Before moving to the South, I never imagined that the following are true:
(1) People (not just Mater, from Cars) really do say “Da gum!” (To clarify, it is a a very limited few; “da gum” is the equivalent of “wow!” to some older Southern men).
(2) You can take something down by putting it up. (For example, putting up a tent when you are finished camping. It can be confusing, especially to Yankees like myself).
(3) Macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable. (Head into many a Southern diner or buffet; it is listed as such).
In addition to macaroni and cheese, rice and broccoli casserole often appears as a vegetable option. I did not know that cheese, rice and broccoli casserole was a thing, which confounded many of my new-found friends and acquaintances. I’ve since tried it. It can be pretty darn good.
So I thought I would make a portable, muffin tin version. Cheezy, but without any cheese,. Brown rice in place of white. Double the amount of broccoli in comparison to the rice. And a creamy chickpea flour-based custard to hold it all together in perfect, portable form.
I think these may, in fact, qualify as vegetables.
These have a mere 80 calories per puck but are PACKED with nutrition, including 4.5 grams of protein. They are great for a quick lunch, savory breakfast (done that), or power snack. If you are traveling, these may become a new favorite.
Regarding the brown rice: I know, it takes longer to cook brown rice, but I have some tips. First, you can follow my lead and make a big batch and then freeze the cooled extra in 1 or 2 cup portions (cheap, easy and convenient!). Second, did you know that many supermarkets (and Trader Joes) sell frozen brown rice? So handy, and it’s usually inexpensive, even for organic options. Last, you can use heat and eat brown rice. Options abound!
My aim for this recipe was simplicity, so I used a bag of organic frozen broccoli for the sake of convenience. You can certainly use fresh, but be sure to cook it (steam or saute) before adding it to the mix; it will not cook through if you add it raw.Print
A favorite side-dish gets re-invented as portable snack! These broccoli, brown rice and cheese minis are vegan and gluten-free. A chickpea flour batter replace the eggs! Only 80 calories each too.
- 2/3 cup chickpea flour
- 3/4 cup plain nondairy milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 12-oz bag frozen broccoli (preferably organic), thawed and drained well, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray 9 cups of a standard muffin tin.
- Whisk the chickpea flour, milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl until blended. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir the brown rice, broccoli and baking powder into the chickpea batter; divided evenly among prepared cups, smoothing tops.
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until golden brown at edges and set at center. Transfer to rack and cool at least 20 minutes. Remove from cups. Serve warm or cool completely.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Will keep at room temperature when traveling during the day (e.g., in lunchbag).
- Category: lunch, dinner, snack
- Serving Size: 1 casserole mini
- Calories: 80
- Sugar: 2.3 g
- Sodium: 107 mg
- Fat: 0.9 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.0 g
- Carbohydrates: 14.2 g
- Fiber: 2.9 g
- Protein: 4.5 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Additional Nutrition Highlights:
*High in dietary fiber
*Very high in manganese
*High in magnesium
*Very high in phosphorus
*High in riboflavin
*High in thiamin
*High in vitamin B6
*Very high in vitamin C