Some of my favorite at-home dinners are the ones that come together at the last minute, using what’s in my fridge and pantry. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s as if I’m a contestant of my own episode of Food Network's Chopped and the stakes are nearly as high. The outcome could be a great meal, but there’s always the chance of failure and subsequent order of Chinese take-out. I hate waste, so more likely than anything, I just eat what I make, for better or worse.
Challenge: 1 can of chickpeas, 1 jar of peanut butter, 1 bunch of kale and cinnamon seasoning.
Serves: at least 2 people; more if additional sides prepared.
I call this my Vegetarian Salad with a Turkish Twist!
Vegetarian Salad Recipe with a Turkish Twist
1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 1/2 cups unsalted mixed nuts and seeds (nuts: cashews, walnuts, pistachios, almonds; needs: sunflower, pumpkin)
1/2 cup raisins and/or craisins (dried cranberries)
5 cups kale
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp. peanut butter
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Salt and black pepper
In a skillet on medium heat, I combined a few tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, kale and tomatoes. Next, I added salt and black pepper to taste. Once the kale started to wilt, I added chopped garlic, chickpeas and cinnamon. So important not to burn garlic; it’s a meal-breaker!
After a few minutes, when the chickpeas gave off a cooked aroma, I added the rest of the extra virgin olive oil and peanut butter. It’s a good idea to put the lid on for a minute or two to allow the peanut butter to melt and become more of a “sauce”. A minute or so later, I added the nuts and dried fruit and covered the pan again for another few minutes. (I wanted the dried fruit warm and soft, and the nuts to maintain their crunchy texture.)
Once everything appeared to be cooked, I moved the skillet off the flame. It’s ready to be served and consumed immediately. To enhance the meal, I added some roasted red pepper hummus as a side to the Mediterranean salad. Love those chickpeas!
If you dare to make this yourself, feel free to add your favorite vegetables and seasonings. If I went shopping to make this specific meal, I’d probably add some colorful bell peppers, zucchini and red onion…maybe even a pinch of cumin or turmeric. If I wasn’t in such a hurry to eat, I’d also make a green salad or accompany the meal with a roasted vegetable. Whatever works for you is great! After all, if you cater the meal to tastes, you’ll be more likely to repeat the meal yourself.
This vegetarian salad was not only easy to make, but easy to clean up; I only used one pan to assemble the entire meal. And as the biggest benefit of all, this salad happens to be pretty good for you, too. It’s a good source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamin E. I can’t imagine this is a low-calorie meal, but please remember that “good fats” are crucial in any healthy diet. If you eat this in moderation, or as a side to a salad, it can be a great staple.
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