Even though it was my mom who taught me to cook and from whom I inherited good cooking instincts, somewhere along the way our tastes diverged pretty strongly. I stopped eating much Italian food (I have nothing against it, it is just not to my taste frequently), which is The Cuisine of my family, and began cooking a lot of one pot Asian and Mexican meals. My mom, who is also cooking to my dad’s tastes (because she does love one pot food–I got so lucky with John in that our tastes in food, TV and books are really similar), makes a lot of Italian meals and simpler protein and 2 sides type meals. So sometimes cooking for me and my family is a bit of a challenge when I am visiting them. One area where we are all happy, especially once the weather gets nice, is grilled meats like bratwurst, hamburgers, pork chops… which is great but holy cow have I eaten a lot of meat lately. No pun intended.
So for my first meal back home I was desperate for the antithesis, something super healthy and preferably meatless. Ironically I know if my dad is reading this he is thinking that he felt the same, except the meatless part; he probably would have reached for fish or something like that. I hauled out Jack Bishop’s A Year In A Vegetarian Kitchen, figuring I might find inspiration there, and I was right. I took his Spinach and Arugula Salad with Indian-Spiced Chickpeas and Charred Red Onions and made it with the greens that are growing here locally right now. I also increased the onions, since I knew that they would be our favorite part—so feel free to cut back on the onions if they aren’t your thing; the original recipe calls for 2 red onions. I thought that lemon fit better than lime, which he called for, but it was also just a matter of what I had around. This was a great super fast and super healthy meal. Perfect for a first day back from an exhausting (though fun) trip.
I am submitting this dish to ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday, hosted by Cate over at Sweetnicks.
Spiced Chickpeas and Roasted Onions on Local Greens
Adapted from A Year In A Vegetarian Kitchen, Jack Bishop
3 medium vidalia onions (red onions or other sweet onions will work also), cut into wedges
Salt and pepper
4 T extra virgin olive oil
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 t brown mustard seeds
2 t cumin seeds
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or equivalent cooked from dry, which would be even better)
1 T chopped basil of choice (I used purple from my garden) or mint
2 ½ heads-worth of local, fresh greens, washed and ripped into pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
Toss the onion wedges in 1 tablespoon of the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast at 450 F until charred at the edges.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet on medium (you might need more in a stainless steel pan) and add the mustard seeds. When they start popping, cover the pan and let them finish, about 20-30 seconds. Immediately turn down the heat to prevent the seeds from burning and add the garlic and cumin seeds. Toss until the garlic and cumin is toasted. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat in the spices and oil. Remove from heat.
Assemble the salad, placing the lettuce on the bottom and then sprinkling with roasted onions and chickpeas. Squeeze lemon juice to taste over the salad and sprinkle with salt if desired. Serve immediately. We ate this as is, but it would be good with flatbread on the side.