(Becky, the Mama.)
So, this is the story of how I ended up eating an ENTIRE CAN of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in one sitting yesterday.
My daughter’s slow and steady vegan influence upon me seems to have caught fire of late. Either that or I had some really awful meat-based meals last week. We went away to a hotel for fives days so that I could finish up my part of some detailed edits on our upcoming memoir, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook.
During my self-imposed confinement I ordered an “Asian Salad” from the hotel café –which turned out to be tasteless squares of chicken tossed in wilty Iceberg lettuce with a thick flavorless mayo-based dressing. Later, hope still afloat, I ordered a gyro, which was made from salt-less pre-cooked dry roast beef chips smothered a sauce that tasted of thickened water. I arrived home a few days later with a sudden and strange aversion to anything cut from cow or fowl. I almost kissed my fridge and pantry, so happy was I not to be at the mercy of restaurant cooks who are lacking in taste buds.
Searching for a quick meatless meal, I remembered that Rachel roasts chick peas in the oven with a little olive oil and seasoning. They are yummy and easy. “I’ll make some roasted chickpeas!” I said to myself. “I’ll get loads of protein and fiber and I won’t have to eat meat today.” (There are 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber in ½ cup of garbanzos, and a scant 125 calories.)
Well, one idea led to another and by the time I finished, I created a snack that I could not stop eating until every single bean (or pea) was gone. It began when I decided to try sautéing the garbanzos in olive oil in my trusty iron skillet. Then I threw in some sliced fresh garlic near the end of the cooking time so they could turn a golden brown (but not burn) and add extra flavor and crunch. After draining them on a paper towel, I squiggled a touch of agave nectar over them to give the beans and garlic a light sweet, sticky surface then sprinkled them with sea salt and Parmesan cheese.
These little snacks have it all going on: some crunch, some chewiness, some garlic, some salty and savory, and just a hint of sweet. They can be eaten out of hand or tossed on a salad or atop a pasta for a quick vegan or vegetarian treat.
They would go fantastic with an ice cold beer at a Super Bowl party this weekend for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. (Although vegans will need to use Vegan Parmesan Cheese, found at most health food stores. I keep this on hand for Rachel and Jared and it’s quite tasty.)
Golden Parmesan Chickpeas & Garlic Slices
1 16 oz can chick peas (or garbanzo beans), drained (I do this on a paper towel to get them as dry as possible)
¼ cup olive oil
3 to 5 garlic cloves (depending on how garlicky you like your food) peeled and sliced thin
2 t. agave nectar
Sea Salt to taste
Parmesan Cheese to taste (start with 1 Tablespoon and add more if you like)
Pour oil into a skillet and heat until very hot. Put chickpeas in skillet and let them get brown on most sides. Just before the chickpeas are ready to take out of the skillet, add the garlic slices and sauté until brown. (If the pain is dry, you can add more oil at any time.)
Drain the chick peas and garlic on a paper towel. Put into a bowl and gently toss with agave nectar. Add sea salt and Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Excellent source of protein and fiber atop salads, sandwiches or pasta.
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The Title:Golden Parmesan Chick Peas & Garlic Slices
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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
Now and then I get a hankering for something that tempts all the senses: salty/briny, sweet, garlicky, rich and tomato-y. And when I do there there’s nothing like Puttanesca sauce to satisfy.
There are hundreds of variations on Puttanesca, but basically, it is a rich marinara sauce with a touch of something salty and briny (capers, olives, anchovies, artichoke hearts, and or pepperocinis) to give it an extra tangy zip. I also like to balance the zip with something sweet — chopped sun-dried tomatoes and/or brown sugar.
I recently served this dish, innocently, to a lovely group of female friends, many of them involved with some sort of Christian ministry. They loved it, scraped the skillet clean! In attendance that night was my good friend Lucille Zimmerman who is a writer and a therapist who loves to research little known facts with the passion of Curious George. She went right home and researched the meaning of the word, “Puttanesca.” She wrote to tell me that it means — oh, how shall I say this delicately? –“prostitute, whore, ladies of night, harlot,” just choose your favorite wanton woman term. Probably not a “word of the day” you’d choose to teach your kids over pasta.
Apparently the potent aroma of this dish from Italy was so powerful that the scent lured in potential customers off the street, serving as an appetizer for, well, the other “desserts” on the menu.
Oh, well. There’s nothing I can do about the origin of this dish, but I can tell you there is something powerfully seductive about it!
Below is how I make my Puttanesca, but don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list: it is what I had on hand in the fridge. Just pull out whatever you have in your fridge or pantry — and as long as you have something salty & briny, and something sweet, to balance the basic marinara, you’ll probably love the results.
Becky’s Seductive Puttanesca Sauce
Into a medium high skillet (I love my cast iron for this) saute:
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 chopped onion in 2 T. olive oil
Throw in any mixture of the following that you have on hand, stirring after each addition. (I do highly recommend that you use the chopped artichoke hearts, to me they are the most essential ingredient!)
1/3 – 1/2 c. chopped marinated artichoke heart
1/2 c. to 1 cup, any roasted or left over vegies, diced.
1 T. capers
2 T. olives, chopped, any kind
2 T. pesto sauce (if you have it on hand… no worries if not)
2 T. chopped pepperocini peppers
2 T. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil, preferably)
1 – 2 T. brown sugar (this will depend on your taste and also how many “sour” ingredients that you put in your sauce that will need balanced by sweet)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I like the ones with basil and garlic)
1 t. Italian seasoning or oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste
Simmer until sauce is thick and chunky, then season with salt, pepper, and Italian spices to taste.
You can dress up the recipe from here and add some flavorful meat of your choice. It is delicious with ½ lb of ground beef sauteed with ½ pound Italian sausage (chicken or turkey sausage is great) tossed in. Or you can go vegan and roast garbanzo beans (see recipe below) and serve over your favorite pasta, or spaghetti squash (see instructions for this below as well). My daughter and I made this vegan version together (she suggested we try it with roasted garbanzos), and it was AWESOME.
I personally adore this sauce served over Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta (which is a wide ribbon-like pasta). I looked up the root meaning of “pappardelle” and to my great relief, it simply means “to gobble up.” Whew. Much better “Italian word of the day” for little ones.
A light sprinkle of Parmesan (Vegan Parm if you are going dairy-free) and it is ready to serve. The aroma should draw hungry folks to your kitchen in no time.
Roasted Garbanzo Beans ( Chick Peas )
Drain, rinse and pat dry a can of garbanzo beans. Pour them evenly on a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with olive oil, then roll them around. Sprinkle with salt or your favorite spiced salt. Roast at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are browned and crisped. (Shake them once or twice while baking so they can brown on two sides.)
Take a spaghetti squash and cut it in half length wise. Scoop out seeds. Put 1/2 cup water in the bottom of a big microwave proof bowl. Put one of the squash halves in the bowl, hole side up. (If it wobbles, trim a thin piece of the squash off the bottom so that it sits more level in the bowl.) Put the other squash half on top of the squash in the bowl. Don’t cover it. Just put in microwave for 10 minutes. Test done-ness by squeezing the top squash with a pot holder. If it squeezes easily, it is done. Take a fork and scrape “strings” of squash in spaghetti-like fashion.
Lightly salt, then top with sauce and roasted garbanzo beans. (You can also serve leftover spaghetti squash with butter and pepper and nutmeg for a side dish.)