leaves only)
2/3 cup dried bread crumbs
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 °F and lightly grease a 9”x13” or other 3-quart baking dish with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix the chickpeas with the rice, shallots, garlic, and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the beaten eggs in a medium bowl with the cottage cheese, yogurt, cheddar, and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Finely mince the parsley and fresh rosemary leaves. Stir the cottage cheese mixture and herbs into the chickpea mixture.

Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining ½ cup Parmesan and the bread crumbs. (At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.) Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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