This is a recipe I’ve been working on, here and there, for quite a while, probably since last summer. I kind of just winged it the first couples times I made it and it was so great then when I decided to pay attention to my measurements and times so I could write up a bona fide recipe, I kept messing it up. But yesterday, I made them again, took notes and they were a hit.
The original inspiration for the flavor combination came from this recipe from Abby. These crunchy little roasted chickpeas are usually gobbled up as is but I think they’d also be good sprinkled on a salad in lieu of croutons (making them a good crunchy gluten free option.)
I found this recipe made a decent amount for us all to munch on but you may want to double.
You could probably use dried rosemary leaves but I might let them sit in the lemon juice/oil mixture for a bit as I’d fear they would get too crispy when roasting. And should only need a pinch as dried herbs are more concentrated.
If you want, you can used canned chickpeas. For reference, the dried version will end up yielding between 1 to 1 1/2 cups after soaking.
Otherwise, what I do is soak the dried chickpeas in about 2 cups of water over night. In the morning I drain and rinse, then put them in a saucepan, covering with a couple inches of fresh water and bring to a boil. There may be some foam developing on the top—to my knowledge this is starch and I just scrape it off. Reduce to a simmer and leave, covered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Drain and cool the chickpeas. In a bowl, toss them with all the other ingredients. You can go ahead and roast them now or what I did this last time which may have helped the flavor really set in was cover them and keep in the fridge until the evening, tossing them every once in a while to coat the chickpeas well and distribute the flavors.
To roast, preheat your oven to 400 F (I think that’s about 200 C.) Spread chickpeas out on a cookie sheet (one with an edge!) or even a pie plate would work. Just make sure they are in one layer and have some room to roll around.
Roast for 15 minutes on “one side.” Then take them out and rattle them around and roast for another 10-15 minutes. You may need more or less time but you’re aiming for them to sound rattly and hard. (But not burnt or rock hard.) If at any point they look like they are getting dry, drizzle a tiny bit of oil on top and rattle around.
Let cool and enjoy!
I like doing the small amount so they get eaten up right away but I’m sure if you did more you could keep leftovers in the fridge and sprinkle on salad the next day.
This is a dish I’ve kind of been obsessed with. I don’t know where I got the idea (a magazine, online?) or what mixture exactly it was (beans and lemon, beans and thyme?) It’s been a fun challenge to think up interesting and tasty ways to use the veggies from the garden. We’ve never been too fancy when it came to cooking up our garden vegetables. They usually taste so good and so fresh that simply steaming them and adding a sprinkle of salt and pat of butter is decadent enough. That isn’t to say the veggies are less tasty this year but rather I’m becoming more adventurous and active in the kitchen. This is my latest concoction. I’ve since made it four or five times. And since the bush beans are getting their second wind and the pole beans are only just beginning, I’m sure I’ll make it more before the season is up.
I will start by saying this is a recipe you can wing and use your judgement when making. I used measurements to give you a general guide but when I make it, I tend to throw it all together.
Roasted Green with Lemon, Thyme and Almonds
(Probably serves about 6 big veggie eaters or 8 side-dish eaters)
1/2 c slivered almonds
olive oil for drizzling in dish
2 lbs fresh green beans
1 medium or large onion (a sweet one like Vidalia is best!)
1 tspn dried thyme leaves (or 1 tbspn fresh*)
2 tbspns (or so) more olive oil for tossing
salt to taste
1 tbspn lemon juice
1 tbspn lemon zest
Start by pre-roasting your slivered almonds separately. You can do this well in advance if you’d like. If your are in a hurry you can simply use plain, unroasted almonds but the toasted taste is so much better. I tried roasting them with the green beans but they didn’t roast as thoroughly as I’d like. Spread out your almonds on a dry cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees F for about 5 to 8 minutes or until they start to get toasty smelling and brown. You may need to flip them or at least shuffle them around a bit. Oven temps vary so keep an eye on them. Remove from oven and set aside.
Now either preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (if you roasted your almonds in advance) or just up the temp right after roasting them.
Next wash up your green beans and cut off the unedible ends. You can cut them into bite size pieces if you wish. Peel and cut your onion into decent size wedges (I like big chunks, basically cutting the onion in eighths but you might want to do them a little smaller if you like them less crunchy and more done.)
Drizzle a little olive oil in a large baking dish (mine was a 4 quart/10x15x2 glass dish.)
You can toss the next ingredients in a separate bowl but I just do it right in the baking dish to save on wash-up. Spread out your beans and onions in the dish.
Evenly sprinkle the thyme over the beans. Grind or sprinkle salt to taste. Next drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Using a spatula toss the beans by flipping them over and shuffling them around so everything gets a nice coating.
Now roast for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and flip/toss the beans with a spatula and roast another 15 minutes.
You may need to roast for another five, ten or even fifteen minutes depending on different factors. Just make sure the green beans are cooked enough to be edible—I like mine to still be little crunchy but I like to roast long enough to get some good browning going on.
Remove from oven. Drizzle your lemon juice (I freeze fresh squeezed lemon in ice cube trays, so that’s why it doesn’t look liquidy in the the ingredients photo above!) and sprinkle you lemon zest and about half or two-thirds of your almonds in the dish and give a few last flips/tosses. Either sprinkle the remaining almonds on top and serve in the baking dish or move everything to a bowl and sprinkle the almonds on top then.
*I’ve never used fresh in this recipe but I’m using the herb-rule that dried is generally about twice as strong as fresh. I’m sure if you’ve worked with fresh thyme before you would know what to do. (If you want to share in the comments, I’d love to hear.
I’ve realized it’s hard to find a salad dressing that doesn’t have sugar in it. So, I made one. It’s pretty strong and probably different from what you are used to. If you prefer salad dressings that are sweet, this isn’t for you. However, if you
like love lemon and garlic, this is for you.
Sugar Free Garlic Lemon Dressing
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
Put all ingredients, except oil, in a jar (with a lid) and shake. Now add the oil and shake again. Voila. Easy homemade, sugar-free dressing. Use up right away.
The most obvious way to use it is drizzled on salad.
But I’ve found it’s also great in a raw veggie salad. (Seen here: yellow summer squash, yellow bell pepper*, green beans and cauliflower.) Simply pour some of the dressing over thinly sliced veggies of choice(make sure they’ll taste good raw!) and toss.
*The only veggie not from our garden.
A while back, I had come across a Tofu Spinach Risotto recipe while flipping through one of my cookbooks (this one happened to be Giant Book of Tofu Cooking.) I realized we had all the ingredients so I gave it a go. The family decided it was a bit dry so I vowed to give it another go with a few tweaks. Although the nutmeg gives a nice flavor, I added cinnamon for a little more sweetness and sliced almonds for a bit of crunch.
The only thing is that I’m hesitant to call it a risotto. From what I’ve read, this (or the original—which I found someone blogging about here) isn’t technically a risotto. I guess the tofu gives it all a creamy consistency but it isn’t prepared traditionally. So, since I’m not up on the proper names for rice dishes, I’m calling it a Sorta-Risotto. Based on your choices, it can be vegan, vegetarian or gluten free.
Spinach Tofu (Sorta) Risotto
Makes one 9″ x 13″ or 3 quart baking dish
(I doubled the original recipe, which served “6-8″ but obviously the author does not live in this house full of hollow legs and leftover-eaters. If you’re more like the author and eat normal portions, cut this recipe here in half.)
3-4 cups cooked rice (I like brown rice)
20 ounce package frozen spinach (I used cut leaf, but might used chopped next time)
2 medium yellow onions (chopped large or fine, I used Vidalia)
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 pound tofu (firm or extra firm are fine–press in advance to get excess water out)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup milk (of choice, I used almond)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional, but they add a nice crunch)
Plus a few extra tablespoons olive oil for sauteing and greasing your pan
Cook up your rice as you wish in advance. (Feel free to cook it in vegetable or chicken broth, I usually do. It gives it a lovely flavor.)
Partially thaw your spinach (if it’s all the way thawed, that’s OK, I was impatient and realized it was nicer to work with when it was still a little flaky)
Pre-heat oven to 350*F
In a blender or food-processor, blend up the tofu (chunk it up into smaller pieces with your hands first), olive oil, salt, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper until it’s creamy. It it’s too dense, add a little more milk. It should be a nice, creamy hummus consistency.
Pour this tofu mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Over medium-high heat, saute your onions in a little olive oil until they start to become translucent. Throw in the minced garlic and saute for another minute or two.
Take off the heat and add the onions and garlic to the mixing bowl with the tofu mixture.
Add your rice (3-4 cups, I used 3), spinach and almonds. Stir it up well until it’s all incorporated and mixed up.
Put the mixture in an oiled baking dish and bake uncovered at 350*F for about 30 minutes.
(Optional suggestion: You could probably sprinkle some Parmesan or perhaps another shredded cheese on top near the end of the baking to add a nice kick of flavor! I think I’ll try that next time.)
(Disclaimer: I sprinkled a few extra sliced almonds on the top of my dish for the photo–just to make it look prettier.)
(Edited to add the fact that you should press your tofu in advance to get the excess water out.)
I’ve been on a bit of an avocado kick lately. In my recipe binder I had a piece of paper with a few ingredients jotted down for an avocado banana smoothie. I have no idea if I found it online or a magazine or a book. I first went with the original measurements (which resulted in a huge portion) then played around with different measurements and ingredients and came up with this.
(Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie)
makes a little over 2 cups
1 1/2 cups milk of choice (I use almond)
1/2 very ripe avocado
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (less if you’re not a cinnamon lover)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon flax meal
sweetener of choice, to taste (sugar, agave, stevia, honey)
Blend all ingredients up in blender (I prefer an immersible hand blender) until it’s all smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Other options and suggestions:
The first and most obvious is that smoothie measurements are forgiving. Add more or less where you feel it needs.
I’m not a fan of super cold stuff (or super hot, for that matter—a friend said this might be because of my ayurvedic dosha) but if you want to and have a high power blender, add some ice. You could even add some ice-cream to make it more indulgent.
The flax meal (which is simply ground up flax seeds which you can do yourself in a coffee grinder) isn’t essential for the smoothie, so don’t worry if you don’t have any. However, you might want to look into getting some. For such tiny little things, they pack quite a punch, like omega-3s, antioxidants and fiber. I think the addition of flax meal to the smoothie also makes it thicker. Another thing to remember about flax seeds is that they are perishable and can go rancid, so keep them in the freezer.
The original recipe I have calls for 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract but I’m not a big fan of vanilla in unbaked things. But if you are, have at it.
Did you know you can freeze mashed avocados? Stock up on them when they are on sale.