Would you cross a moat for a meager handful of chives? I did that a couple times this week. There’s only one green and edible thing out back right now and even though some heavy rain made for a solid foot of water between me and the goods, I had to have those little emerald green blades. They were certain proof that the world was at work once again, all despite the lump of icy grey grit-snow in the shadiest part of the yard, just uglying it all up.
So I’ve been going out to the spot under the old apple tree to get my spring-y fill. It’s been cool and wet, the kind of cold that is so penetrating. Sometimes I forget to put a jacket on, but it’s always worth it. I’m taking extra care, going the long way around, considering actions for longer than what is probably necessary, and I’ve been shifting things around to make room for the more creative bits, including this little space.
I mostly feel like I’m just thinking about things more, and a noticeably more active mind seems to equal a certifiably solid stream of ideas. Somewhat predictably, those ideas dabble in food a lot and that’s how I ended up with this non-rice and non-peas rice + peas.
If you have a partial understanding of what a food blog is, you’ve probably heard of a) processing cauliflower so that it can ape rice/couscous and b) roasting chickpeas for a crunchy snack. I originally thought of pairing this cauliflower rice with fresh peas, but they’re just so far off and that’s just as well. The warm and golden garbanzos add to the transitional feel of this dish. I use herbs in their whole leaf form with a heavy hand for brightness. Thin radishes, apples and avocado bring it all together. The dressing couldn’t be simpler either. I wrapped big scoops of it into little radicchio lettuce cups and it was a nice lunch!
CAULIFLOWER AND ROASTED GARBANZO “RICE AND PEAS” WITH AVOCADO, APPLES & HERBS
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: If you don’t have a food processor, some milling with a knife will get the cauliflower florets small enough, as long as you have the patience :) Also, I wrapped up some of this mix in radicchio leaves for a handheld version. I feel like some chopped up pickled jalapeños would just be so great here, if you have them around.
FOR THE CHICKPEAS + DRESSING:
1 1/2 cups fully cooked chickpeas, towel dried
zest + juice of 2 limes, divided (my limes were extra juicy-seeming)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
chili powder (chipotle, ancho etc), to taste
sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/2 tbsp maple syrup/raw honey
FOR THE SALAD:
1 head of cauliflower, core removed
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup flat parsley leaves
2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves sliced
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 crisp apple (like fuji or pink lady), sliced thin
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the chickpeas out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of lime zest, chili powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss the chickpeas to coat and slide the tray into the oven. Roast until lightly crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together the remaining lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, grainy mustard, and maple syrup. You can also shake this up in a sealed container. Add a splash of water if it seems quite thick. Set aside.
Start turning the cauliflower into rice in batches. Place a few handfuls of the florets into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse the florets until you have small, rice-like bits of cauliflower. Scrape the riced cauliflower into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
Pour the dressing over the cauliflower rice, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
To the large bowl, add the radishes, parsley leaves, mint, scallions, chives, sliced apple, and roasted chickpeas. Toss it all lightly to combine. Top it all off with the diced avocado, sunflower seeds, and some more salt and pepper if you like.