I didn't grow up eating greens much. We'd have spinach but I mostly remember that in salads. We were a frozen vegetable family and I never found that block of frozen spinach very appealing. For those of you that grew up in the 60s and 70s you were either a frozen vegetable family or a canned vegetable family….we were firmly in the frozen camp.
When I first really started enjoying cooking with Ernie one of our favorite meals became a whole roast chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and quickly sauteed spinach. It still sounds pretty darn good, doesn't it? So that began my love of spinach…it grew to Swiss Chard, which is just kind of feistier spinach to me…and then in last few years…along with the rest of the world it seems…kale.
I tend to toss kale into lots of things….pasta, frittatas, etc. One of my favorite ways of making it lately is with chickpeas. I'm trying to incorporate more beans into our meals and am not always successful but this recipe…well, it's barely a recipe…but it is one of the easiest, tastiest sides I can imagine. Put it with some grilled chicken or fish or anything else…and you've got a full balanced meal.
Depending on the type or size of the kale, I usually pull the main rib or stem out. If I'm ambitous I'll chop it up fine and cook it slowly ahead of time but in a rush I don't. Once I have the rib out I cut the kale into slivers. You can blanch it in boiling water for a minute if you like…it will make it more delicate. I don't mind it having a bit of a bite though. Again, it depends in how much of a rush I am. I throw some chopped garlic in a cool pan and add olive oil, slowly heating it up and stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Just as the garlic begins to start to turn gold I dump all the kale in. It's fine if it is still damp from being washed—in fact that helps. Add a dash of salt to help it begin to break down and just kind of toss it and stir it until it has wilted. Just taste it to see if it's where you like it. If it doesn't seem to be wilting you can add a few dashes of water to make it steam a bit. Then I pour a can of chick peas (rinsed first) into it and toss everything together until it is all fully coated with the garlicky oil. A dash more salt if you need it, some red pepper flakes if you want….and it's done. Of course you can cook your chick peas from scratch if you've more time but again…it's all in how much time you have. I like this side as a quick weeknight solution so I just grab a can of chickpeas. Of course this would be good on top of rice—then you'd have a complete meal and vegan no less!
Let me know if you try my kale and chickpeas and if you like it…
And farewell to Dex who has started off Sola Gratia so beautifully. I know I thank him for the formidable plans and knowledge he contributed. Best wishes to him and his family as they move on….