This morning, attempting to be organized I decided to make a salad in bulk and use it as lunches for the next few days. So, in order for it to truly be a full healthy meal it needs to have protein, healthy carbs and some good solid veg. I decided on chickpeas for the protein, brown rice for the carbs and some very colourful veggies – spinach, zucchini and eggplant. Spinach specifically is high in anti-oxidants and will help get this entry into the fabulous ARF/5-A-Day roundup over at Sweetnicks.
Several years ago I did the backpacking across Europe thing and discovered the glory of a rice and chickpea salad at the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona. It was a cheap and simple lunch from a stand that served rice with peas and onions to which you could add various legumes. It was the first time I had really tasted chickpeas, they certainly weren’t from a can and they were memorable. Memorable enough to get me back to the market three days in a row. Even though the reason it was so good was it’s simplicity I have yet been able to properly replicate it. I suspect this is a patience problem as cooking chickpeas takes hours and I always seem to give up early. Well, this salad doesn’t solve the problem, that is for another day, but it gives me a happy reminder of some great travelling food. Nothing like eating out of a plastic container, copping a squat on a curb in a foreign country. I will leave the story of my second degree burn during a visit to one of the Gaudi buildings to another day. (Just imagine trying to mime “Burn treatments?” and understand “Don’t get it in the sun, change three times daily” with no spanish. ) Uh oh, my travelling buzzer is starting to tingle again…
[print_this]For the salad, I created a simple vinaigrette to marinate my chickpeas in while I was cooking the rice and the rest of the veggies. I just treated myself to some good quality oil and vinegar today so I needed an excuse to use it. The basic vinaigrette contained balsamic, olive oil and Dijon, and I made about 1/2C.
After draining a can of chickpeas and removing the skins I tossed them with the vinaigrette. Meanwhile I cooked 3/4C of brown rice and washed the spinach. I also prepped the eggplant and the zucchini by chopping them in quarters lengthwise then into 1/2″ pieces, salted them and placed them in a colander to drain. The eggplant will take longer then the zucchini. When the rice is done, add the spinach to the pot, stir with the rice and allow the spinach to wilt with the rice, covered and off the heat. Once the spinach is wilted add it and the rice to the chickpeas and mix.
Saute the eggplant and the zucchini – they will need different timing so I would recommend doing them separately. Add to the rest along with 3 diced scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to come to room temperature and serve. (Or if you are me, store in tupperware containers and take it to lunch tomorrow!)[/print_this]