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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Tonight, count on chickpeas.
When in doubt, count on chickpeas. They are little nuggets of nutrients, and when combined with yogurt and pita, chickpeas make for a vegetarian main that won't have you scouring the kitchen for something else to eat five minutes after dinner is over.
Now's the time of year when your herb garden is exploding (or you're having trouble resisting the deep green bunches at the market), so brighten up your one-dish dinner with fresh mint leaves. Then put your basil to use in a strawberry lemonade that you can keep in the refrigerator for the coming week. If you're craving some fresh vegetables with your meal, pick up ingredients for a side salad and try something fun and easy.
Serves 6, with leftover lemonade
3 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
One large bag pita chips
Four 15-ounce cans chickpeas (or 5 cups cooked chickpeas)
3 cups quartered fresh strawberries
20 medium basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 or 4 mint leaves
Ingredients for a side salad (optional)
You probably have sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil, paprika, and cayenne pepper in your kitchen. If not, you’ll be needing those, too.
1. Put 1 cup of sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Stir to dissolve and let cool while you make the fattet hummus.
2. In a heatproof bowl, combine the yogurt and tahini with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Bring a couple of inches of water to a boil in a pot and place the bowl with the yogurt mixture over the top. Heat the yogurt gently, whisking the whole time until the mixture is just warm. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cover the chickpeas with hot water, a pinch of cumin, and a small dash of olive oil. Set aside.
4. Spread the pita chips in an even layer in a deep serving platter or bowl. Drizzle with a bit of hot water from the chickpeas until the bread pieces are just soaked.
5. Set aside 1 to 2 tablespoons of the chickpeas for garnish. With a ladle, scoop the remaining hot chickpeas out of the broth and spread them evenly over the bread. Pour the warmed yogurt mixture over the top. Gently stir the layers together with a spoon, then top with the reserved chickpeas.
6. Combine the strawberries, basil, and 1/4 cup of the sugar syrup in a blender. Purée until smooth. Fill six glasses with ice and add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of strawberry purée, 1/2 cup of cold water, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar syrup. Mix well. Toss together a quick salad, if desired.
7. Fry the pine nuts in 3 tablespoons of hot olive oil until they're golden. Pour the contents of the pan (oil and all) over the chickpea-yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with a few pinches of paprika and cayenne pepper, and some torn mint leaves. Enjoy immediately alongside a glass of strawberry basil lemonade.
Photos by James Ransom