Full of Beans

5 Jun

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Have you ever heard that expression before? I remember my mom using it growing up to say that me or my sister were kind of silly/crazy. Although I would describe myself as being “full of beans” in the crazy sense quite often, that’s not what this post is about, it’s more in the literal sense. Winking smile The beans in question? Garbanzos (aka chickpeas). I am a BIG fan of canned beans. For 99 cents (if you buy no-name), you can get 4 servings of a protein and fibre-packed food that is both tasty and extremely versatile. Win, win! So that’s one layer of the post title. The second meaning comes later on, keep reading and scrolling.

I love healthy eating/cooking blogs (and some not-so”healthy” ones too). Seriously, I don’t know what I did without them. While I come up with many of my own meal ideas, I love getting ideas and inspirations from all you other brilliant bloggers out there. I sometimes think there’s not enough hours in the day to read all the blogs I love! So when I saw this recipe over at Oh She Glows, it immediately piqued my interest. Fresh herbs? Chickpeas? Lime and cumin? I’m in. But the funny thing is, Angela adapted it from another blog, then I adapted it from her. Follow the link for the original recipe, below is what I did.

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Cilantro (and other herb) Lime Chickpea Salad (adapted from Angela who adapted it from Heather)

Makes 2 small or one large serving

1/2 can chickpeas, drained

Fresh cilantro, parsley and chives (I didn’t think I had enough cilantro yet in my garden to go ALL cilantro. Also, the original recipe called for fresh spinach, which I didn’t have, so I upped the herb-age).

About 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped red onion

One clove garlic, chopped

Small spoonful of Dijon mustard

Generous pinch of cumin

Lime juice

Fat-free Italian recipe (original called for olive oil, I swapped it out for this)

Splenda (swapped in for sugar in original)

Salt and Pepper to tasteIMG_1623

Process all ingredients except chickpeas, onion, salt and pepper in food processor (action shot). 

Combine the dressing with the chickpeas and onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit in the fridge for a bit if you have time to develop flavours.

I used this in lunches 2 days in a row last week as part of a larger, “enhanced” salad (I know, more salads, but I warned you)!

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Salad one (on the left) was a basic Romaine and fresh veggie salad (plus more fresh herb-age) with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side, which I poured over right before serving. Good, but not WOW.

Salad 2 on the other hand, really hit the spot. This one was a “combine-with-dressing the night before and let sit” kinda deal. Lightly cooked asparagus, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, fresh parsley and chives, broccoli slaw mix, red pepper. Dressing: the “juice” from the chickpea salad, a bit more lime juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon, fat-free Italian, salt and pepper. Mmmmm! Those flavours combined and marinated to absolute perfection. This was Friday’s lunch, where I was supplying at a track and field day, so my multiple ice packs kept this nice and chilled in my bag and I was SO ready to dive in at lunch time!

My only “downside” to this chickpea salad was that I wish that I had enjoyed it on its own/in something that allowed its flavours to stand out a bit more. I liked what I did, but I don’t feel like I really let the chickpea salad take the starring role that it could have.IMG_1627

Now, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I DO NOT like letting food go to waste. You also might know (although I haven’t mentioned it as often) that I have sort of a fear/paranoia about slimy canned beans. So, once a can is opened (sometimes even before), I am thinking about how I can incorporate the rest of the can into upcoming meals. Case in point: the aforementioned garbanzos.

I had seen the idea for the salad and wanted to make it, but didn’t want to make the whole one-can batch as originally posted. What to do with the other half of the can? Make a seriously delicious veggie-packed vegetarian (and even vegan if you leave off the cheese)-friendly pasta dish, naturally! Here’s how it all went down (this recipe serves 2). IMG_1628

I sautéed chopped asparagus, mushrooms, onion and garlic in 2 tsp olive oil in a non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, then added the remaining little bit of a can of tomatoes that was in the fridge. I reduced heat, added salt and pepper, then let it simmer away.

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Meanwhile, I cooked 4 ounces whole wheat macaroni. Towards the end of the sauce cooking, I added in a cup of chickpeas (the other half of the can), and generous portions of fresh oregano, basil and parsley. *Fresh herb tip: add fresh herbs right at the end of cooking time. While you can add dried herbs in early, fresh herbs have a more delicate flavour, which can be cooked out if you add too early.IMG_1630

Add the cooked pasta, and a bit of that starchy cooking water (thanks Rachael Ray), crank the heat back up, and simmer for just a few more minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.

 

 

 

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Spoon into bowls to serve, and top with crumbled goat cheese (unless you’re going vegan). Mmmm….so good! Fibre-packed and full of veggies. Healthy, fresh, and incredibly delicious. I believe my mom’s words after eating this were: “that was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know it yet.” Smile

Now for the second meaning of this title….

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Know what these are? If you guessed the bean plants in my garden, you’re right! This is what they look like 1.5 weeks after the seeds are planted. One is yellow, one green (can you guess which is which Smile with tongue out?). I just love planting things and watching them grow! Even better when I know I will get to eat them eventually!

What is your favourite bean dish (using canned beans or otherwise)?

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