I’ve never been a huge fan of having salad for dinner. With dinner, yes; for dinner, no. But I’ve been trying to get more fresh greens in my diet since realizing last week that I had been feeling a little sluggish as a result of getting lazy in the kitchen. Or more accurately, getting lazy with my shopping. When I shop and cook lazily (or don’t cook at all), I still eat pretty well. But fresh greens and veggies are usually the first thing to go. That’s the great thing about having a blog though– if I start slacking, you’ll notice! Well, one of the great things. Maybe not as great as free yogurt.
So I decided to put my machismo aside (as if there were any to begin with) and make a salad for dinner. But there’s a bonus! Wait for it, wait for it… couscous and chickpea cakes! Hmm, doesn’t sound like such an exciting bonus, does it? But I’m trying to get some extra whole grains this week before my race on Sunday, plus chickpeas are an awesome protein source for a vegetarian athlete. And believe it or not, these cakes actually make the meal! Of course, Erin and I helped out a little.
Here’s the recipe, from Fine Cooking. I haven’t been making their stuff much recently because they keep changing the pages later so that you have to sign up for something to see the recipes. So if you’re going to make this one, do it soon!
We changed just a few things with this recipe. I couldn’t find canned artichoke bottoms at the store, so we just used hearts. Funny how they make artichokes sound like people, with bottoms and hearts. I love artichokes recently, ever since I started eating meatless muffaletta sandwiches. Also, I used my Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream, and instead of using just baby spinach, we added some spring mix from the farmers market. And we used whole wheat couscous and substituted canola oil for the EVOO. Oh and one more substitution, I used the word “EVOO” instead of “extra-virgin olive oil,” because Rachael Ray has infected my brain!
This meal was surprisingly good. I say “surprisingly” because I was expecting it to be a little bland. But it wasn’t at all! The couscous cakes were awesome, though ours didn’t brown up quite as nicely as I had hoped. And I overcrowded the pan, making them in one batch instead of two, resulting in about a 50 percent success rate of cakes making it to the plate intact. But no problem; I made a double recipe (who wants to use half a can of chickpeas?), so I just tossed the crumbled ones with some salad today for a really tasty lunch. Two complaints with this meal: the dressing was too lemony-tart, and the meal took much longer than I think a salad should. For the dressing, I’d use less lemon or add something to balance it. The feta cheese did this to an extent, but not enough. Maybe some honey?
I’m so glad that some readers are joining me in making a change for 30 days! It’s not too late to sign up. The signup process is extremely complicated; you have to leave a comment and say what change you’re making. And then change it, for 30 days! After that, you can go back if you want, no guilt attached. But you’ll have broken the habit, and if you choose to go back, at least you’ll know that you own the habit, not the other way around.