This post is Part 2 of 10: Preparing Mark Bittman’s ten Recipes for the Semi-Vegan without plastic. Back in January, I posted the first delicious dish: Saffron-and-Mushroom Barley Risotto, which was out of this world yummy and creamy. Next up:
Recipe #2: Spinach and Chickpeas
If risotto takes a long time to prepare, chickpeas take even longer. The difference is that with chickpeas, most of the work happens while you’re asleep. Soak dried chickpeas in a bowl of water overnight. As Katie from Kitchen Stewardship recommends in The Everything Beans Book, the longer you soak beans, the more easily digestible they are.
Once they are soaked, empty the water, and cook them on the stove for an hour or so until they are tender.
I like to make big batches of chickpeas and store them in mason jars in the freezer because they are so handy to have available and can be added to so many dishes. Those of you who are new to this blog may be wondering why I don’t just use canned beans and skip the extra work. I don’t buy any foods in cans anymore because almost all cans are lined with plastic which contains BPA. And the few brands that have moved away from BPA (Eden Organic beans, for example), have replaced the liner with some other resin that, to my mind, has not been tested long enough for me to be sure that it’s a safe alternative.
- Chickpeas from bulk bin at Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl, prepared in advance and frozen in glass mason jar.
- Loose baby spinach from the Market Hall produce market. Purchased in my own ChicoBag Produce Stand bag.
- Bread crumbs, which I made from dried pieces of bread I had stored in my bread box. Some of the bread came from ends of loaves. Some of it was leftover from restaurant meals. There were even a couple of pitas in there from a Mediterranean restaurant. [Note: I buy all my bread either naked from local bakeries or in paper in a pinch.] I put the dried bread in the food processor to make crumbs and then toasted it in the oven a bit.
- Pimentón (smoked paprika) I did not have this ingredient, so I used regular paprika from bulk spice aisle at Whole Foods. I take my glass bottle back to refill.
- Cumin from bulk spice aisle at Whole Foods. I take my glass bottle back to refill.
- Garlic from farmers market.
- Sherry vinegar. I didn’t have sherry vinegar and was not going to buy it for this recipe. I planned to use balsamic vinegar (shown in photo above) but at the last minute decided to use lemon juice (from fresh cut lemon) instead.
- Olive oil purchased in bulk in our own refillable bottle from Market Hall pasta shop.
Putting it all together
For copyright reasons, you’ll have to read Mark Bittman’s recipe for the exact cooking instructions. I’ll just say that once you have all the ingredients together, cooking them up in a stainless steel skillet is easy and fast. Here’s the end result, which was delicious.
The next Bittman recipe I’m going to make–Sweet Potato Stew–is more difficult because of one ingredient in particular. Can you guess which one?