I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: the last few weeks of quarantine have been a drag.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see people trying to make the best of things and embrace a positive mindset in the midst of adversity. But when it just feels rough? That’s okay to admit, too.
After a sufficient amount of time spent moping – because yup, sometimes you just need to embrace the mope for a few days – I felt rejuvenated to return to some activities that bring me joy. I turned on Taylor’s new album (the emo album we all needed this year), did my hair for the first time in ages, and set up camp in my kitchen. I spent the rest of this weekend cooking and baking everything that was nourishing and delicious. You know when you find your flow? For me, that comes with cooking, and spending time in the kitchen is therapeutic in its own wonderful way. I tested several batches of banana muffins (recipe coming soon!), knocked out a loaf of sourdough, prepped so many veggies, and made this bowl that is officially my new favorite combination.
You may be thinking, another grain bowl? Aren’t we over this trend yet? The answer is no.
I personally find I can get into a rut with grain bowls because I lean on the same combinations over and over. Because of that, I love finding what other people are tossing together for something new that turns something familiar into a fresh dinner idea. So now I will share my new combination to inspire your next dinner idea!
Like any good grain bowl, there needs to be a star ingredient.
In this one, it’s the spiced chickpeas. While I’m calling these ‘tandoori toasted chickpeas’, I can’t say that they are truly tandoori anything. It’s the spice blend that is reminiscent of a tandoori chicken spice, but “tandoori” is actually a type of cooking, not just a spice blend. Tandoori cooking is a method of cooking foods like chicken or naan over a charcoal fire in an actual tandoor, which is a giant cylindrical clay oven. I kind of equate an Italian pizza oven to an Indian tandoor oven. It gets really hot and gives everything a nice char that only elevates the flavor (my dad will ONLY eat tandoori naan because it is so much more flavorful than an oven or stove top naan.)
So while my tandoori-inspired spice blend is what it is, the method of cooking these chickpeas is anything but tandoori. With that said though, they are extremely delicious and savory and I was honest to goodness just standing over my stove and eating the chickpeas straight out of the pan with a spoon. We’re in quarantine, no judgement!
Feel free to mix the ingredients and play around with favorite combinations. I just used what I had on hand, but the formula for any grain bowl is completely customizable to what you have in your fridge. Which, let’s be honest, in these times where grocery runs are a little more few and far between, is the most important thing.
For the base of my bowl, I used farro, but rice or quinoa would be just as good! I topped it off with steamed kale, a bunch of fresh herbs like green onions and basil, but would one hundred percent add cilantro and mint if I had it. I also got a little fancy and added some pan fried halloumi for an extra salty bite, but crumbly feta or some goat cheese would be just as delicious. I think some pickled veggies and a fried egg would also fit comfortably on this bowl if you were looking for some other ideas. Adjust as you like or let everyone add their own toppings.
And to finish everything off, you need a delicious sauce for something creamy. I’ve truly added a different sauce every time I’ve made this, so work with what you have! Here’s a few that I’ve liked:
Get creative, have fun, and nourish yourself with something delicious this week. And remember: we’re in this together. Scroll on for the recipe…
for the spice blend:
- 3/4 tsp ginger powder
- 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
- 2 tbsp of melted ghee
- 1 1/2 cup cooked grain of choice (farro, rice, quinoa, etc.)
- 2 cups of greens of choice
- 6oz of toasted halloumi
- veggies to top - cucumber, avocado, carrots, pickled veggies, etc.
- handful of fresh herbs like basil, mint, green onions, etc.
- dressing of choice
- Mix the spices together to create spice blend and set aside.
- Drain, rinse and completely dry one can of chickpeas.
- In a stovetop pan, add the ghee and bring up to a medium heat. Add the spice blend and toast for about a minute until the spices take on color and become fragrant.
- Add the chickpeas and toss in the spices. Cook for about 10 - 15 minutes until the chickpeas have taken on color and become toasty. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Assemble bowl with grain of choice, greens, veggies, chickpeas, toppings of choice, and dressing. Enjoy!