Eggplant and Garbanzos

Happy New Year, wherever in the world you might be this day! Start the year off with this wonderful vegan dish of eggplant and garbanzos (sometimes known as chick peas). I am not a fan of ratatouille, so this came as a surprise from Greece! It seems like a lot of ingredients,but many of them are flavourful spices which really enhance the taste of the dish. Hope you will enjoy it!

Eggplant and Garbanzos Greek Style

1.5 lb eggplant, cut into cubes

Kosher salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced

1 carrot, chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

2 dry bay leaves

1 to 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika OR smoked paprika

1 tsp organic ground coriander

1 tsp dry oregano

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 28-oz can chopped tomato

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid

Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.

3. In a large braiser, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.

4. Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.

5. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.

6. Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about 1/2 cup of water at a time.)

7. When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of EVOO, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

Lemony Chickpea (Garbanzo), Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Okay Cousin Bonnie, here is the salad recipe you asked for…it was yummy!

 

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Lemony Chickpea, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Recipe by Michela Chiappa from Michela’s Tuscan Kitchen

Ingredients –

600g ripe tomatoes (I just drained a can of diced tomatoes)

 1 small bunch fresh basil

 extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

small handful walnuts

½ jar good quality chickpeas (about 300g)

pinch of dried cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 lemon

2 good handfuls of arugula

1 small round of crumbly, soft goat’s cheese

 

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. Rip in most if the basil leaves, keep the baby leaves to one side. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.
  2. Place a small frying pan on a low heat, add the walnut halves and cook for 5 minutes until toasted and smelling delicious. When ready tip into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, drain and the chickpeas. Add the cumin, oregano, lemon zest and half the juice and a drizzle of oil. Toss together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas to the tomatoes and toss together. Add the arugula and crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts.

Sauteed Chickpeas with Chorizo or Bacon

Here’s a little touch of Spain that we enjoyed in Havana. Adjust the amount of cumin to your specific taste! Red lettering indicates my changes to the original recipe as always…

Omit the meat if you want a vegan dish!!!

Sautéed Chickpeas with Chorizo

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, skin removed OR bacon chopped
  • 3 1/2 ounces roasted red bell peppers, sliced into 1/4- by 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 can drained chunky tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat; add the shallots and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Cut the chorizo/bacon into small pieces and add to the chickpeas. Continue to cook until the chorizo begins to render out some of the fat, 5 minutes. Add cumin.

3. Add the roasted red peppers to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Toss with the chopped parsley and serve warm with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil* Soup (Harira)

Thanks to Karen at Back Road Journal for this tasty recipe! backroadjournal.wordpress.com 

As we have been doing some travelling I had not tried this before returning home. Fortunately, another friend told me I could find harissa at a store near her! I was concerned that we had run out of lentils when I went to make it, but was equally happy with using pearl barley. I don’t think I would do this with rice, but that is my bias!

By the way, harissa is a paste composed of several spices. It is found in a small jar in the imported foods section of some grocery stores. If you have a Middle Eastern market near you check it out. It is spicy! Be sure to check Karen’s blog for other wonderful recipes and happenings in her life in New England!

Harira, A Moroccan Chickpea And Lentil Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  •  pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 c. lentils or pearl barley
  • 1 c. cooked chickpeas (if canned, rinsed)
  • 2 c. stock (vegetable or chicken) Choosing vegetable broth would make this began I believe
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c. water or additional stock
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. or to taste harissa (optional)
  • lemon slices or wedges to serve alongside

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat, add the onion and carrot and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute. Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the lentils, chickpeas, stock, tomatoes and water, stir and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and harissa and simmer for a few minutes. Taste for additional seasoning. Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and a lemon slice.