Orecchiette with Greens, Mozzarella & Crispy Chickpeas

I love a recipe that gobbles up the greens from my CSA share. I have made this dish a couple of times using whatever combination of greens I had available. Recently, I used turnip greens, kale and spinach but I have also used chard and baby collard greens in the past. The classic combination of basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella was a nice complement to the sautéed greens as well.

This quick dish was adapted from a Food and Wine staff favorite recipe, contributed by Marcie Turney. I doubled the recipe, decreased the red pepper flakes, and increased amount of fresh mozzarella. SO delicious.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound greens such as Swiss chard, kale, turnip greens, spinach, stemmed and leaves coarsely chopped (or more, as desired)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 16 large basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium, deep skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the chickpeas and cook over high heat until crisp, 4 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel–lined plate, sprinkle with the cumin and coriander and season with salt and black pepper. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, 3 minutes.
  5. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring until incorporated.
  7. Add the mozzarella and basil and toss. Add more pasta water, if necessary.
  8. Spoon the pasta into bowls, sprinkle with the chickpeas and serve.

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Four Years Ago:

Vegetarian Harira

This is a vegetarian version of Harira, a traditional, savory Moroccan soup. It is incredibly full-flavored- loaded with spices and legumes.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I added fresh lemon juice, used canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried garbanzo beans, and increased the amount of garlic. Tanis recommends serving the soup the day after it is prepared in order to allow the flavors to meld.

We ate it with warm naan and green salad. It was hearty, healthy, filling, and delicious.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced, about 2 cups
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 (3-inch) piece cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned (I used 2 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled dried fava beans or 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ¼ pound angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Put olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, saffron and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Add tomatoes, celery leaves and cilantro and bring to a brisk simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and dried faves or soaked chickpeas.
  6. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, covered with the lid ajar.
  7. Let soup simmer for 30 minutes, then taste broth and adjust salt.
  8. Cook for 1 hour more at a gentle simmer, until the legumes are soft and creamy. It may be necessary to add more liquid from time to time to keep soup from being too porridge-like. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. (With every addition of water, taste and adjust for salt.)
  9. Just before serving, add pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add fresh lemon juice.
  11. Ladle soup into small bowls and pass lemon wedges for squeezing, as desired.
Note: The soup may be made in advance and refrigerated. (This is recommended!) If it thickens, thin with water or broth when reheating, and adjust the salt.

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Falafel-Spiced Heirloom Tomatoes & Chickpeas on Flatbread

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I am bringing you this wonderful dish as a guest post of sorts. I had my eye on this recipe, and my friend brought it to share at a dinner at my house. It was so pretty and tasty, we decided I had to share it! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. My friend doubled the heirloom tomatoes and cut them slightly thicker. She also used lemon zest as well as sumac in the seasonings. Warm naan was substituted for the flatbread in the original recipe (although I included the instructions below). My mistake was suggesting that we should warm the naan in the oven. Next time, grilling or toasting the naan until crispy before assembly would allow it to hold up a little better to the slathering of delicious toppings. 🙂

The beautiful summer tomatoes really shine in this dish!

Yield: 4 as a vegetarian main course or 8 to 10 as an appetizer

For the Tomatoes & Chickpeas:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sumac (and/or lemon zest)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more
  • 2 to 4 large heirloom tomatoes, any color, thinly sliced
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 Persian cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Flatbread & Assembly:

  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Tomatoes And Chickpeas:

  1. Combine garlic, sumac (& lemon zest, if using), red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, and 1 tsp. salt in a small bowl.
  2. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle garlic mixture evenly over top. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Toss chickpeas and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mash chickpeas with a fork until about half are smashed. Add shallot, parsley, and oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Yogurt Sauce:

  1. Combine cucumber, yogurt, mint, and parsley in a medium bowl; season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes.
    Do Ahead: Yogurt sauce can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover and chill.

To Make the Flatbread: (Alternatively, substitute 4 pieces of full-size naan, grilled or toasted until crisp.)

  1. Whisk baking powder, sugar, 2 cups flour, and 2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add yogurt and stir to combine (the yogurt’s acidity ensures a tender texture).
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Divide into 4 pieces, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes (this will make dough easier to roll).
  3. Working one at a time, roll out each piece of dough into a round about ⅛” thick. (Don’t stress: They don’t need to be perfect.)
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Working one at a time, cook rounds of dough until underside is golden brown and flatbread is beginning to puff, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is golden brown, about 1 minute longer; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and rounds of dough. Let cool slightly.

To Assemble:

  1. Top each flatbread with yogurt sauce, chickpea mixture, and tomatoes. Drizzle with more oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut into wedges and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Spicy Israeli Couscous with Summer Squash

This side dish is delicious warm or cold. It has a little bit of spice from the red pepper flakes, but the amount can be easily adjusted to taste. I use Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous blend which also includes red quinoa, split dried garbanzo beans, and orzo. We ate it with grilled Palestinian chicken and green salad- a gold standard Middle Eastern meal in our house! The recipe was adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

  • 1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous
  • 1 3/4 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow summer squash (or 1 small)
  • 1 cup diced zucchini (or 1 small)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used sweet curry powder)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Bring stock to a boil and then add couscous. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.  (Yields 3 cups of cooked couscous.)
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add and sauté the squash, zucchini, red onion, and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas and spices. Then gently stir in the cooked couscous. Cook until hot, about 8 minutes.
  4. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Hummus

Hummus

We usually have hummus around as a dinner alternative for my daughter.  When she objects to what is being served, she is always agreeable to have hummus with vegetables and flatbread.  We also serve it as an appetizer, and eat it on sandwiches with lettuce and shredded carrots. I always use the recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook – a gold standard. I make 2 modifications to this recipe- I add some of the bean liquid to make the hummus more creamy, and I warm the beans in their liquid in the microwave for 2 minutes before pureeing.  Melissa Clark, a New York Times food writer, suggested warming the beans to make the hummus more creamy- it really works.

  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • a handful of parsley or basil
  • 1 scallion, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (warmed)
  • 3 T tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne, cumin, paprika, to taste
  1. Place garlic, parsley/basil, and scallion in a food processor or blender, and mince.
  2. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, some of the bean liquid, and salt, and puree to a thick paste.
  3. Season to taste, if desired, with cayenne, paprika, and cumin (and correct the salt if necessary).  Transfer to a tightly lidded container and chill.

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