You can put the casserole together ahead of time and bake it just before serving. Start with it at room temperature, if possible, and bake it long enough to be sure it’s heated through. If it starts to get too brown on top, cover it with aluminum foil until it’s hot.
1head broccoliabout 5 cups, cut into small florets
1/2red or yellow bell pepperchopped
1 3/4cupscooked chickpeasor other options, see below
3cupscooked brown ricewarm, if possible
2tablespoonssliced or slivered almondsoptional
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil or spray a medium casserole dish (about 2-1/2-quart size).
Place the sauce ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
Place the broccoli in a steamer basket set over water and steam, covered, until just barely tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
While the broccoli is steaming, heat a large, deep non-stick skillet or saute pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, thyme, rice, and steamed broccoli. Make sure the sauce is well-blended, and add it to the skillet. Stir gently and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary, and smooth into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Bake until the top begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Instead of chickpeas, substitute any one of the following: 1 cup dry soy curls, rehydrated in hot vegetable broth and drained 2 cups baked tofu, cubed 1 1/2 cups tempeh bacon 1 1/2 cups sliced or diced seitanNutrition (per serving, no optional ingredients): 288 calories, 34 calories from fat, 4.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 305mg sodium, 383.2mg potassium, 50g carbohydrates, 5.2g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 17.9g protein.