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Mushroom and Chickpea Noodle Casserole CARLA HALL

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A delicious alternative for vegetarians!

1 cup shiitake mushrooms (stems removed, thinly sliced)
1 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cremini mushrooms (roughly chopped)
1/2 small white onion (peeled, finely diced)
1 small fresno chili (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 ounces dairy-free butter (such as cashew butter)
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk (soy, almond, pea protein, etc.)
3 tablespoons dried seaweed chips (finely ground)
6 ounces medium pasta shells
1 cup frozen green peas (thawed)
1 can chickpeas (drained, 15-ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

For the Shiitake Bacon: Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
In a large bowl, toss the shiitake mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms onto a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the Chickpea Noodle Casserole: In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the raw cremini mushrooms, stirring to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for about five minutes, then add the onions, fresno, garlic cloves, and season with salt. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes until the mixture is fragrant, the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are browned. Add the butter and allow to melt. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Add the 2 cups of water, lightly scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze, then stir in the milk. Allow to reduce over medium-low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes, then add the finely ground seaweed chips and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook the noodles 4 minutes less than package directions. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water and set aside.
In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork, leaving them slightly chunky.
Add the noodles, green peas, and chickpeas to the mushroom sauce and stir to gently combine, cooking over low heat for 5 minutes to warm the ingredients through. Spoon the mixture into bowls and top with shiitake bacon.
Tip: Make the shiitake bacon up to 5 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use to top different pastas, sandwiches or even salads!

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