Vegan with a Vengeance–Chickpea Broccoli Casserole
You know those cookbooks on your shelf that are smudged with flour and oil and tomato sauce? The ones that open to one over-cooked recipe, a new permanent binding crease? Maybe those cookbooks are the ones you inherited, maybe they’re the ones your family loves the most. For me, though, that cookbook is the first vegan cookbook I ever bought–Vegan with a Vengeance.
Published in late 2005, about a year and a half before I became a vegan, Vegan with a Vengeance is one of the most-loved and revered vegan cookbooks. It marked Isa Moskowitz’s rise to vegan diva-hood and brought about the mainstreaming of vegan cuisine. Some recipes in it that I love? Baking Powder Biscuits, Scrambled Tofu, Brooklyn Pad Thai, the basic Pancakes recipe. It was my introduction to cooking as a whole–before veganism, my repertoire was pasta, peas, sauce, and sausage. Over and over. For a girl from a family of cooks, I somehow managed to never learn how to cook. Thank god for this book. All of a sudden the very basics of American classics were available–how to make an egg alternative that an omni would eat, how to throw together a quick stir-fry on the fly.
I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t actually cooked from most of the book. For the worn, stained pages, only a few recipes make it into my routine. The rest, from Maple Walnut Cookies to Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing (featured on Crack the Plates yesterday!), I haven’t touched. A total shame.
In the spirit of trying something new, though, I went with a recipe whose ingredients I had on hand–Chickpea Broccoli Casserole. Sounds promising, right? I’m afraid to say that it’s the first recipe from the book that I haven’t loved. Or even liked. Bummer. Chickpeas, broccoli, and carrots are three vegetables I dearly love, but in this casserole there just wasn’t enough flavor (of anything). Bland with only salt and pepper (and a dash of chives) for seasoning, it lacked the innovative punch I’m used to from Isa’s recipes. I’m chalking this one up to it being one of her first, but, if you’re wanting to start with something epic from VWAV, I wouldn’t recommend this casserole. Adding a few more spices–some hot paprika, cumin or basil, would have really helped amp up the hearty casserole. As is, though, not the greatest.
Oh well. You win some, lose some, right?
Chickpea Broccoli Casserole
3 16 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 cups)
2 tbsp thinly sliced chives
1/2 c bread crumbs (I used panko)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 c vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.