CHICKPEA, SWEET CORN & CHERRY TOMATO TOSTADAS WITH AVOCADO CILANTRO PESTO

As a native Californian (southern), I gravitate towards two things: mexican food & hippie vegetarian.  Although I’m technically an omnivore, you’d never know because I crave birdseed, salads and use chickpeas/peas/beans/lentils (also known as PULSES), as my main protein source.   

I’ve collaborated with USA Pulses & Pulse Canada for their *Half-Cup Campaign* in attempt to inspire us all to eat more pulses (do you need a reason!?).  I will add a chickpea to pretty much anything, but if you need inspiration for more recipes, try here or the PULSES official site for more ideas.  

These tacos are fresh and Californian, light enough for summer with a creamy/spicy sauce you’ll want to put on everything.   It's favorite weeknight meal to date that's quick & perfect for busy days.

CHICKPEA, SWEET CORN & CHERRY TOMATO TOSTADAS WITH AVOCADO CILANTRO SAUCE (Serves 4) gluten-free, vegan

Tostadas are one of my favorite weeknight meals that are quick to throw together in 20 minutes or less and have a huge flavor payoff.  I make this same recipe with whatever bean or lentil I have on hand (pinto/black beans are great!).  Perfect for busy nights or when all you have in your pantry is a can of beans and vegetable scraps on their last leg.

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 spring or red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 ears of corn, sliced off the cob
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas 
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon tamari 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Shredded red cabbage, to top (opt.)
  • Hot sauce, to serve
  • Limes, to serve

Avocado Cilantro Pesto:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Splash of water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic, onion and jalapeño, stirring often until they begin to soften - about 3-4 minutes.  Then, add corn, chickpeas, tamari, lime, spices and seasoning.  Stir well to combine and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cherry tomatoes.

Add tortillas in a single layer, straight on to the baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crisp (hard) and browned.  Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, make avocado cilantro sauce:  Add all items to a blender and blend until smooth, adding extra water as needed to blend.

To serve, spread avocado sauce over each tostada, layer a heaping spoonful of chickpea mixture, then top with red cabbage, hot sauce, and a squeeze of lime.  Continue with remaining tortillas. Serve immediately!

THIS POST HAS BEEN SPONSORED BY USA PULSES & PULSE CANADA, TWO ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO INSPIRING US ALL TO EAT MORE PLANT-BASED MEALS.  AS ALWAYS, OPINIONS ARE ALL MY OWN.  THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE BRANDS THAT SUPPORT SASSY KITCHEN!

PRESERVED LEMON GRAIN BOWL

Whenever I’m seeking comfort at dinnertime, I usually end up with a hodgepodge of quinoa, vegetables and some tahini sauce with enough accoutrements to make up for the initial simplicity.  It's a meal I have on repeat, changing up the grain or type of lentil depending on what I have on hand.  They’re uncomplicated, nourishing meals that do the trick when you need warmth (literally and figuratively) in a bowl.

When I’m really in the mode to make “weeknight” dinner into something a little more spectacular than a Topanga Canyon macro bowl, enter preserved lemons.  These salty-sweet lemons are the older/wiser cousin of fresh lemons with an almost indescribable aroma.   Although usually found at specialty food stores, it’s just as easy to make them at home (with a little or a lot of patience). You can make them authentically, quick-preserved or even “pickled” like Ottolenghi. I use them most in my self-described "hippie bowls" to add something lively (when you need some extra inspiration in your life). It's a weeknight win-win.

Grain Bowl with Preserved Lemons (gluten-free, dairy-free opt.) Serves 4

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 3 preserved lemons, rinds only & diced small (save pulp for another use)
  • 4-5 kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped 
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 8 dried apricots, diced
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  • Black sesame gomasio, to top (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

Tahini Miso Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water, depending on desired consistency

In a saucepan, add chickpeas and enough water to cover by about 4 inches.  Bring to a boil, then cover and let sit for one hour.  This method is a quick way to eliminate soaking overnight. Once the hour is up, bring to a boil then simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside to cool.

In another saucepan, add quinoa, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 14-16 minutes or until fluffy.  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth & desired consistency.

In a large serving bowl, add chickpeas, cooled quinoa, sunflower seeds, diced preserved lemons, kale, herbs, and dried apricot.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and mix well to combine.  Top the grain bowl with crumbled feta and gomasio (optional).  Finish each serving with a generous drizzle of tahini miso dressing.  Serve immediately!

ROASTED CHICKPEA BOWL WITH FETA, ARUGULA & CASTELVETRANO OLIVE TAPENADE

Summer can be best described as me chasing the remains of my fridge.  I'm constantly at the market overbuying, planning one too many food projects & ending up with a long list of produce on the brink of losing its luster.  This is an ongoing plight for me ( & one I don't particularly mind). With all the amazing things in season right now, I simply can't get enough.

My method of late is just throwing everything over some kind of green.  Much like a hippie bowl, but a little lighter and more salad-y (and perfect for warmer weather).  I love these hearty salads with a quick pesto or tapenade, which luckily is also an amazing way to use those almost-too-wilted herbs.  Remember, with a bowl, literally anything goes.  

ROASTED CHICKPEA BOWL WITH FETA, ARUGULA & CASTELVETRANO OLIVE TAPENADE (Serves 2-4) Gluten-free

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons red harissa seasoning
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. castelvetrano olives (+ 1 tablespoon olive brine)
  • 2 lemons, divided
  • 2 white anchovy filets (or 4 regular anchovy filets)
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoons capers
  • 1 small handful fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 2 large handfuls baby arugula
  • 6 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, shaved
  • 3 oz. feta, crumbled
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make sure to dry chickpeas well, then add them to a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and sprinkle harissa spice over top.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste, then use your hands to coat chickpeas well.

Roast chickpeas for 40-50 minutes or until browned and crispy.  

In the meantime, pit your olives.  Using a shot glass or the palm of your hand, press firmly down on each olive to crush in half.  The pit should be easily removed after this.  Continue pitting until all olives are done.

Add olives to a food processor with theolive brine, juice & zest of one lemon, anchovy, garlic, capers, basil, flaky sea salt, cracked black pepper (to taste) and 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.  Pulse until well combined & your desired consistency.  Set aside.

In a large serving bowl, add baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, and red onion.  Toss with the juice of one lemon & a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the roasted chickpeas and toss well to combine.  Top with a few dollops of olive tapenade and crumbled feta.  Enjoy immediately.

THIS POST WAS COMMISSIONED BY USADPLC.