the perfect make-ahead summer dish – chickpeas with roasted eggplant, peppers + basil

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Stock up on eggplant, peppers, and fresh basil and make this staple salad all summer long. It will become a go-to for bringing to a picnic or BBQ – or simply keeping on hand in your fridge when hunger strikes. I love make ahead recipes that get better and better the longer they sit – and this chickpea dish fits the bill.

Eggplant can be tricky — a lot of people at cooking classes complain that when cooking at home, the texture can get soggy, mushy, and all around unenjoyable. I swear by salting the eggplant first – and this goes for any method of cooking it. You simply cut the eggplant how you plan to cook it, and generously add a heavy pinch of salt (I like using kosher for this). When you let it sit, a brownish liquid will release – this takes out some of the bitter flavor in the eggplant, and also results in a desirable texture — think chewy + meaty (in a good way).

I also like roasting peppers to bring out the sweetness and add a charred flavor. If this step is a deal breaker, go ahead and purchase jarred roasted peppers.

Ideally make this salad a few hours before serving – or even the day before. I like tossing with whole, fresh basil leafs right before to add a punch of green and a fresh, herby flavor.

Chickpea salad with eggplant + peppers

Ingredients:

1 medium/large eggplant (or 2 small)
2 red peppers
1-12 ounce box of cooked chickpeas, drained and dried
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground oregano
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup fresh basil

Procedure:

Half eggplant lengthwise, and then cut into half moods. Add to a colander and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Let sit for 20 minutes (can be more or less). A brownish liquid will release.

Preheat oven to 375.

Rinse eggplant and then arrange on a large parchment lined baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool.

While eggplant is salting, preheat broiler. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Place face down on baking sheet and add drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Broil for 8-10 minutes – until skin is black and papery. Remove, use tongs to flip upside down ,and let cool. When peppers are cool, remove skin and chop or tear into pieces.

Add chickpeas and peppers to a large bowl, and season with a bit of salt. Add eggplant. Add vinegar, oil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.

It’s ideal to let this marinate for 30 minutes – overnight. Before serving, toss with fresh basil.

experiment with plant protein — try this chickpea skillet bread

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My favorite recipes are usually quick, easy, and have minimal ingredients. With those requirements, this is at the top of my go-to list. Making it even better? It’s a great mix of protein + fiber + healthy fat which will keep you satisfied and ward off junk food and carby cravings.

Chickpea flour is simply milled chickpeas — by soaking the flour with water, oil, and salt — it soaks up flavor and creates a creamy, thick texture. Simply heat up your trust cast-iron skillet (I’ve shared why I love them so much HERE) swirl in a bit of olive oil, add batter, and place in oven. 10 minutes later you have a dense flatbread that has a crispy, caramelized crust.

This recipe is the most basic version — but feel free to add chopped herbs, vegetables, or cheese to the batter. I like to top the skillet bread with an arugula salad, and sometimes throw a fried egg on top. It also works well with your favorite pizza toppings.

I use Bob’s Red Mill chickpea flour which is pretty easy to find at natural foods stores and traditional markets alike.

Chickpea Skillet Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
½ teaspoon sea salt

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 450. Whisk together chickpea flour, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat an 8-10 inch cast iron skillet in oven for 5 minutes. Remove, and swirl in remaining tablespoon of olive oil to coat pan. Add chickpea mixture. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes until firm and cooked through. Option to broil for 2-3 minutes to blister the top. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, carefully loosen bread around edges with a spatula, remove from skillet and serve.