Spicy Chickpea-Potato Casserole with Cucumber-Mango Salsa

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Fridays are casserole days in our house. I clean out the fridge and throw whatever’s leftover into a dish and bake it. Usually, the results are palatable. Sometimes, they need a cloak of BBQ sauce or sriracha to render them edible. And other times they yield something spectacular (see: Quinoa-Black Bean Casserole and Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes). Maybe I should rename casserole night “Tex-Mex Hodge-Podge Night,” as that’s the theme these concoctions usually have.

Last week’s Spicy Chickpea-Potato Casserole was no exception.

Serves 6-8

15 minutes prep time

40 minutes cook time

Ingredients

1 T grapeseed oil

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground coriander

1/2 t paprika

1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/4 t black pepper

1/4 t salt

1/4 t smoked paprika

1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from stems and chopped

2 cups cashew queso*

2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 14.5-ounce can, drained and rinsed**

4 medium red or Yukon gold potatoes, grated or shredded using a food processor

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Coat a large casserole dish with oil (9×13 or a 3 L Corelle dish, which is what I used).

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, then add the onions and garlic once the oil is hot. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft (about five minutes).

Combine the spices in a small bowl. Add half to the onions. Cook another three minutes, until the spices are fragrant. Turn off the heat and stir in the kale. Transfer the kale and onion mixture to the bottom of casserole dish.

Top with the chickpeas and half the cashew queso. Layer on half the shredded potatoes, then sprinkle on the remaining spices. (Or dirty another bowl and toss the potatoes with the remaining spices to evenly distribute. I hate dishes, so I opted for the latter.) Layer on the remaining potatoes, pour the rest of the cashew queso on top, then cover and bake for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes, if you don’t have a starving husband! This made six servings, but it easily could have been eight. We were absolutely stuffed!

*I make a batch of this every couple of weeks. I add a 14.5-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes to the recipe (add to the blender with the other vegetables), which yields a saucier consistency. It also adds about 1 1/2 cups in volume, which means I can freeze half for another dish, such as this one. Serve with the salsa below, plus avocado or guacamole.

**If I made this again, I would use pinto or black beans, but chickpeas were in the fridge, so that’s what went in the casserole.

Get creative: Add a bell pepper or a jalapeño to the onions and garlic, swap sweet potatoes for the white ones or spinach for the kale. The idea is to use up leftovers!

Cucumber-Mango Salsa

Serves 4

10 minutes prep time

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeño, minced (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1/2 cup cubed mango

1/2 English cucumber, diced

1/2 cup pineapple tidbits

1 t lemon juice

generous pinch salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

I did this early in the day, which gave my pineapple time to thaw. My mango was tiny and yielded almost no flesh, so I improvised and added pineapple from the freezer. Mint would be refreshing in this salsa, and you can also add a pinch of ground cumin and coriander, if desired.

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