Ingredients of the Week: Tahini & Chickpeas

When we arrived home from vacation, the last thing we wanted was to go to the grocery store.  We needed to weed, cut the lawn, water the plants, do our laundry, catch up on email.  EVERYTHING BUT going to the grocery store.  After perusing our pantry and selecting a few recipes for the week, I went to the farmers market and picked up our bushels and steered clear of the grocery store.  What we have in the pantry + bushel contents.  No bells and whistles.

Cooking dinner Wednesday evening, I realized there was a theme strung throughout my menu:  Tahini and Chickpeas.  These two elements are a great way to round out a meal providing it with protein, depth of flavor and texture pairing along with fresh vegetables and whole grains.  A bonus: they keep well in your pantry for you to pull out when you haven’t been shopping in two weeks.

I don’t use tahini a whole lot – really only to make hummus.  This week, I’m proud to say I used it in a dressing and a sauce. Let me tell you, the sauce I made for this Quinoa Bowl with Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes was so delicious. I couldn’t help but take the left overs to work the next day and eat them for… breakfast.  Seriously.  The cayenne mixed with the tahini almost ends up tasting like nacho cheese (in the best kind of way).

Tahini Quinoa Bowl with Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes:

(serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa (uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant or 1/2 large eggplant cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used half of a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne

Instructions:

In a saucepan, add 1 cup of quinoa and two cups of water.  Bring to a boil and then take down to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the tahini, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and cayenne and set aside.

In a large skillet heat two tablespoons of olive oil.  Add chopped onion and cook for about three minutes.  Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally.  When eggplant begins to turn soft, add the chickpeas and cook until chickpeas begin to brown and crisp up.

In a large bowl mix together the quinoa, eggplant/onion mixture, tomatoes and about half of the sauce.  Toss to coat evenly and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dish out in a bowl and drizzle some additional sauce over the bowl and dig in.

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