The Mighty Spoon: Just throw it in a pan

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Every so often I find myself in a grocery store, wandering the aisles in a state of complete dissociation. Up and down, through the meat and the produce aisles, trapped in a wide-eyed-and-hungry version of hell. The easy-listening pop music warps into a mantra, saying, “I am no one. I am nothing. I have no idea what to make for dinner.”

Robotically, I mull over options in my head, rejecting each in turn. “I just had steak. Chicken is too expensive this week. I can’t keep eating pasta all the damn time. Yes, I’m still allergic to tofu. No, I don’t want tuna sandwiches.” Then, inevitably, comes the revelation: why don’t I put a bunch of stuff in a pan and throw chickpeas on top of it? The now famous “x all the y!” meme flashes through my mind.

If you’re in the mood for something different, this is a delicious idea. Chickpeas provide an excellent source of protein for tofu-sensitive stomachs, and fall veggies make a great roasted dish when served over rice. This is also a fantastic meal if you’re not interested in messing with a bunch of spices; roasted garlic makes the entire dish very flavourful, so all you need is a bit of salt and pepper to toss in and you’re set. Early in the summer, I wrote about a warm Greek salad with chickpeas. Consider this its cozy autumn cousin. Makes 4–6 servings.

“Eat All The Things!” Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas

Ingredients

1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, each seeded and sliced

1 medium zucchini, sliced

1 white onion, sliced

1 tbsp plus ½ tsp olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 heads of garlic (about 22 cloves, to taste)

10–15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can chickpeas (19 oz), rinsed and drained

1 cup whole-grain rice, prepared according to box instructions

Parmesan cheese or tzatziki (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put peppers, zucchini and onion into a large roasting pan or ovenproof dish. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil onto the vegetables, then add thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to coat well.

Separate the garlic heads into individual cloves, but leave them unpeeled. Place in a square of foil, add ½ tsp olive oil and fold the foil into a closed packet. Roasting the garlic separately gives it a chance to become extra sweet and flavourful.

Roast the uncovered vegetables and packet of garlic in the oven for 60 minutes.

After an hour, give the vegetables a stir to turn them, and add chickpeas and tomatoes. Return to oven and roast for another 30 minutes, until the edges of the veggies begin to blacken.

Remove the pan and packet from the oven. Unwrap the foil and wait for about 5 minutes for the garlic to cool. Peel the roasted garlic cloves, then add them to the rest of the dish and stir.

Serve over rice with a spoonful of Parmesan cheese or tzatziki in the middle. Store vegetables and rice separately in the fridge. Keeps well for three days.

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