Main Course – Chickpeas with a side of Zucchini Squash

Yes, chickpeas — or garbanzo beans– can be made into the main course of a meal. That is, with the help of the Turkish olive oil/onion/tomato paste mixture and seasoned ground beef. This is such an easy and cheap dish to make! That’s why it’s my go to on busy nights like tonight. You can also skip the beef if you don’t feel like going to store or prefer a vegetarian dish. Just mix the seasoning in with the onions.

I rarely buy canned goods or frozen foods. But I make an exception for chickpeas and tomato paste (along with a few other items). I’ve soaked dry chickpeas over night, but the cooking process takes way too long with too little payoff. I say go for the canned stuff, but buy organic!

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To start, brown a 1/2 lb. of ground beef then drain the excess fat. I actually cooked the entire pound I bought, since I plan to make a meat sauce for pasta tomorrow night. 🙂 We’ll likely have leftovers from tonight’s meal as well so I already have my lunch lined up as well. Amazing how far you can stretch $6! I’ve also been curious to try ground turkey since it’s a healthier option.

Once your ground beef is drained, continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so while you season.

Ground beef seasoning

Cumin

Salt

Black pepper

Cayenne pepper

Garlic powder

Red pepper flakes (optional)

If it’s your first time using cumin, I suggest you go easy. Cumin is the perfect seasoning for meat, but it’s very distinctive and can easily be overused. If you know what you’re in for, season to your heart’s content. You can also use a taco mix, which basically has the same ingredients already mixed for you. Once your meat is nice and seasoned, turn off the heat.

2 cans of chickpeas will feed 2-4 people, depending on how hungry everyone is and what else you serve along with it. I drain the cans by opening them most of the way with a can opener, putting my finger over the lid and pouring over the sink. Then I put the chickpeas in a medium saucepan, covering them with filtered water just covering them. Whenever the water isn’t going to drained, I use drinking water, never tap. I notice a difference in the taste and just find it to be a rule of thumb for healthy cooking.

Keep the chickpeas on medium heat while you saute chopped onions in olive oil in a separate pan. Once the onions are translucent, add a large spoonful of tomato paste and mix. Now you can add the ground beed and olive oil mixture into the saucepan filled with chickpeas. Allow some time (at least 5 minutes) for the flavors to absorb. I try to get it to a tomato soup sort of consistency. That way I can dip bread into the tomato sauce. 🙂 You want the water to evaporate somewhat, but not completely.

For my side dish, I made divine summer zucchini. My dad is the inventor of this dish and it’s one that I make time and time again. Summer may be over, but as long as the grocery store carries, I will buy zucchini.

Summer Zucchini

2 small, thin zucchinis (served 2 perfectly)

1 garlic clove, thinned chopped or peeled

Lawry’s Garlic Salt (or use fresh parsley and sea salt)

Butter

Parmesan cheese (I didn’t have any, but this is usually included)

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Bake at 350 degrees F until the butter melts and the edges of the zucchini get light brown.

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And there you have it! Top with Greek yogurt and dip with your favorite bread. I toasted seven grain bread but I bet this would be divine with some garlic French bread.

How do you prepare chickpeas?

Kerry

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