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
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
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
Preheat oven 425ºF.
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.
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.