You know those recipes that seem so ridiculously simple that there’s no way they could be crazy good? The ones where you think, “Oh, I could have thought of that!” while secretly envying the cookbook author for coming up with the combination?
40-Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli from Appetite for Reduction is like that.
It promises to be the pinnacle of vegan comfort food, both from Isa Chandra Moskowtiz’s description and the sound of the ingredients list. All it contains is a combination of chickpeas, broccoli florets and ten smashed cloves of garlic. Some vegetable broth, thyme and lemon serve as the seasonings, and it doesn’t require anything other than to be tossed in the oven for a while and roasted.
The epitome of simplicity, no? It’s hard to resist a dinner that easy.
Alas, the first time I made this, I wasn’t all that impressed. The garlic flavor didn’t come through as strongly as I was expecting, and I didn’t know what to serve it with to make it a full meal. I went with mashed potatoes, which worked well enough but wound up tasting a bit bland. After that, I didn’t have much reason to make it again.
Except that I did make it again. And again and again. Question is, after the initial disappointing results, why?
Because each subsequent time, it got better. I was able to tweak it to my liking, and discovered the secret of turning it into not just a bunch of broccoli and chickpeas, but a hearty, filling meal. That secret, fellow foodies, is roasted potatoes. My original notes on the recipe mused about the addition of mushrooms, which wouldn’t really work with the overall flavor, or serving it with grains. I did try quinoa as a side dish once, but nothing really made the dish in the same way as potatoes.
40-Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli is now one of my main “go to” meals when I need a dinner that cooks itself. When done right, the broccoli gets crispy, the chickpeas get just a bit of a crusty shell to them and the garlic comes out soft and flavorful. I find that it usually needs an extra squeeze of lemon for that bright flavor to bring it all together. The addition of potatoes adds an element of creaminess that skyrockets this into the comfort food stratosphere. If you need a dish that satisfies without a lot of prep work or kitchen time, this is it!
Do you have one dish you just can’t live without? How did it become your favorite?