Creamy and Comforting Chickpea Pasta Casserole

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Healthy Vegan Recipes Creamy Chickpea Casserole

These days my cooking ventures are entirely vegan and gluten-free, based on whole foods and as healthy as I can make them. Even though my desserts taste decadent, they’re all made with natural sweeteners (and sometimes, even vegetables!); my main dishes are plant-based and lower fat, offering up antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and high fiber. But the house in which I grew up, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly a headquarters for healthy menus.

Sure, my mother cooked everything from scratch, but just because the ingredients happened to be (for the most part) unprocessed, it didn’t mean she excelled at nutritious meals (or desserts).  Fried hamburgers, pasta with cheese and butter, greasy French fries—we had them all. In fact, when I think about the amount of grease, refined flour and refined sugars in those foods, it kind of makes me shiver!

Still, I learned to cook with my mum, so the early recipes I attempted were naturally filled with unhealthy ingredients, too. Although I baked chocolate chip cookies at age six with Mom’s help, it wasn’t until my teens that I ventured to savory dishes. The first time I cooked dinner for the family, I mixed up a classic tuna casserole.  You know the one: canned cream of mushroom soup and canned tuna stirred together with macaroni and frozen peas, all topped with crushed potato chips.  Talk about salt, sugar and fat on a plate! It was truly horrid in terms of its nutritional value, but boy, did my sisters and I love digging into it.

Healthy Vegan Recipes Creamy Chickpea Casserole

It’s been decades since I ate it, but I guess I never really lost my affection for Tuna Casserole.  As someone who follows a plant-based diet, I don’t desire tuna in my recipes, but the creamy, crunchy mix of pasta and protein in a flavorful base is a combination I still crave. I decided to revamp the recipe for 2013, rendering it plant-based, gluten free and lower fat–yet just as delicious.

If you’re looking for an easy, quick, protein-packed meatless meal, this is the perfect comfort food. You simply mix everything together, pour into the casserole and top with your crunchy topping. After a short stint in the oven, it’s ready—and dinner is served! While it doesn’t taste exactly like the casserole of my teenage years (thankfully!), this is a succulent vegan recipe that everyone will love. In fact, it’s the perfect casserole to start a new family tradition.

Healthy Vegan Recipes Creamy Chickpea Casserole

 

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Ricki

Ricki

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