A hearty plant-based meal the whole family will love. This gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan Italian Chickpea Casserole is the perfect weeknight meal to nourish the body with classic and comforting flavors.
I'm never really sure what people use to define a casserole. I assume it just means it was baked in a casserole dish, could easily be freezed in bulk, and provides endless leftovers. When I think of casserole, images of the stereotypical housewife pop in my head. Hair up, apron on, oven mits covering the hands as she bends down to remove the "casserole" from the oven and present it to the family waiting ever so patiently at the table.
What I also imagine is a heavy cheese and meat laden dish full of sadness. It may provide comfort to the family in that moment, but it will leave them dragging and sluggish for sure. We all want a comforting meal at the end of a long winters day, don't get me wrong, but I think there are better options. Which leads me to my version of a healthy plant-based and allergy-free casserole.
Not only is this super healthy, but it will also leave you satisfied and full of plant-based energy. If I still need to convince you, then let me tell you have easy this is too! All you have to do is gather your ingredients and layer them in a casserole dish. Then bake and serve (or freeze!). I even made a cute step-by-step assembling guide in case you need a visual 😉
Since Italian food just brings images of comfort to mind, I thought I'd roll with that flavor theme. Plus, Italian flavors like tomatoes ad basil and crowd pleasers all-around. From picky children to meat-loving husbands, everyone will love this! This dish makes about 4 servings, but it could easily be doubled or tripled with a larger casserole dish and more ingredients!
Italian Chickpea Casserole
Ingredients: (serves 4)
+ 1 Large Spaghetti Squash (About 3 Cups when cooked and shredded)
+ 2 ½ Cups Cooked Chickpeas
+ 1 Medium Zucchini Sliced (for 16 slices)
+ ½ Cup Sliced Black Olives
+ 3 Large White Mushrooms (for 8 slices)
Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce:
+ 1 Can No-Salt Added Tomato Sauce
+ ¼ Cup Chipped Fresh Basil
+ 1 Tsp Chopped Garlic
+ ½ Tsp Onion Powder
+ ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
+ 1 TB Dried Parsley
+ 1 to 2 TB Nutritional Yeast
+ 1 TB Dried Parsley (for sprinkling on top)
+ Preheat the oven to 350°F.
+ Microwave the spaghetti squash for 5 minutes or until you can easily cut it and fork out the strands. Prep the rest of your veggies and set everything aside.
+ In a bowl combine all the sauce ingredients and give everything a good stir.
+ In a 8x8 casserole dish, assemble the casserole as shown in the above graphic. Start with the squash, chickpeas, zucchini, olives, mushrooms, and finally the sauce. Now top the casserole with nutritional yeast and an extra sprinkle of parsley.
+ Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Healthy hearty goodness! Saucy, "cheesy", and full of wonderful comforting flavor.
Now that I've made my first "casserole", I think I need to try my hand at some more. They are just too easy and the perfect all-in-one meal.
Have I told you about my un-dieing love for nutritional yeast? I probably poured about 5 more gallons on this after I took the "pretty" pictures. I can't get enough of that cheesy stuff! So what I mean to say is...the nutritional yeast is NOT optional here 😉 You MUST use it, haha!
So tell me:
+ What do you think of when you hear the word casserole?
+ What's your favorite classic comfort food?
*Recipe linking up for the week! WIAW, Allergy Free Wednesdays, #RecipeFridays, #RecipeOfTheWeek, #StrangeButGood, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays, Tasty Tuesdays, Savoring Saturdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Real Food Recipe Roundup, Tasty Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays, Lena’s Tasty Tuesdays!*
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