I’m calling these chickpea fritters, but they’re really my version of falafel. They taste like falafel, smell like falafel…the only difference is that they’re pan-fried in a small amount of olive oil and I use canned chickpeas instead of dried. If you’re not familiar with falafel, they’re traditional Middle Eastern deep-fried balls made from chickpeas or fava beans (check ’em out). And they’re delicious. They’re also really easy to whip up on a weeknight when you want something filling but not unhealthy. I’m sure you know that chickpeas are chock-full of protein and fiber as well as potassium, calcium, iron and so on. Instead of deep-frying, these fritters are pan-fried in extra virgin olive oil just until crisp. I typically serve these with whole wheat pitas, a light tzatziki sauce (recipe below), goat cheese and fresh tomatoes and spinach. These are so good and filling, even my 18-month old cleans his plate.
chickpea fritters with easy tzatziki
chickpea fritters with easy tzatziki
- 2 cans (28 ounces) chickpeas
- 1.5 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons of white or whole wheat flour, plus extra for coating
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, plus extra for serving, chopped
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 large tomatoes, diced (optional)
- Whole wheat pitas (optional)
- 1 cup Greek nonfat yogurt
- ¼ cup cucumber, de-seeded and diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dill, (fresh or dried)
- Put all of the ingredients except for the oil into a food processor and blend. Texture should be chunky, not pureed and dough should be slightly sticky. Add more flour as needed.
- For the sauce, combine all ingredients and refrigerate until serving.
- Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Form dough into balls, 1-1.5 inch in diameter and flatten into patties. Lightly flour each side and place onto skillet. Cook until both sides are golden brown and crisp, about 3-5 minutes each.
- Garnish with tomatoes and remaining chopped parsley. Serve immediately with warm pitas.
Corn season is here! I rushed out and bought a few ears last week, excited at the endless, delicious corn-based possibilities. I spent hours scouring the internet for the best corn recipes, both sweet and savory. There were so many great ones, I honestly couldn’t make up my mind. So the corn I was so excited about has been sitting on my kitchen counter for the last week. Last night I bit the bullet and created this avocado cream pasta with charred corn and tomatoes. And it did not disappoint. It’s decadent while still being extremely healthy. It’s also extremely fast to throw together. To save time, I boiled the corn until it was mostly cooked, then finished it on a cast-iron grill pan to give it that char-flavor without having to start up the grill.
avocado pasta with charred corn and tomatoes
- 1 package whole wheat spaghetti or angel hair
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup of Greek yogurt
- 2 ears of corn, husked with silk removed
- 4 small San Marzano tomatoes, cut into quarters (you can use cherry tomatoes too, cut into halves)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add corn and cook until kernels yellow and become tender, about 10 minutes. Heat cast-iron grill pan on high and spray with cooking oil. Once corn is tender, transfer to grill pan and cook on all sides until char marks appear.
- In medium food processor, place avocado, garlic, olive oil, greek yogurt, parmesan, basil and blend until completely combined. The sauce will be very thick. Add water a tablespoon at a time until texture is looser, about the consistency of alfredo sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Once corn has charred, set aside. Gently place tomatoes, skin side down, on grill pan and cook until charred, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water and cook pasta until tender, about 5-10 minutes, and drain. Once corn cobs have cooled, take a large cutting knife and remove kernels.
- Toss pasta, avocado sauce, corn and tomatoes together until combined. Serve immediately.
I planted my very first vegetable garden this year and it turned out to be somewhat of a disaster. I went a little crazy on the seeds and overcrowded it, resulting in 8-feet high peppers and peas (and weeds). But thanks to their monstrous size, I got a ton of peas. I don’t cook with peas often so I really had no clue what to do with them.
On a recent trip to Chicago, I had lunch with my sister at La Pizza & La Pasta inside of Eataly. I had the most light and airy ravioli stuffed with spring peas, ricotta, pecorino and mint. All slathered in butter. It was amazing, and the perfect solution to my pea conundrum. My version adds fresh lemon zest to brighten the peas and lighten the richness of the butter.
Note: I make my ravioli with the KitchenAid ravioli attachment (it’s great, I highly recommend it!), but I’ve included the handmade version below.
Fresh Pea and Ricotta Ravioli with Lemon Butter Sauce
For the Ravioli:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 eggs
For the Filling:
- 1.5 cups of fresh peas, shelled
- 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- In an electric mixing bowl with the dough hook attachment, mix flour and salt until combined. Add eggs one at a time. Drizzle olive oil into the mix, and stir until dough becomes a large ball and clings to the hook.
- Remove dough and place on surface sprinkled with flour. Knead until soft and pliable, about 2 minutes (video tutorial here). Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blanch peas until soft (about 3-4 minutes) and place in a food processor with ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. (Note: I had to add about a tablespoon of water to get the consistency I needed). Set aside.
- Once pasta dough has rested, cut the ball of dough in half and cover the rest you are not using. Dust the counter with flour, form the dough into a rectangle, and flatten. Roll through your pasta roller several times, decreasing the size settings with every turn. The dough should be paper-thin, or as thin as you can get it without producing holes.
- If you’re making your ravioli by hand: lay your pasta sheet on the counter and place 2 tsp. mounds of filling along middle of dough, spacing the mounds around 1″ apart. Brush dough with water. Take another sheet of pasta and lay it over the other sheet of pasta and mounds of filling; press dough to seal, squeezing out air pockets around filling. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut out ravioli. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Bring large pot of water to boil. In a separate pot, melt butter on low-medium setting and add garlic and lemon zest. Once water is ready, add ravioli and cook until the pockets float to the surface of the water. Drain pasta and transfer to butter mixture and toss until coated.
- Garnish with parmesan, fresh grated lemon, and freshly ground black pepper.
I’m a huge fan of one-pot meals. HUGE. And this one is the king of them all. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Pasta and marinara sauce? Been there, done that. Boring.” But this is far from your typical boil-water-cook-pasta-mix-with-jarred-sauce recipe. This one uses the juices from the tomato sauce to cook the pasta, creating the most delicious tomato-ey pasta you’ve ever had. AND it takes less than 30 minutes to get on the table. How can you beat that?
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 jar (24 oz) marinara sauce (I like Newman’s best, but use your fave!)
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (powdered is good too, use 1/2 tsp)
- 1 box (16 oz) of penne pasta
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 cup part-skim or low fat ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add entire box of pasta to skillet, followed by tomato sauce, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good stir.
- Bring to a simmer and stir in 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Add additional water as needed.
- Remove from heat. Stir in mozzarella and Parmesan until combined. Using a large spoon, top with dollops of ricotta. Place under broiler on low until ricotta firms.
- Top with fresh chopped basil and serve!
This coconut curry noodle bowl is the trifecta of fast, healthy and easy. It’s also a great base to which you can add a protein like chicken or shrimp, or even adapt into a stir fry by reducing the amount of liquid and swapping the noodles for rice. I’ve made a few versions of this dish, but I always come back to the original.
- 2 T olive or sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 T ginger, grated (fresh is best, but you can use powdered)
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 cups of carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 14 oz can of lite coconut milk
- 6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 lime, juiced
- Cilantro and/or scallions to garnish
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, ginger, and Thai red curry paste. Fry for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the carrots and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, coconut milk, and sliced red bell peppers. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until carrots are fully tender.
- Pour the boiling soup over the dried vermicelli noodles in your serving bowls, add a squeeze of lime juice, top with cilantro, and serve. You can also add the noodles to the pot and serve them after they’re cooked.