When’s a Casserole Not a Casserole?


Families are funny. Or at least mine is.

For some reason, now that I can actually make food that tastes good and is good for you, my family occasionally likes to talk about meals from the old days. And most of the talk focuses on the many casseroles I use to make. And the talk is not good, not good I tell you. And for good reason.

Despite names like Cheeseburger Casserole, or Tuna Casserole, or Pizza Casserole, or even Daddy’s Favorite Casserole, they were far from family favorites. You better bet each one of these contained at least one can of Campbell’s Cream of Something or Other soup. And then there were the highly processed mushy white noodles, a can of veggies, and maybe a sprinkling of dehydrated onion and garlic powder. Throw some cheese on top and call it a day. Yep…hardly a meal made with love. But then again, I didn’t really love making them either. They were just easy.

So this brings me to the funny part. I think it’s funny (actually I think it’s downright hysterical) that since our transition to a whole food, plant based diet, some of the fam’s favorite meals are casseroles. Yeah. That’s right. They may not be called casseroles, but that’s exactly what they are! Just deconstructed. And they go by different names…like Buddha Bowls or Peace Bowls or Healing Bowls. Sounds a lot classier, doesn’t it?

When we were in the St. Paul this past weekend, I had one of those Healing Bowls at the French Meadow Bakery and Cafe (which is a must go to restaurant if you are ever in the area). It reminded me that it’s been a while since I made a deconstructed casserole at home. So that’s just what I made for supper tonight. Oh yeah…but that’s not what we call it…we call it a Kale-Sweet Potato-Chickpea-Bowl.

Chickpeas are little balls of nutrition. Per serving, they boast 12 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of protein, and 26% of your recommended daily allowance of iron!
1 cup of chopped kale has 206% of your daily allowance of vitamin A and 134% of your daily allowance of vitamin C, 9% of your daily allowance of calcium and 6 % of your daily allowance of iron!
DSCN5189769% vitamin A, 65% vitamin C, and 26% of your daily value of fiber.
A half of a cup of sweet potatoes boasts 769% of your daily allowance of vitamin A, 65% of vitamin C, 26% of dietary fiber, and 8% of both calcium and iron!
This Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce totally pulls the whole meal together! And I must say it boasts better nutrition than ANY Campbell’s soup.


Kale-Sweet Potato-Chickpea-Bowl with Wheatberries (adapted from Brittany Mullins at eatingbirdfood.com)

1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

about 4 cups kale

2 sweet potatoes (chopped and roasted with sea salt)



Warm chickpeas.

Put 2 servings of wheatberries into rice cooker, along with specified amount of water.

Chop potatoes into bite size pieces. Place on baking sheet and spray with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Put desired amount of chopped kale into boiling water for 3 minutes. Immediately drain and put in ice water for 1 minute. Drain. Set aside.

Place kale, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and wheatberries in a bowl. Drizzle with Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce.


Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce (from Brittany Mullins at eatingbirdfood.com)

1/2 c. peanut butter

2 cloves garlic

1/2 T. fresh ginger

1/8 c. white rice vinegar

1/8 c. brown rice syrup

1/8 c. tamari

1/2 c. water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Did you have a favorite casserole when you were a kid?


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