This is a very forgiving recipe that’s easy to throw together if you have cooked rice and vegan pesto on hand. I make several large batches of vegan pesto each fall that I freeze in plastic baggies. It lasts me nearly all year. (If you are not a vegan you can substitute traditional pesto, which is made with parmesan cheese.) If you don’t have cooked rice handy, it’s still a simple recipe but you’ll need to allow extra time to cook the rice.
4 cups cooked white or brown rice
1/2 white onion, diced
8 oz. white or crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil or vegan margarine
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegan pesto
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, cook the broccoli and carrots in the microwave on HIGH power for 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil or vegan margarine in a large-size sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook a few more minutes, until mushrooms are softened. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli, carrots, onions, and mushrooms (along with any liquid left in the sauté pan). Stir in chickpeas and cooked rice. Add vegan pesto and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. If you like your casserole to have a browned, crispy top, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes.
Yield: 4-6 servings
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is extremely forgiving. You can use almost any combination of vegetables. Try red bell pepper in place of carrots, chopped spinach or kale in place of broccoli, or toss in a small handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Frozen or canned vegetables work well, too. You can also use white beans in place of the garbanzos, or leave the beans out if you are not a fan.