Asparagus is finally here.
This is very good news. It’s good news for a number of reasons and this dish is one of them. Talley found it a few years ago on 101 Cookbooks when we were in a hurry for something filling, healthy and quick. Now it’s a recipe that we go to regularly, along with many of Heidi Swanson’s creations. The tahini dressing is simple and great; we’ll often make it alone as a dip for carrots and other vegetables. Melanie and Trillium: you should make this, you’d like it. I don’t know why I’m writing this since I know neither one of you knows about the internet.
We encourage you to check out the recipe at 101Cookbooks, but we provide it here as well for simplicity (with very slight changes, as we make it).
Asparagus and Chickpeas, with Brown Rice and Tahini
from the inimitable 101 Cookbooks
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup almond slivers, toasted
- fine grain sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
- 1/4 cup tahini
- zest of one lemon
- scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
First, get your rice going. Also, preheat your oven to 450 for your almonds. For brown rice, use a ratio of about 1.5-2 cups water to 1 cup rice for brown rice. Bring rice and water to a boil uncovered, then cover and reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice sit in the covered pot for another 10 minutes (or just follow package instructions). Remove lid and fluff rice.
Make the dressing: whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. (I do this whole process in my 1 cup liquid measuring cup – only dirties one dish!). Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a big skillet over medium-high heat and swirl to coat the pan, then add the chickpeas and pinch of salt. Let the beans sauté for a couple minutes, stirring minimally, to get nice and crusty. This step usually takes about 7-9 minutes for us.
Meanwhile, put your almonds on a pan and roast them in a 450 degree oven for 5-6 minutes – check them after a few minutes – it takes about 30 seconds for almonds to go from perfect golden brown to ugly, blackish burned.
Now add the garlic and onions to your chickpeas and stir. Let this cook for a few minutes. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch or two of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam–just until the asparagus brightens and softens up just a bit.
Uncover and stir in the rice and almond slivers, reserving a few almonds for garnish. Taste and add more salt if needed (likely).
Serve in a big bowl drizzled with a few tablespoons of the tahini dressing, but have the rest of the dressing on hand so each person can add more to his or her taste.
Serves 4 to 6