Summer/Autumn meal – Spicy chickpeas, quinoa, mint & basil

Summer is finally fading away here. Although temperature is still close to the mid-summer weather of most non-tropical places on earth, it is so much less humid and breezy with clearer sky. And that really makes a huge difference in Hong Kong. Most importantly I don’t feel like melting while I’m cooking in my kitchen any more, yay! For this post, I thought I’d make something that reminds me of late summer and early autumn at the same time. A dish that has the freshness and lightness of summer but also has the warm earthy flavor of autumn. Unfortunately, coming up with a dish like that was not as easy as I expected and I kind of got stuck for a few days. Then one day, I had a random idea of listing all summer and autumn ingredients that I can think of on a piece of paper. When I stopped writing, I ended up with almost 30 ingredients and there was no way I could use them all in one recipe. So I picked a few from the list starting with chickpeas and spices, as I have been obsessed with roasting them together for a while, and added nutty-earthy quinoa with fresh herbs. I know it sounds like a very impulsive recipe that is put together in last minute, but the flavor of this dish delivered exactly what I wanted. And I am so happy to have discovered a new way to come up with recipes. 🙂

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  • Prep time: 5-10mins
  • Cooking time: 30-35mins
  • Serves: 2-3

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Ingredients

Spicy chickpeas

  • 2 can. chickpeas
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2/3 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/2 tsp. salt

Quinoa and herbs

  • 1 cup. quinoa
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cup. water
  • salt to taste
  • handful of fresh mint
  • handful of fresh basil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 pinch of crushed red pepper
  • a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

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1. Pre-heat oven to 220c.

2. Drain and rinse chickpeas.

3. Mix chickpeas with olive oil, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Place them in a baking tray with foil or parchment paper underneath.

4. Roast them for 25-30 minutes or until they get golden and crispy outside. Watch them closely to make sure they don’t burn.

5. Meanwhile, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a pot over high heat.

6. Stir in quinoa and toast for 2-3 minutes.

7. Add 2 cups of water into the pot and let it boil for a few seconds. Make sure to keep your distance from the pot when you pour in water.

8. Turn the heat down to a low setting and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for 20 minutes.

Final steps

9. Mix roasted chickpeas and cooked quinoa in a bowl.

10. Season with salt and tear in mint and basil leaves.

11.  Add lemon zest, crushed red pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve.

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