Pan-Roasted Chickpea Salad

When I’m hungry for chickpeas (and I’m always hungry for chickpeas), I simply heat some olive oil in a skillet, toss the dry, cooked chickpeas into the pan, and let them roast away over medium-high heat, stirring to get roasted brown spots all over. I don’t want them crispy — that’s an entirely different recipe! — but I do want them browned in spots and full of roasted flavor.

While the chickpeas are doing their thing on the stove, I whip together a lemony vinaigrette and chop parsley. When the chickpeas are done, I toss them in the vinaigrette, add the parsley, adjust the seasonings, and serve.

This ridiculously easy recipe will impress your family and friends. They’ll never know how simple it really is!

Socca (Chickpea Flatbreads)

Socca, and its cousins farinata, cecina, tortillata, or fainá (among others), is probably the best gluten-free bread you’ve never heard of. At its most basic, it consists of three ingredients: chickpea (garbanzo bean0 flour, water, and olive oil. These ingredients are mixed together, the batter is poured into a hot pan or skillet, baked until crisp and brown.

Simple, huh? As you can imagine, any food that simple has be delicious and flexible. Socca (and relatives) takes on different flavors based on how you choose to season it. Want to keep it basic? Fresh rosemary is traditional. Thyme is delicious. Za’atar is unusual — or not, since this dish has a Middle Eastern cousin. Even Indian spices work well here.

Socca is traditionally thin and a bit crisp on the outside, but still flexible. Farinata, or those I’ve encountered, are a bit thicker. Much of the final product depends on how thick your batter is — for the recipe, I’m suggesting a medium-weight batter. Make it thicker or thinner according to your taste.

Hint: since this is a great flatbread, you can also treat it a bit like a pizza, with great toppings!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I’ll be honest: I was never a huge fan of tabbouleh. I think it was my body’s way or warning me away from foods that made me sick because all the components of tabbouleh are delicious on their own. Which makes this gluten-free tabbouleh just about perfect…and a bit addictive.

Serve it with homemade falafel. Or bring as a side salad to a party.

Basic Pesto Sauce

Basil is easy to grow, and I love the fragrance. It’s also the key ingredients in one of my favorite pasta toppings: pesto. As you can see from the recipe below, you can quickly throw together pesto using a few ingredients. In addition to making a quick vegetarian meal with pesto and pasta, I love to use pesto in other ways.

One favorite is as a topping for grilled salmon. Add a bit lemon juice or zest to your pesto and use a few spoonfuls on each serving of salmon. Another fun way to use pesto is mixed with steamed rice. It’s a nice break from ordinary, plain rice, and takes just moments to prepare. Mix pesto to taste into just-cooked rice and serve. Top with a bit of grated Parmesan for additional flavor.

Pesto is also open to new ingredients. You can use artichokes, kale, spinach, or other greens. Swap out the pine nuts for walnuts. Some red pepper flakes can add a bit heat if that’s what you’re looking for.

40 Clove Garlic Chicken

Garlic is one of my favorite foods. I know it gets a bad rap from some quarters (who are those people?), but it adds great flavor to just about any dish. Including this delightful chicken stew. As the dish cooks, the garlic mellows, growing soft and buttery…perfect for spreading on breads or crackers or just eating whole.

So don’t let the amount of garlic worry you. Instead, enjoy the scent as the chicken roasts in the pan.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

One thing I’ve learned from my regular delivery of organic fruits and veggies is that sweet potatoes are pretty much a year-round food in Southern California. After trying my friend Roxanne’s incredible sweet potato salad at a dinner she hosted, I begged for her recipe when it became apparent I had a glut of sweet potatoes.

She sent two of her favorites, and I found myself blending them together (of course!). Needless to say, this is the type of salad that invites creativity. I’ve included some suggestions at the end of the recipe and invite you to use your own imagination for variations.

Caramelized Onion Dip

Over the holiday season, I find myself eating way more chips and dip than is healthy. The fault is mostly mine since I’m the one who makes this fantastic and addictive caramelized onion dip.

Caramelizing onions changes their flavor — they become mellow and sweet. The amount of heat you use informs the speed of this dish (and the attention required — higher heat requires much more stirring to prevent burning!). I like to cook my onions low and slow while I’m preparing other dishes.

The amount of onion in this recipe seems insane, but they will cook down considerably.

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