For me the answer is a resounding NO. I predict right now you will never see a sandwich recipe on this blog. I mean, I like some sandwiches, but they don’t excite me and I avoid eating at restaurants and delis that only offer sandwiches. Lunches at my house consist frequently of finger food for the kids and me grabbing a frozen meal.
But about 2 times every 3 weeks (in other words not weekly, but more often than every other week), I make a big noodle toss for me and the kids that we eat for several days in a row. They tend to follow the same blueprint: I saute some onions and jarred garlic (that’s my first rule of thumb: I unashamedly use jarred minced garlic or ginger for lunch recipes since whipping up cooked food at lunch in addition to dinner is time-consuming–so shortcuts, in my book, are acceptable at lunch) and then start throwing in spices and other veggies, frequently some legumes. Then I throw in a big bowl of whole grain pasta, toss it together, and serve. My favorite variations tend to be Mexican, Moroccan or Middle Eastern in inspiration.
This one is vaguely Middle Eastern. Or maybe Moroccan. Or maybe a mish mash. I wish now I had served it with smaller noodles, because my girls, like most toddlers, like the noodles and chickpeas the best. To their eyes this one had a lot less noodles since one toddler serving had only 4-5 noodles. I also think next time a handful of golden raisins might be nice in it.
a few drizzles of olive oil
2 small or 1 large onion, thinly sliced (less if you don’t love onion the way I do)
1 T minced garlic
1 slender zucchini, thinly sliced
1 slender yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 sweet bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes (or equivalent fresh but this is lunch so I am lazy)
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 t cinnamon
1/2 lb dried pasta of choice, I use small finger-friendly pasta, not long threads
juice of one lemon, divided into 2
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley, preferably Italian or flat leaf
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Heat up a large skillet on medium high heat. Depending on whether it is nonstick or stainless steel, drizzle a very little oil or a tablespoon or 2 into the pan, and heat it up. When it is shimmering, add the garlic and let it toast briefly, 15-30 seconds. Do not let it burn. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt.
While it is cooking, slice and add the following (and add it this order, since some items take longer to cook than others): zucchini and squash, sweet bell pepper and chickpeas. When the onion has totally caramelized and the zucchini is a little tender, add the spices and stir. Do not allow the spices to stick and burn.
Add the pasta to the water and cook.
Add the juice of half of the lemon to the pan to deglaze it. Then add the tomatoes. Stir the mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Let it cook for 10 minutes, in which time the pasta should finish and be drained.
Taste the “sauce” for salt and pepper. Add the cooked noodles, the juice from the remaining half of the lemon, 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and toss. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt–Greek style is best but regular will do, and an additional sprinkle of parsley.
noble pig says
First of all, I love the name Noodle Toss! It looks wonderful and a great idea for lunch with the shortcuts thrown in!
Y’know, I do this all the time – it’s basically my staple food, lunch OR dinner, w/ vegs. depending on season – but I hadn’t tried that particular spice combo. I will give it a try, sounds like a nice change.
looks like a great idea for lunch! I don’t usually care much about lunch… often busy trying frantically to get things done before school pickup, but I do enjoy making the occasional mid-day feast for hubby and myself.
noble pig: the word pasta is for grown-ups, of course–anything served at lunch to the girls in this house is a noodle. Oodles of noodles, as my eldest would say.
Amy: I agree it is a very easy staple. I don’t ever make it for dinner just because we eat it at lunch so much–but it does make a good fallback dinner when I already have it made for a previous day’s lunch and for whatever reason dinner does not happen.
Lori: this recipe was born precisely because I totally agree–I do not care about lunch. But even I get sick of frozen meals! And we eat our leftovers for dinner, so….
That Girl says
Meh. lunch is usually our biggest meal of the day!
I know what you mean about sandwiches. I tend to do something similar – but it doesn’t have such a great name
although i love the ease, flexibility, and variety that sandwiches offer, i certainly would be willing to trade my lunch for yours if this was on the menu. mexican, moroccan, and middle eastern happen to be my favorite ethnic cuisines as well. 🙂
Laura, this looks really interesting– esp. with the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and lemon flavors going on there. DH works from home and he’s not a sandwich person either, so I will be making this for our lunch soon. Thanks for posting! 🙂