You know, like, a spoonful of peanut butter spread on Wheat Thins with a side of pretzels, a handful of nuts, baby carrots, an apple...and maybe some Cheerios for good measure.
Oh. That sounds really good right now.
Sometimes I just don't want to make a meal! I don't want to turn on the oven, I don't want to mess with pots and pans, and I don't want to look at a recipe.
But a pantry raid won't do. My psychological sense of fullness doesn't actually kick in until I eat dinner-appropriate portions of "real" foods, my thighs would prefer that I didn't blow a healthy day in a peanut butter haze, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't win any wife-of-the-year awards for serving my husband a plate of trail mix and Fig Newtons.
Are we bonding here? I think so.
Enter: Chickpea Salad!
It's a side dish. It's a main meal. It's bright, fresh, and straight from your pantry!
I KNOW you have chickpeas in there. Don't fight it. And zucchini? Please. At this point your garden is kind of out of control. You have no excuse! So maybe you don't have barley. Use brown rice...the instant kind! Ohhh snap.
This delicious and fresh chickpea salad is perfect for those nights when your desire to eat a real meal is only slightly higher than your desire to be lazy and have a fridge free-for-all. And for when you can be easily swayed the other way. Don't make yourself crazy! Doing the right thing doesn't have to be hard.
Sidenote: This salad can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Avoid putting this together any earlier than that, or else the zucchini will get soggy. I had a boyfriend once who loved soggy cereal...and let me tell you, nothing about soggy ever works out. Nothing.
See? Totally just bonded, you and me.
Mint and Feta
Adapted from TheKitchn
Yields 8 servings
2 medium zucchini
2/3 c barley
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbs fresh mint, finely chopped
4 tbs feta cheese, reduced-fat
Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut in half cross-wise. Thinly slice each half length-wise into several strips, as thin as you can get them. Then cut the planks into thin matchsticks, and place in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp salt, and massage lightly with your hands to evenly disperse the salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, and add the barley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is cooked through but still a little chewy, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, and salt/pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in olive oil, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, barley, and about half of the dressing.
Squeeze the zucchini gently to get rid of excess water, and add to the bowl along with the remaining dressing and the mint. Stir and transfer to a serving bowl, and crumble the feta over the top.