Roasted Eggplant Salad

Like many out there, I tend to fixate on one ingredient for a few weeks and act like the world revolves around that single creation of nature.

“Why don’t you want to try my salmon skin milkshake? Are you seriously telling me that you’ve reached max capacity for Omega-3s today? Chug-a-lug, brah.”

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I haven’t gotten sick of chick peas yet, which have been my recent light-of-my-life, love-of-my-world item. Baked, fried, mashed, sauteed, pureed; wherever the wind takes you with these gold nuggets is heavenly, so I keep my shelves stocked with 5-6 cans. More if I can eat other things to make way for cases upon cases of garbanzo bliss.

This salad is great on toast or with any additionals you have lying around. The original recipe didn’t call for chick peas or avocado (which was just crazy talk), so I took the liberty of adding liberal amounts of both.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Chick Peas, Avocado, and Goat Cheese

adapted slightly from The Kitchn

3 small eggplants
3 T cider vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 T honey
1 t paprika
1/2 t cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T lemon juice
2 T soy sauce
3/4 c toasted almonds, or smoked, coarsely chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
2 scallions, sliced finely

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop the eggplant into 1-in cubes. Place in a strainer in the sink and sprinkle generously with salt. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, paprika, cumin, and garlic. Pat the eggplant dry and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the eggplant and stir to coat evenly, then spread evenly onto two baking sheets (use parchment paper for easy clean up). Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce, then pour over the eggplant in a large bowl and stir to coat. Add the beans, almonds, cheese, and avocado; stir to combine. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve warm.

It’s kind of like crack, but you didn’t hear it from me.

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Crunchy, Crispy Chick Peas

This is a fantastically tasty, addictive, and healthy snack to have in your back pocket. I ate one can’s worth for dinner a few weeks ago and, although I was stuffed, I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it.

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The key to getting the beans to crisp is to dry them thoroughly before tossing them in the oil-spice mixture. If they are moist then they will not brown and you’ll have a bit of a soggy mess to deal with.

I like them with the below mix of spices, but you can mix it up and go with just garlic-rosemary, maple-cayenne, dill-dry mustard, etc.

Crunchy Chick Peas

borrowed from Menu Musings

1 15-oz can chick peas, rinsed, drained, and dried
2 T olive oil
1T minced garlic or 1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt (because canned beans are usually salted, be careful with how much you add in)
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t Italian seasonings
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix the oil and all of the seasonings except for the rosemary. Add the chick peas and turn to coat them thoroughly. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Shake them up a bit and bake for another 10 minutes, or until sizzling and crispy. Take them out and toss with the rosemary and, if you like, some grated Parmesan cheese.

They will be very hot, so try to resist. I know– it’s very difficult. I burned my mouth because I have the patience of an angry rhino.

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After making such a splendid batch of pesto it seemed like a royal shame to have it sit alone in the fridge without a playmate. Being the generous and obliging soul I am, I decided that hummus would be a fitting companion. So I went to work.  And do you know what I discovered?  Do you know what hit me over the head like a drunken polar bear as I licked my greedy little fingers clean of chick-pea delight? This simple beast is not so simple. It’s a real JERK sometimes.

I can never seem to imitate it, and that scares me.

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