Tunisian Chickpea and Rice Casserole

Our Tunisian Chickpea and Brown Rice Casserole is a spicier riff on the original recipe in Julie Hasson's excellent cookbook Vegan Casseroles

Here's how we do it: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and spray with oil an 8" square casserole dish or another close in size. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a skillet over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add 1 cup minced onion and 4-5 cloves minced garlic; saute for 3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Sprinkle in 1 t. ground cumin and 1 t. caraway seeds. Saute for another minute or two and then remove from heat.

Add the onions, garlic and spices to a large bowl along with 1 15-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed well and drained), 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked brown rice (short or long grain, it matters not), 1/2 cup chopped dill, a handful of chopped parsley and 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes.Stir to just combine the ingredients and flavors and set aside while you whisk together in a smaller bowl 1/3 cup tahini, 2/3 cup hot water, the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 t. cayenne pepper and 3/4 t. smoked or regular paprika. Season to taste with salt.

Now, pour the tahini sauce into the other ingredients and stir, this time very well, before adding salt and black pepper to your taste. Transfer everything to the prepared casserole dish and bake, covered with foil or a lid, for 10 minutes. Remove the covering and bake an additional 15 minutes or until very hot throughout.

Allow the casserole to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving. If the casserole appears too runny let it sit for an additional 15 minutes, in which time the rice will absorb any excess liquid.

A very compatible casserole that can be served with just about any non-starchy side you can imagine, at Cafe Drake HRV we like it with a crunchy contrast, usually a parsley and onion salad or marinated cucumbers and olives. Also excellent with pickles or roasted or grilled long hot peppers.


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