Detox Monday: Mediterranean Chickpea Bowl

It took me about a week to recover from Thanksgiving with my family in Des Moines. After having cake or pie after every dinner, and then random bites of pumpkin bars in between, a detox is needed right now more than ever. Or at least a dessert detox! The sugar influx was a clear sign that the holidays are indeed here. Our December calendar is quickly filling up with fun plans; this means that the more healthy meals we can squeeze in in between all the indulging, the better.

As part of this Monday’s detox, I’m starting the week with a Mediterranean Chickpea Bowl. I really hope you love this dish as much as I do! I’ve made this recipe several times, and I’ll continue to rely on it for a healthy, flavor-packed vegetarian meal. We have fun with this because it’s fully customizable to each person’s liking. I start my bowl by topping the whole wheat couscous with the baked chickpeas, followed by a generous serving of tomato-cucumber salad, a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts, and finally a heavy-handed drizzle of lemon tahini sauce. Once all the toppings are added, I mix everything together for a delicious one-bowl meal. You can make it your own by adding crumbled feta in place of the tahini sauce, or by subbing roasted broccoli and cauliflower for the tomato-cucumber salad. My husband likes to add sriracha to the top of his bowl. There are so many different ways you can build your bowl!  I will admit, it does take a little while to prepare each component of this dish, but its not difficult and the reward is a Mediterranean Chickpea Bowl that tastes just as good today as it does left over. How do you plan to build you bowl?!

(P.S. Please excuse my iPhone pics; I left my DSLR in Iowa!)

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Mediterranean Chickpea Bowl

Serving Size: 4-6

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Baked Chickpeas with Pita Chips

What You Need

  • 2 15-ounce cans cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika or sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, spoonful of harissa or a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce (all adjusted to your heat preference)
  • Few gratings fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • For Tomato-Cucumber Salad
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (could also use fresh mint or cilantro as an addition if desired)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • For Lemon Tahini Sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons tahini sauce from Trader Joe's or tahini (if using tahini, consider adding 1 minced garlic clove; the TJ's sauce already has garlic in it)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt
  • 4-6 servings of cooked whole wheat couscous; could also use quinoa or brown rice for gluten free

What To Do

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, heat olive oil in the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and saute garlic and onions together for 3 to 4 minutes more, until everything is wilted. Add spices, zest and salt and cook with onions and garlic for one minute.
  2. Add drained chickpeas and broth to pot. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for one full minute. Place a lid on the pot and transfer it carefully to the oven. Bake chickpeas for 20-30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Once chickpeas are baked, stir in 2 tablespoons or more of chopped fresh parsley.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions.
  4. Prepare tomato-cucumber salad: Peel cucumber, slice in half the long way and using a spoon, scrape out inside seeds. Dice cucumber and place in a bowl. Dice tomatoes and add to cucumber. Add chopped red onion and 1/4 cup of chopped parsley to other vegetables. Mix together and dress with juice from 1/2 lemon, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to adjust proportions of vegetables and dressing to taste.
  5. Prepare lemon tahini sauce: Whisk 3 tablespoons Trader Joe's tahini sauce or well-stirred tahini in the bottom of a bowl. Whisk in the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 minced garlic clove (optional) and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup plain yogurt until smooth. Season with salt. Taste, and add more tahini sauce or anything else as needed.
  6. Toast pine nuts: Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven while the chickpeas bake for 5 minutes, tossing once or twice to toast unevenly. Let cool.
  7. To assemble, place a scoop of couscous in the bottom of the bowl, top with chickpeas, tomato-cucumber salad, toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of lemon tahini sauce.
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