Pasta with Kale and Fried Chickpeas

My little trip last week was last minute. I didn’t meal plan, I made a scattered trip to the grocery store and left with only random, but I had blue corn chips and spicy fresh guacamole, so I was happy. My love of cooking is not eclipsed by my passion for chips and crackers of all kinds.

The cabin had a tiny, modest kitchen. The lighting was minimal and it fit my mood- I was not inspired. But I was determined to not eat some processed convenience food (again), and I set to work. Fried chickpeas make everything better. They are my favorite protein to add to a food bowl, and sometimes they are the star of the dinner, dressed with a yummy Chinese garlic sauce.

Note: I actually prefer this recipe with a simple white wine, lemon and olive oil sauce, but the kids aren’t fans.

This is an easy dinner that tastes and looks like it is much harder than it actually is. Don’t tell anyone though stay in the kitchen for an extra 20 minutes and enjoy a glass of wine before sitting down.

Ingredients

  • One 15 ounce can of chickpeas
  • Canola oil
  • Pasta of your choice (I used organic wheat linguine, because that’s all I had)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4-6 ounces of kalamata olives, torn/chopped
  • 1-2 pounds of fresh kale, off the stem and roughly chopped (a bag of chopped frozen kale works too!). I prefer LOTS of greens.
  • olive oil or vegan butter
  • garlic powder
  • dried oregano
  • lemon juice/slice
  • ground red pepper of your choice

Directions

  • Drain and dry one 15 ounce can of chickpeas.
  • Fry the chickpeas over medium/medium-high heat in little canola oil until golden – about ten minutes. Set aside on a paper towel. If everyone can agree on a level of spiciness, go ahead and dust the chickpeas with your preferred ground pepper. A smokey hot pepper would be nice!
  • Saute chopped onion in olive oil with a little salt until fragrant translucent.
  • Add the chopped kale to the onions, remove from heat and set aside. I like to kale to keep a nice texture, so I only lightly cook it in this recipe. You can saute it in the onions longer if you prefer.
  • Cook the pasta as directed, drain.
  • To the pasta add a few tablespoons of olive oil or vegan butter of your choice, a little salt, garlic and plenty of oregano. Stir in onions, garlic, olives, and kale. The kale will continue to soften in the hot pasta.
  • Heap onto plates and add fried chickpeas to the top of each. Spritz with fresh lemon juice to brighten the kale, and dust with a little ground hot pepper of your choice, if you want some heat.

Sephardic Spinach Patties

Just thinking about this recipe makes me want to light a candle in the kitchen when the sun has set early in the evening and dinner feels much later than it actually is. This recipe was shared with me from my mother-in-law approximately one million years ago – or more specifically just a few weeks after our first wedding anniversary as we prepared for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if it’s origin, but I suspect it is from the Moosewood Inn cookbook, but has evolved over time in her kitchen and in mine. This recipe pairs well with couscous with vegetables and chickpeas, rice with dried apricots and pine nuts, rice and lentil stuffed bell peppers, spiced potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs fresh spinach, stemmed, cooked, chopped, and squeezed dry (20 oz frozen,   squeezed dry)
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • about ¾ t salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ t grated nutmeg or 1 ½ t cayenne
  • substitute for 3 eggs (I use Just Egg or Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer)
  • oil for frying
  • lemon wedges for serving

Directions

  • Heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft—about 5 min.
  • Remove from heat and add spinach,bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg or cayenne. 
  • Stir in egg substitute.  If the mixture is too loose, add a little more bread crumbs.
  • Shape the spinach mixture into patties.  In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat.  In batches, fry the patties, turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. 
  • Drain on paper towels.  Serve warm with lemon wedges