This vegan savory chickpea cobbler is the ultimate plant-based winter comfort food dish! Made with chickpeas, a rustic biscuit topping, and a flavorful sauce built from an umami-rich broth.
It’s safe to say that comfort food has been my desire and my cooking style for most of the past year. But even putting pandemic circumstances aside, these deep winter months are the time when I crave vegan comfort food more than ever.
Enter savory cobbler. This savory chickpea cobbler is everything I want comfort food to be: warm, filling, and carb-forward. Also nutritious, rich in legumes and vegetables and all of the nutrients they offer.
I love regular, dessert cobbler. But the idea of a savory cobbler, made with un-sweet biscuits and a creamy filling, has always appealed to me. I’m so glad I finally tried it.
I took the savory part seriously, whipping up an umami-rich sauce to hold the dish together. And I called on chickpeas, one of my favorite plant proteins, to play a starring role.
All about umami
“Umami” is a word that I tend to throw around casually when I write about food. Sometimes I use it without really explaining what I mean by it.
This rings true to me, anyway. Many plant-based ingredients that are rich in umami are very delicious to me. These include soy sauce, miso, mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, and nutritional yeast. (I put the latter in almost everything.)
Technically speaking, umami taste is the result of glutamate, an amino acid. Glutamate is abundant in protein-rich animal foods. Dietitian Ginny Messina wrote a great blog post some time ago that asked the question of whether glutamate-rich foods might be especially useful for vegans.
Ginny’s post got me thinking about my own love of umami-rich ingredients, how much I value their presence in my diet. And that got me thinking about creating a new, savory supper, which is how this savory chickpea cobbler came to be.
Yondu All-Purpose Umami Seasoning
Given my love of umami-rich foods, I’m so glad that I discovered Yondu’s all-purpose umami seasoning this year!
This product isn’t like any other that I’ve tried. It’s not bouillon, soy sauce or tamari, or a broth. But it can act like any of those ingredients, and it can be used in countless other ways.
Yondu is made from fermented soybeans and a concentrated broth from eight slow-simmered vegetables. The fermented soybeans create glutamate as well as other amino acids, which means plenty of umami flavor. You can read more about how Yondu’s unique, “complex umami” here.
Yondu can be used either as a seasoning or as a broth. To turn it into a broth, as I did in this savory cobbler, you simply add a tablespoon to 2 cups water. To use it as a seasoning, simply add a teaspoon to your dish, be it sauteed vegetables or a pasta sauce.
Yondu tastes a little bit like soy sauce, but it’s, well, more savory. There’s vegetable essence in it, too. So it’s more flavorful and complex, I think, than soy sauce and tamari are.
It’s hard to describe, but if you try it, you’ll know what I mean (more details below on a way to taste Yondu at a little discount!).
The joys of savory cobbler
Yondu is a perfect addition to this savory chickpea cobbler. And what a wonderful surprise savory cobbler is, generally!
This one is cooked and baked in the same dish, which means streamlined cleanup after cooking. I think that it evokes the nostalgia that other savory pies do. But it’s a lot easier to make than a vegan chik’n pot pie. And it has more texture contrast than my other beloved winter favorite, shepherds pie.
There are debates about how to construct cobbler. Some recipes call for a cake-like batter to be poured on top of other ingredients. Some call for neat biscuits, made with a biscuit cutter.
I’ve made peach cobbler with fully formed biscuits. But when I made cherry cobbler over the summer, I learned that it’s quicker and every bit as tasty to do a free-form, biscuit crumble on top of cobbler.
And that’s the method that I used here. For this savory chickpea cobbler, I used totally unsweetened biscuit dough in place of one that’s got some sugar (as in my fruit cobblers). Making the topping is really easy—no rolling or cutting required.
Meanwhile, the savory chickpea filling is so delicious: creamy, full of vegetables and tender chickpeas. And plenty savory, of course, thanks to a Yondu-based broth. I actually liked the filling so much I thought I might serve it on top of mashed potatoes or baked potatoes sometime (similar to the presentation in my holiday bowls).
Best of all, the filling doesn’t take long to make. And once the cobbler is in the oven, the preparation process is hands-off. Easy comfort food is the best kind, I think—at least lately.
More comforting chickpea entrees
Love this savory chickpea cobbler? A few more savory, creamy, and comforting chickpea recipes for cold weather:
If you’ve run out of chickpeas, you can try using white beans or pinto beans instead.
Yields: 6 servings
For the cobbler filling
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (substitute neutral vegetable oil)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 large or 3 medium stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup (30 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour (substitute all-purpose, gluten-free flour)
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Yondu all-purpose savory seasoning
- 1/4 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the biscuit topping
- 1 1/3 cups (160 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons (70 g) cold vegan butter, cubed
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) cold, non-dairy milk
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Heat the butter in a 10-inch, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 7-10 minutes, stirring often, or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, or until the the garlic is very fragrant.
Mix the hot water and Yondu seasoning. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Pour the Yondu broth over the vegetables in a thin stream, stirring constantly as you go to prevent lumps of flour from forming. Add the milk to the skillet, followed by the chickpeas, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
Allow the chickpeas to simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Remove the skillet from heat.
To make the biscuit topping, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or by hand), cut in the vegan butter. The butter should be in pea-sized pieces. Pour the non-dairy milk into the center of this mixture. Mix with a spatula or spoon until the dough is moistened throughout and minimal flour remains at the bottom of the mixing bowl. You should have big clumps of dough (not a single mass, but not crumbs, either). Sprinkle this biscuit topping over the chickpea and vegetable mixture and transfer the cobbler to the oven.
Bake the cobbler for 40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is turning golden. Allow the cobbler to cool for a few minutes before serving.
If you don’t have Yondu seasoning at home, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth of choice.
Storing savory chickpea cobbler
In addition to all of its other good qualities, this savory chickpea cobbler is a good candidate for both storing and freezing! The leftovers will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge. And they can be frozen for up to six weeks.
Savory recipe inspiration with Yondu
Yondu is one of the plant-based products I’ve been most impressed with in the last year. This savory chickpea cobbler is only the beginning of what I hope to create with it. I’m thinking about stir fries, pasta, savory toasts, and many other ideas.
If you’d like to sample Yondu for yourself, the brand is offering my readers a discount code for Amazon orders. Simply enter “20TFHELPING” at checkout for 20% off of the brand’s all-purpose, vegetable umami.
I hope that this savory and cozy skillet meal will bring warmth and comfort to your winter days. Enjoy, friends, and I’ll be back around here soon.
This post is sponsored by Yondu Vegetable Umami. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!