Chickpea “Meatballs” with Crunchy Romaine Salad

As promised – a recipe!  And not only is it incredibly healthy but it’s one of the best salads that I’ve made at home.

This Mediterranean-inspired salad is packed with flavor and the chickpea “meatballs” reminded me a lot of the flavor of garlic hummus.  The meatballs were best the day you make them (aka crunchy on the outside) but don’t think I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.  Even Big Guy loved this salad.

To make the meatballs, you process the chickpeas in a food processor until ground.  Then add in the panko (I used gluten-free), cumin, paprika, garlic (I obviously used more than the recipe called for), tahini and salt.  Once smooth, add in an egg and pulse until just combined.  The mixture is then shaped into meatballs – about 1 tablespoon each – and cooked in olive oil until crisped and browned on all sides.

The salad base is simply a mix of chopped romaine, parsley (LOVE this ingredient in a salad), cucumber, grape tomatoes and red onion.  To make the dressing, simply combine a grated garlic clove, lemon juice (key ingredient), warm water, tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper.


If you’re anything like me, after the holidays (or between Christmas and New Years) you crave a big salad of goodness.  And this is just what I needed.  The flavors were out of control and my favorite bites included the garlicky meatballs and lemon tahini dressing. And as you can see from above, the bump couldn’t help but make an appearance.


Smashed Chickpea Salad Toast

Happy Friday and September!  The birthday celebrations continue this evening but today I’m spending lots of time prepping for the ECU tailgate tomorrow.  Hopefully this weekend and into next week I’ll be able to cross off a few final bucket list items before having to say “farewell” to the Summer of 2017 on Wednesday (I’m lucky that I’m able to take a couple of days off from teaching so that I can enjoy the time that Big Guy has off work).

This recipe is one that I honestly didn’t think I would share with you – I whipped it up simply because I had all the ingredients on hand and I needed a quick dinner on Thursday night after working out with a client.  However, immediately after digging in, I knew I had to share the recipe.  Y’all – this smashed chickpea salad toast is awesome.  It reminds me a lot of chicken salad and egg salad but I loved the texture from the crunchy celery and the sour pickles gave the entire batch of salad so much flavor.  The salad is not overly mayo-y thanks to lemon juice and I anticipate this becoming a lunch time meal that I keep on rotation.  You could also top a salad with the chickpea mixture or you could simply use crackers to scoop instead of using bread.


I hope you all have a wonderful looonnngggg weekend and if I disappear at the beginning of the week, don’t be alarmed.  Cheers!

Skillet Ratatouille

Earlier this week I prepared this dinner in an effort to use up some of our summer squash that I have more of than I can eat.  This dinner is a great make-ahead meal and you can easily reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.  I’ve been eating this all week long since Big Guy was traveling for work.  And trust me, you’ll have leftovers – this recipe makes a ton of stew.

Semi-drained diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes with chiles for an extra something-something) and combined with the drained and rinses chickpeas and set aside.

Sauté garlic in EVOO along with chopped red onion, red bell pepper, squash and eggplant.  (I doubled the amount of squash and left out the zucchini.)  Once tender, stir in the tomatoes and chickpeas along with a little salt and cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover the pan and add a splash of red wine vinegar and paprika and cook until slightly thickened.


Topped with a fresh sprinkle of basil, this dinner is a great way to let your summer vegetables shine.

What’s growing in your garden?

Chickpeas with Spiced Carrots, Dates and Pistachios

Let me introduce you to my new favorite refrigerator staple:  Chickpeas with Spiced Carrots, Dates and Pistachios.


This salad comes together in no more than 10 minutes and it’s the perfect lunch or light dinner.  In fact, I cannot wait to eat leftovers for lunch today.  Prep this salad on Sunday and you’ll be able to eat on it all week long.

This no-cook salad involves one bowl and a simple list of ingredients.

The “dressing” is a quick mix of EVOO, cumin, cinnamon (!!!) and a little salt.  The powerhouse ingredients include canned chickpeas (if you use dried, more power to you), shredded carrots, chopped dates, cilantro and pistachios.  I served the salad on a bed of lettuce last night and an extra sprinkle of flaky salt.

It’s sweet, it’s crunchy, it’s savory, it’s salty and it’s full of good-for you stuff.




Bowl of Chickpeas

Okay, there was more than chickpeas in the bowl.

A whole lot more than chickpeas.

I agree, there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe but it’s so worth the effort.

Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas and Carrots on Quinoa.

When I was drying the chickpeas (simply drain the chickpeas then let them dry on a baking sheet that’s layered with paper towels) Big Guy was very intrigued.  I also learned he loves chickpeas.  A lot.  He wouldn’t keep his paws off.  And no, I didn’t bake the chickpeas for this recipe – though that is delicious.

Stir-fry the chickpeas in about 2 tablespoons canola oil until browned (about 3 or so minutes).  Then removed the chickpeas and wipe down the skillet with a paper towel to remove the excess oil.  Add the remaining oil and stir-fry the bell pepper, carrots and jalapeno.

Then add all the spices (I used ground cumin, not cumin seed) and stir-fry a little more.  Then pour on the broth mixture (veggie broth, lemon rind, lemon juice and tomato paste).

P.S.  If you’ve never used tomato paste in a tube, I recommend you start.  It allows you to use small amounts without wasting a whole little can.  Simply store the tube in the fridge.

Oh and while all this was going on, quinoa was cooking on the stove-top.  Feel free to sub in rice or couscous.  You simple need a place for your chickpeas to lay.

Allow the chickpea mixture to thicken up a bit and then serve with cilantro.

Every bite was full of flavor.  Brightness from the lemon.  The cumin added a little smokiness and complexity.  And the little quinoa seeds were a perfect bed for the chickpeas.

This also made incredible leftovers for a salad topper.  Just throwin’ that out there.