Meatless Monday: Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

It’s been a little while since I posted over here. I am back from vacation and back in to real-life mode. I initially intended to blog as I cooked while visiting the parents, but for the most part, they didn’t let me have my way in their kitchen.

Both of my parents are amazing cooks. They are also a bit possessive of their kitchen. I get so much of my inspiration from their ideas – both past and present.

My last might in Minneapolis, my Dad took over the kitchen – whipping up an amazingly simple and tasty pasta dish. This dish that I present here is more or less adapted from what he made.  The main difference, is that he used tuna for protein and I used chickpeas. I knew that my kids wouldn’t eat the hot tuna and I was not in the mood to make another dinner for them. This dinner pleased everyone.

Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

1 pound pasta (I used spaghetti, but fettuccine would work well)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup green olives with pimentos, chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice of one lemon
1-2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
extra  Parmesan  cheese for sprinkling


Cook pasta to al dente, reserving about 1/2 – 1 cup of the cooking water.

I cooked my pasta while I cooked up the sauce/mix-in. Made everything run smoother.

In a large saute pan, heat up the olive oil. Add in the chopped onions and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the chopped garlic, olives and chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes.

Add in the spices, lemon rind and lemon juice.

Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

Add in the peas and Parmesan cheese.

Stir in the pasta, adding some of the cooking water as you go to wet the sauce a bit.

Serve on a plate. Top pasta with extra red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese and a small drizzle of olive oil.


Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

Meatless Monday: Socca with Mushroom and Tofu Saute

I love playing with new flavors and new techniques in the kitchen. For the past year or so, I have been experimenting with various gluten free flour options. I prefer to find ways to use the various flours in recipes that are made for them, rather than using the flours as substitutes for traditional wheat flour.

A while back, I bought a box of chickpea flour on Amazon. I bought it for a specific recipe, but was left with three additional bags of flour. The price for the bulk flour made it worth it.
Most of the chickpea flour recipes that I have played with have been Indian recipes. While perusing the NY Times one day, I was excited to see another option – the Socca. Socca is a traditional French flatbread. It is chewy, soft and crispy around the edges. It pairs well with many flavors. A recent dinner found us eating the socca with a simple mixture of crumbled tofu, onions and mushrooms. It really is versatile, so I encourage you to play with it.
Socca Flatbread
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1.5 tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing the pan
Mix everything together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside for about 30 minutes or so.
Heat your broiler to high. Preheat your cast iron pan in the oven for a minute or two. 
Brush a thin layer of olive oil on your pan. Ladle a thin layer of the chickpea batter into the pan. I used around 1/2-3/4 cup of the batter for each flatbread. The process is similar to making a crepe.
Place the pan under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes. It will bubble and brown on top. 
Remove from oven and slice in to wedges.

We served ours with a sauteed mixture of tofu, onions, garlic mushrooms and herbs. Enjoy with any toppings you’d like. You could even make it sweet and serve for dessert!

Meatless Monday: Quinoa and Chickpea Loaf

I am always in search of easy recipes for dinners that require as few steps as possible to execute. So…when I found this recipe, it was very unlike me to snag it as possible option. When I saw this recipe on the Whole Foods website, I balked a little. I like things that require one dirty dish, one baking pan (maybe) and wham-mo. It should be done. This dish requires the extra step of whirring it in the Cuisinart. On a day when I had no time. I thought about taking various shortcuts, and I’m glad I followed through on this one. It was worth it.

Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas (adapted from Whole Foods Market)

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 container of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
ground pepper
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
10 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 head roasted garlic
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. mustard
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a loaf pan with some olive oil

Heat olive oil in skillet. Saute the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and onions.

Add salt and pepper. Saute until onions begin to brown.

Process the chickpeas, oats, red onions and water in the food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, mix up the processed bean mixture, the roasted garlic, the fresh herbs, the quinoa, the sauteed veggies, the peas and tomatoes.

Press the mixture in to the loaf pan or shape in to a loaf shape and place in baking pan.

Make a glaze with the ketchup, mustard, soy sauce and brown sugar. Pour over the loaf.

Bake until firm and golden brown. Should take around an hour or so.

Cool a bit and transfer to a plate and slice.

It’s excellent when served with a mushroom gravy.  Enjoy!


Cabbage & Chickpea Curry

I love quick and easy. I thrive on quick and easy.

Tonight was no different. Monday night. Come home from work. Five minutes to make sure I have what I need to get some food on the table. Once again, I am trying to use things up. Hate throwing up random remnants of food in the fridge. I also like dinner to be stretched to lunch the next day.
In the mood for curry. I scrambled together the spices, set up some Basmati on the stove, and peeked in the fridge. Like some divine presence, I found cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, and chickpeas all ready to go.
Came up with this:
Cabbage & Chickpea Curry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (mine were from a can)
3 cups cabbage, shredded (or you can use the bagged mix)
2 carrots, shredded
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1 green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth (optional)
In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions. garlic, and ginger. Cook for 4 minutes.
Add in the spices and continue to cook for a couple minutes.
Add in the cabbage, carrot, chickpea mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir every so often. I chose to add some vegetable broth, but it is not necessary…I just like my curries to be a little saucy so the rice can soak up the yumminess.

Sample a bite or two from the pan. (I promise – I won’t say a word).

Serve over Basmati rice.


Chana Saag Aloo

Lunchtime at work can be rough. The combined smells of a hundred or so employees heating up and eating their home cooked meals can be rough. I do have one colleague who tends to have nice smelly lunches. So my dinner idea was stolen from her lunchbox.

After a long week of Passover with no rice, I was craving basmati. What better to go alongside, then a curry? Chana Saag Aloo is a very simple and cheap dish made up of ingredients that I usually have on hand in my pantry and freezer. Extra bonus is that there was plenty left over for lunches the next day.

There are many recipes for this dish; this recipe is based on what I had on hand.

Chana Saag Aloo

2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 tsp. of curry powder – rough estimate, truth is I shake it all in and guesstimate when it’s enough
1 tsp. turmeric
1 potato, diced
1 can of chickpeas
1 block of frozen spinach
can of diced tomatoes
cup of vegetable broth
cup of half & half or coconut milk

Cook some basmati rice as instructed on the package. The rice cooker works wonders. Start by sautéing the garlic, onion, and ginger in some olive oil. Sauté.
for 5 minutes. Add in your spices and the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. As that starts to soften, add your chickpeas. After 5 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, stir and simmer on low until ready to eat. Serve over the yummy rice. Enjoy!


About the picture…curries don’t always look pretty and appetizing. They just don’t. They are really yummy though…so please partake in this adventure.

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