Sunday Supper

Chickpeas a nutritious, delicious pantry staple

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Asparagus Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas</span>
Asparagus Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas
‘Mollie Katzen's The Heart of the Plate’ / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Main-Dish Salad

Asparagus Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas

Cookbook author Mollie Katzen suggests using green beans if asparagus is out of season. She also offers optional touches of crumbled cheese, fresh parsley leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, minced arugula or slivered almonds. To make this into a one dish meal, serve over a bed of couscous or short macaroni. A fresh, acidic sauvignon blanc from New Zealand complements the asparagus.

1 pound asparagus, trimmed of tough ends

1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic

2 teaspoons agave nectar or light-colored honey

2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar

Up to 1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips, or two 12-ounce jars roasted red peppers, drained

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Freshly ground pepper

Up to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2-inch pieces and steam until bright green and just tender. Refresh under cold running water until it cools to room temperature. Drain well, and dry with a kitchen towel.

Whisk garlic, agave, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl to blend. Keep whisking as you drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated.

Add the asparagus, roasted peppers and chickpeas; toss to coat. Taste to adjust the salt and add pepper. Splash in lemon juice to taste, before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Mollie Katzen’s The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $34.99).

Per serving: 393 calories (50 percent from fat), 24 g fat (2.8 g saturated, 14.8 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 12.6 g protein, 41.6 g carbohydrate, 11 g fiber, 650 mg sodium.

Whether you call them chickpeas, ceci or garbanzos, these plump beans offer a lot of goodness in a package or can. One of the most common legumes in Mediterranean region, chickpeas are delicious and high in protein, vitamins and fiber and low in sugar and fat (not to mention price).

Chickpeas have a creamy texture and nutty flavor that matches well with heavy spices, bold herbs and tangy lemon. I always have a few cans of chickpeas in my pantry to jump start a quick meal. Their texture is softer than beans cooked from scratch, which makes them perfect for purées and dips. They're great tossed in a salad or dropped into a simmering soup, or quickly warmed in a little vinaigrette to serve alongside grilled meat, fish or poultry.

Instead of serving chips and dip, satisfy guests' salty-snack cravings with healthful roasted chickpeas:

Drain, rinse, and pat dry a 19-ounce can of chickpeas. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a pinch of ground pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, thyme, sage, cumin, smoked paprika or cinnamon. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 50 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”

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