Our 3 year old Gracie is absolutely crazy about chickpeas. Ask her what she wants for breakfast, lunch or dinner and she’ll say “chickpeas!” 80% of the time. (The other 20% is reserved for her second favorite, grilled cheese.) She’ll even walk around the table whenever chickpeas are being served in some capacity with her hand out, hoping that her brother or sisters will share a little of their chickpea bounty with her. How do you say no to a diva like this?
Seeing as how the rest of us all really enjoy chickpeas too, and considering their health benefits, I’m definitely happy to indulge her obsession. Lately, I’ve taken to serving chickpeas as a side dish in place of a starch. It’s working really well and I’m surprised with how versatile they are as a side dish.
This recipe for Cheesy Chickpeas & Broccoli is a play on the classic Cheesy Rice & Broccoli. I could not believe how well-suited the chickpeas were to this treatment. It was a wonderful side dish, but it would definitely work as a main course over rice too. The kids decided the perfect name for this dish is “Chickpeas & Trees with Cheese.” Works for me!
Cheesy Chickpeas & Broccoli aka Chickpeas & Trees with Cheese
- 3 T. butter
- 3 T. flour
- 1 1/2 c. milk
- 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. curry powder, optional
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas (or 1 c. dried chickpeas, fully cooked)
- 3 c. frozen cut broccoli
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in milk and whisk until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until fully melted. Season with salt, optional curry powder and pepper. Toss chickpeas and broccoli together in a casserole dish. Pour seasoned cheese sauce on top and stir to combine. Refrigerate until using. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly.