I know it seems like I always write about kale… and I do. But it’s become a staple in my diet the past year or so and really is a tasty way to make vegetarian meals more substantial and healthful. Tonight’s dish is born from a lack of interest in going to the grocery store. (um, 19 inches of snow, New York?) So everything is coming either from a can or the freezer. (Ok, the kale was bought fresh a while ago, but I froze it. This tends to make it taste sweeter once you cook it, so if you’re not loving the bitter notes just stick it in the freezer for a day.)
Some notes: The roasted chickpeas can be made up to a day ahead of time. Couscous is what I happen to have in the pantry, but rice or quinoa would work well too. You can also add ground chicken, turkey, or beef in place of the seitan. The chickpea recipe is something K came up with by combining a roasted nut snack with a plain old chickpea salad. The process is really flexible spice-wise so if you feel like throwing in extra pepper, cayenne, whatever, please do so. Our original concoction (which will be posted at a later date) uses Worcestershire sauce, but I don’t have that so the recipe for an easy marinade is below.
For the chickpeas:
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon each of pepper, garlic powder, cumin, curry powder, paprika
dash cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil to grease the baking sheet
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss until the chickpeas are coated. Pour chickpeas on a baking sheet greased with olive oil (or vegetable oil) and spread them out. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly crispy. After removing from the oven be sure to loosen them from the pan with a spatula and let cool. Can be eaten hot or cold.
For the couscous:
Buy couscous. Follow directions on box.
For the kale/seitan:
1/2 cup frozen (or raw) ground seitan (Seitan is wheat gluten. I used Smart Ground this time and was pleased with the result, even though the package is a bit small. They have an array of other non-meat meat products like sausages and bacon and things. The brand is carried by most major grocery stores, at least in my experience.)
1-2 cups chopped kale, fresh or frozen
3 cloves garlic, minced
[1 medium onion, minced — I’m out of onions at the moment, but it would taste better with them]
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pepper, to taste
Saute the garlic until slightly brown then add the ground seitan (or meat, if you prefer) cook thoroughly about 7-10 minutes (or however long it takes for real meat to cook). Add the kale and cook, while stirring, until it wilts and/or is slightly crispy. Season with pepper to taste. Serve with the chickpeas over a bed of couscous.