Pantry Staple Pasta Sauce

We returned from a short vacation Friday night and Saturday was filled with all the errands except for grocery shopping. As a dinner time approached I turned to the cupboard to see what kind of thing I could cobble together.

Lentils and chickpeas provide a bit of protein in a vegetarian dish. We served it with some grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

Pantry Staple Pasta Sauce
Servings: 4+
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
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Cucumber and Bean Salad with Citrus Dressing

I wanted a side dish that would combine some fresh vegetables (cukes/peppers) with some easy protein (canned beans). The dressing is based on one from FoodTV; they used it on a different salad however I liked the sound of it and it worked out well.

Cucumber and Bean Salad with citrus dressing
Servings: 8-12
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 14.5 oz. can black beans
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Rinse the chickpeas and black beans, add to a bowl with the cucumbers and red peppers.
  2. In a jar combine the remaining ingredients, shake well. Pour about half of the dressing over the vegetables, toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with remaining dressing available for those who want it.

Notes:
The vegetables can be combined up to 2 hours in advance and the the dressing can similarly be made up to a day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.

I used Goya low-sodium chickpeas and black beans in this dish. If you aren’t using low-sodium beans then you might want to cut the kosher salt by half in the dressing.

Spanish Chickpeas

I made this for our Saturday night gathering recently and it was a hit. It is based on a recipe I found in Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. I adjusted a couple of ingredients and written the recipe up in my own words.

Spanish Chickpeas
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 lg. red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, soy sauce, Sriracha and paprika in a blender. Puree until smooth and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened.
  3. Add the tomato mixture and the chickpeas. Stir to combine and heat for about 10 minutes. You want the chickpeas to be warmed through.
  4. Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, and serve.

Notes:
I used Meyer lemons on my first attempt at this dish. It look 7 Meyer lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice. For regular sized lemons I’d normally need 2-3. Since regular lemons are more acidic than Meyer lemons I might add a tablespoon of honey to the puree mixture.

I prepped the tomato mixture an hour or more before cooking the dish and stashed it in the fridge. It made things less hectic at dinner time and, I suspect, gave the components in the sauce a chance to mingle.

Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad

This dish was well received at our holiday party. The curry flavor plays well with the sweetness of the papaya. The chickpeas kind of blend in to the background, hiding with the rice and cashews, while the papaya, peas and scallions catch your attention. Very filling and tasty.

Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes (see note)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped chutney
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 4 cups plain white rice, cooled
  • 1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped cashews, toasted
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced on a bias (green and white parts)
  • fruit from 1 papaya, cubed

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine the yogurt, mayo, curry, chutney, ginger and salt until well blended. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the remaining ingredients. Add dressing and gently stir to distribute.

Notes:
Make the rice up to the night before, cool to room temp and refrigerate overnight. If you include that time in this recipe then it’s probably closer to 1 hour 20 minutes total.

In addition to making the rice the night before this recipe can be prepped up 6 hours in advance. Make the dressing and refrigerate it. Combine the rest of the ingredients except the cashews and refrigerate that. When ready to serve just add the cashews and dressing to the rest of the salad, combine and plate.

This recipe is adapted from a great book I picked up years ago named Something for Everyone. The premise was to provide recipes that would make a dish for a family of vegetarians and non-vegetarians from one recipe. It appears to no longer be in print.

Salsa Chickpeas

Necessity is the mother of blah, blah, blah. Or something along those lines. The end of daylight saving time has messed up my pool of both desire to do much after work and my inspiration. Faced with both I turned to the cupboard for a weeknight dinner this week and came up with the following. I can envision making this again.

Salsa Chickpeas
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa
  • 2 15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the salsa, chickpeas and 1/2 a cup of water. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and partially cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Test flavor, adjust with salt and black pepper as needed. Serve over white rice.

Notes:
I used Newman’s Own Medium Salsa and Goya low-sodium chickpeas in this. We usually have both in the pantry.

Weeknight Chickpeas

We try to have at least one vegetarian meal each week and when I’m at a loss for what to make I turn to chickpeas. This dish is similar to the Chickpea side dish recipe I posted years back. The flavor profile is different and it makes a filling meal with some rice.

Weeknight Chickpeas
Servings: 2-4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper, halved, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and pressed
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz.can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and peppers. Sprinkle with salt, stir to coat in oil and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant. Add the spices, incorporate and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, a big pinch of salt and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Taste; chickpeas should be slightly firm outside and creamy inside. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper as desired. Serve up on a pile of white rice.

Notes:
I prefer to use Goya Reduced-Sodium Chickpeas for this dish.

A half tablespoon of acid, such as cider vinegar, stirred in to the chickpeas at the end of cooking will enhance the flavor of the dish.

Slow-Cooker Curried Chickpeas

One of the reasons I share the list of what we made for our Saturday night gatherings is so I have a way to recall what we made previously. This dish is based on a recipe I found a year ago which I made, liked and forgot about. I’ve tweaked it a bit to use the spices we had on hand and adjusted the ratios for the amount I was making for Saturday night dinner.

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