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!

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH WILD RICE

The nights where I get home late, it's especially hard to throw together dinner when my mind is full & fatigued but my stomach is not. I find it fitting that the nights where you need a homemade meal the most is when you're the most incapable of doing so.  I try to make a point in these moments to find the simplest dish (1 pot max, if that) that my brain can just barely wrap it's head around. If I can muster up a few minutes to continue standing on my feet to grate a garlic clove and chop an onion, I can have a homemade meal that my soul and stomach with thank me for.

That's where always having eggs on hand comes in handy. For weeknight meals that only begin to cook at 8pm, I need something swift & hearty that won't take an hour. I love frittatas for this reason, and when you have an extra 5-7 minutes, shakshuka (for when you need a punch of flavor). So, a recipe for one (very pretty) skillet meal that will give you quick homemade meals when you need it most.

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4  1 cup forbidden rice, dried  2 teaspoon olive oil  3 garlic cloves, minced   2 jalapeños, minced  1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons  1 shallot, minced  28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes  1 teaspoon ras el hanout  2 teaspoons harissa  1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika  pinch of cayenne pepper  1/2 lemon, juice   3-4 large eggs  1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped  2 oz feta cheese, crumbled  Sea salt to taste  Freshly ground pepper     Heat your oven to 350 degrees.       In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.     In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.     Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SPICED SHAKSHUKA WITH FORBIDDEN RICE (Gluten-free) Serves 4

  • 1 cup forbidden rice, dried
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 leek, halved & sliced into half moons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 3-4 large eggs
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  

In a medium saucepan, add forbidden rice and 1 3/4 cup of filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low and cover for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, covered.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeños, leek & shallot.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until.  Pour in can of tomatoes and 1/2 cup water along with all spices.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix together well, then let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Use your wooden spoon to break down big hunks of tomato.

Gently crack eggs into the pan (use a wooden spoon to make room).  Once the eggs just begin to set, add the cast iron skillet to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until whites are completely set, but yolks are still soft.  Top with cilantro, feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with a heaping of forbidden rice to sop up the juices.  Eat immediately!

SUMMER CORN & HEIRLOOM SALAD WITH SPICY BREADCRUMBS, GOAT CHEESE & TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE

It's been a busy Summer in terms of cooking.  I have not missed a weekend at the farmer's market & have been chasing heirloom tomatoes along with every single kind of seasonal fruit.  I can say I've pretty much been subsisting on those two food groups exclusively.

For New Yorkers, it's a real luxury to have this much amazing food in season at one time.  I try to explain to my family in California, but they just don't understand.  "There's such a buzz in the air! Everyone is so happy about tomatoes!" We definitely couldn't handle this all year round, it's true.

Besides eating plums standing up in my kitchen, I've mostly been assembling random salads all Summer long.  Since I was raised in Southern California, I have very little food heritage except maybe sprouts on sandwiches and mexican food all day/everyday.  So for me, putting salsa verde on basically a panzanella, is not weird at all.  I highly suggest it - it's my favorite end-of-Summer salad.

SUMMER CORN & HEIRLOOM SALAD WITH SPICY BREADCRUMBS, GOAT CHEESE & TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE (Gluten-free)

This salsa recipe will make a ton & I suggest you put it on anything and everything.  Tacos, hippie bowls, eggs, etc.  You'll thank me later!

Tomatillo Salsa Verde:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, de-husked
  • 1 small sweet onion, halved
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-2 limes
  • 4 scallion stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, de-seeded optional
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro leaves (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional.

Salad:

  • 5-6 slices gluten-free bread, cubed
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 6 oz. heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 radishes, shaved
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add garlic, tomatillos and onion to a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil.  Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tomatillos are softened.  Set aside to cool.

Once roasted vegetables have cooled a bit, add to a food processor with lime juice, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro & honey.  Blend until smooth & well-combined.  Set aside.

Use the same sheet pan (wipe down if messy) and toss bread cubes with olive oil, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper (to taste).  Toast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and extra toasty (not at all soft).

While bread toasts, add husked corn to a large pot.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until corn becomes yellow and tender.  Remove with tongs & add to a colander. Rinse with cold water & set aside to cool.

Once corn has cooled, slice kernels off the cob & add to a platter or serving bowl.  Add sliced heirloom tomatoes, radish, chives & a few hunks of goat cheese.  Season to taste.  Grab a handful of toasted bread cubes & crumble them in your hands over the dish (and leave some cubed, for texture).  Top with tomatillo salsa verde & serve immediately!