Isn’t it amazing how time flies? It was still summer the last we “chatted”; I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since then! Oh well, vacations have a way of disrupting everything, but I suppose that is a good thing.
I’m optimistically back to regular posts now. Although, I must admit that I started working on this particular one a month ago, just before I left for vacation. I was going to use my three-hour layover in Montreal to finish up the post. Instead, I found one of those little airport “spas” and treated myself to a manicure.
Back then, this roasted potato, black rice with crispy chickpeas seemed like the perfect start to autumn, before the pumpkin and squash craze took over.
So here we are in the middle of October, it feels very much like fall where I am. There are heaps of squash and pumpkins at the market, and we’re rediscovering fall’s bounty. Last night for dinner we had sweet potato and lentils, slowly stewed in a tomato-ey broth with mushrooms and leeks.
Looking to create substantial salads, we started making variations of this potato, rice and chickpea combo. It’s one of those highly tweakable and easy to assemble type of bowls – in other words, my favourite kind of meal.
I like it because it tastes like comfort food and it’s simple. Here we have tender crisp roasted potatoes, rich nutty black rice (forbidden rice) tossed with mix of chopped vegetables and topped with crispy roasted chickpeas.
For the chickpeas – I use my trusted roasted chickpea recipe, and I’m currently in love with the Meko Dry Rub from Essie Spice. I use about a tablespoon (for 3 cups of cooked chickpeas) in place of garlic and crushed pepper; it adds a beautifully warm savoury element to the chickpeas. A tangy, savoury, garlicy tahini dressing pulls it all together.
I tossed in some plums, but you can use pears instead if you can’t find plums right now, and use whatever vegetables you have or are in season. Brown rice can easily replace black rice in this recipe; although, this a great way to try black rice if you’ve ever been curious about it.
- 2 – 3 large fresh basil leaves
- 1 – 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup warm filtered water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Pinch of paprika
- 1/2 cup black rice (forbidden rice)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, optional
- Sea salt to taste
- 1/2 pound nugget potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used a mixed with parsley, rosemary, thyme and oregano)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Sea salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 5 – 6 plums, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup cooked sweetcorn
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups spicy roasted chickpeas
- 1 cup roasted nuts (I used cashew and pistachios)
- To a blender or food processor, add basil, garlic, tahini, olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt and paprika
- Blend until smooth, taste and adjust seasoning as desired
- Dressing will keep in the fridge to up to a week
- Rinse rice well and drain
- In a large pot, add rice, 1 cup water, coconut oil (if using) and salt
- Cover, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and let rice simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 35 – 40 minutes
- Alternatively, you can prepare rice in a rice cooker using the machine’s instructions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F., and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper (oil lightly if using foil)
- Cut potatoes into large bitesize chunks and place in a large bowl
- Toss potatoes with dried herbs, pepper, salt and olive oil
- Arrange potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking tray
- Roast for 20 – 30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through, turn potatoes halfway through to ensure they bake evenly
- Combine onion, sweet pepper, plum, corn and salt in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice
- Serve with black rice, potatoes, chickpeas and roasted nuts, and a generous pour of the basil tahini dressing