I have to confess: I can't get enough chickpeas lately. I've been incorporating them into everything. God bless the chickpea. That amazing little legume is packed with protein, iron, and fibre, and when roasted, it makes an amazingly addictive, crunchy, salty snack. Roasted chickpeas must be skyrocketing in popularity, since I keep seeing bags of them on sale at the grocery store for what seems to me to be exhoribitant prices.
This amuses me, a bit. It's so easy - and inexpensive! - to make your own roasted chickpeas, and once you do, you can eat them by the handful OR incorporate them into all your salads. For example, this roasted vegetable and quinoa bowl goes from "tasty" to "over the top" with the addition of roasted chickpeas. Not to mention that the protein from the chickpeas and quinoa make this a complete meal - and it can be made ahead of time.
One caveat: add the roasted chickpeas just before serving the salad, so that they maintain their crunchy texture. A second caveat: once you take the chickpeas out of the oven, don't eat them all in one sitting, no matter how tempting. Save them for the salad!
For the salad:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Prepare quinoa according to package directions; allow to cool after preparing.
Toss chickpeas in 2 teaspoons olive oil, and spread onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Toss the cauliflower, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes in the remaining oil (that's 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon), and spread evenly on the other baking sheet. Sprinkle both vegetables and chickpeas with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Place both pans in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, flipping the vegetables and chickpeas halfway through. Allow to cool. Don't immediately eat all the chickpeas - you'll need them for later!
Whisk together the olive oil, wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic clove.
Toss the quinoa and vegetables with the dressing. Add the chickpeas at the very last minute so they maintain their crispness.
If desired, top with 1/2 cup crumbled feta.
Yield: 4 servings
Want more chickpeas? I don't blame you. Try my All Kale Caesar , my Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, or my Savoury Oven-Baked Polenta. Don't throw away the brine! Use it to make Chickpea Meringues (no, that's not a joke).
Have you heard about aquafaba? Aquafaba is the sludgy liquid that you drain out of a can of chickpeas before using them. Aquafaba is the slime you rinse down the sink before you make hummus. Aquafaba is also - get this - an amazing substitute for egg whites when whipped.
I know! I didn't believe it either. Our resident Evil Genius/ Kitchen Scientist Anne Radcliffe told me about it, and then I spent a morning asking her incessant questions about why and how it works. She's a patient woman.
Here's the thing: for some reason I was really hesitant to try it. I mean, really. It's the gross stuff from the can of chickpeas. Finally, I got up the nerve to save the liquid on a day I was making hummus, and thought, what the hell. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't work, and I've wasted something I would have rinsed down the sink anyway.
People, it was amazing. I urge you to try this recipe just for fun. If you have small children at home, it would be a fun experiment - with very tasty results! My kids absolutely loved these little meringue "ghosts."
The aquafaba whips up just like egg whites, but you need a stand mixer for this - it takes some time. I'm so excited about this that I'm going to attempt an angel food cake next. It might be a little ambitious, but I will keep you posted on my results, no matter what they are!
Preheat oven to 250 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a stand mixer, beat liquid from chickpeas (aquafaba) with cream of tartar on high for approximately 15 minutes. The mixture should form soft peaks, very similar to egg whites.
Add sugar and vanilla, and beat for another 5 minutes.
Scoop into little mounds on parchment paper, and bake for approximately 90 minutes, or until meringues are quite firm.
Be impressed with yourself - you just made meringues out of chickpea liquid!
Yield: 3 dozen meringues
Look. LOOK! It really does form soft peaks - just like egg whites!
Feta cheese. There's no better addition to Greek salads, Mediterranean pasta, or quinoa dishes. Feta cheese can give new life to a pizza or give a kick to dips and sauces. When I was pregnant with my second child I ate feta cheese almost every single day. Feta cheese and I have had a passionate love affair for years.
But what if you cannot eat dairy, for one reason or another? Should you go through your life without the creamy, salty goodness of feta cheese?
No, you should not.
If you cannot eat dairy, consider making your own feta alternative - with almonds. This non-dairy cheese is delectable and creamy, and quite straightforward to make. It does take some waiting time, but you are making cheese, here, people. Cheese, like Rome, cannot be built in a day! The end product is well worth the wait, and no one will believe it's not the real thing!
Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water; soak for 24 hours.
Drain almonds; place in a high-powered food processor with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Puree until very smooth and creamy.
Line a colander with cheesecloth (or a large coffee filter); spoon almond mixture into it. Place over a bowl and put in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread mixture over the parchment paper to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and golden.
Allow to cool and then store in the fridge; crumble over a salad or pasta dish - anywhere you would use feta - and enjoy!
NOTE: prolonged storage may lead to the cheese becoming soft. If this happens, simply re-bake in the oven until the desired consistency is reached.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times