Eggplant and Chickpea Casserole

I love a casserole on occasion. They’re old-fashioned ad comforting, right? I love to serve this protein-packed dish with a light soup and salad.

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredient List: 

2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 cup uncooked)
3-4 cups canned, crushed tomatoes
2 small eggplants, halved, sliced in thin half-moon slices, soaked in salted water for 1 hour
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2-inch sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped, coarsely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped, coarsely chopped
4 sprigs fresh basil, leaves stripped, coarsely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed, finely chopped

Step By Step Instructions: 

Preheat oven 425ºF.

Mix together chickpeas and tomatoes and season lightly with salt and a drizzle of oil. Spread mixture evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Drain eggplant slices and rinse well to remove salt. Lay eggplant slices over the chickpea mixture, covering completely with some overlap.

Drizzle eggplant with about ¼-cup of olive oil and sprinkle with about ½ tsp of salt.

Cover loosely with foil and bake until eggplant is soft, about 35 minutes.

While the eggplant bakes, combine breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and about 3 tablespoons oil in a bowl. Mix well.

After 30-35 minutes, remove casserole and uncover. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture in a thick layer on top, covering eggplant completely. Return to oven and bake, uncovered for an additional 25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned and crisp.  Serve hot with a light drizzle of olive oil.

Cook’s Tip: You can use 2, 15-ounch cans of chickpeas in this recipe. Simply rinse well and drain beans before use. You may also use a commercial marinara sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes.