Even though I am someone who loves to cook and spend hours and hours in the kitchen, recently I have been working on ways to simplify this area of my life. I have been challenging myself to use less pots and pans, less ingredients, and take less trip to the grocery store. I want to encourage myself to eat most of my meals at home (and not be tempted by takeout) by simplifying my day to day habits revolving food.
Since we are in deep winter, I loath trips to the grocery store where I have to lug back bags of veggies in whipping winds and freezing cold temps. So this winter I have been dedicated to using every single vegetable in my kitchen before making another trip to buy more. Even if that means I am down to only 1 onion, a couple pieces of kale and a half eaten banana. I will find a way to make it work.
I have to admit, I am often guilty of buying more than I need, and restocking before I need to, which means sometimes veggies and other things get thrown away. I hate wasting food, the guilt weighs heavy on me even if I am just throwing away a half-used bunch of wilted parsley. Because of this, I knew that it would be easy for to stick to using up what I have. The best part about this is that it has forced me to get even more creative in the kitchen, and I am loving the challenge of coming up with ways to use ingredients in new ways.
That was kind of how this simple, but extremely satisfying dish came to be. I always have both dried and canned chickpeas on hand, my favorite of the pulses. Pulses are delicious, sustainable, protein packed powerhouses that are ideal for stocking the pantry. I have been known to dump a can of chickpeas into a baking dish with olive oil and herbs and make that my dinner. Chickpeas and olive oil are definitely a winning pair …. so, one morning when I was craving those savory olive oil chickpeas, I decided to add those to a baking dish along with the last of my spinach. I cracked in a couple of eggs to make it more of a hearty breakfast meal, and sprinkled a little sumac (my favorite spice in my pantry) on top, and out came a breakfast that was destined to be a new favorite of mine. This dish, with just a couple of basic ingredients, ones that can easily be interchanged based on what you have on hand, packs so much flavor …. and, if you happen make a little extra, the leftovers are even better the next day.
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OLIVE OIL BAKED EGGS WITH CHICKPEAS + SPINACH + SUMAC
You can easily double this recipe by doubling the ingredients and cook it in a larger cast iron pan. Sumac is not necessarily easy to find, you usually have to seek it out in a specialty store or online. If you do not own it already, I will encourage you to find some (maybe on amazon) and add it to your spice rack. Otherwise, feel free to use any other spice that you like. Coriander or cumin would also work well in this dish.
14-15oz of canned chickpeas rinsed (or about 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, if using dried)
a handful of spinach, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
½ teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
optional toppings: some additional sumac, sliced scallions, sliced avocado, a spoonful of harissa or pesto or another sauce if you choice
- Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
- Place the chickpeas and spinach into a small baking dish, add the sumac (if using), paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove, and carefully crack the two eggs over the chickpeas and return to the oven. Bake for another 5-8 minutes. I like to check it at 5 minutes, and if they eggs are too jiggly and not cooked, return for another 2-3. You want the whites to be cooked, but the yolk to be a little runny. Serve right away, and top with any additional toppings you like.