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Vegetarian Recipes

Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

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Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale


It’s Saturday…if you have friends coming over for dinner but you don’t feel like spending all day in the kitchen, I’ve got just the thing for you.

This baked feta recipe comes from the book Cook90 by David Tamarkin, the editor and digital director of Epicurious. It’s a great book that’s full of accessible, easy-to-prepare dishes. Cook90 is essentially a guide to help you get in the habit of cooking by cooking for 90 days in a row. It isn’t a diet plan or a cleanse or anything like that. The idea is that if you’re someone who wants to cook more, this is sort of a jump start plan to get into the habit.

I love the message of this book, especially this section from the intro: “When you COOK90, your days become healthier because cooking is an inherently healthy behavior. Cooking becomes faster, because daily cooking is a cycle in which each meal naturally connects to the next. And your food simply gets better, because you’re practicing cooking three times a day.”

If you’re someone that eats a little bit of everything, this plan would be a great one to follow (the recipes are not all vegetarian). For everyone else (me included), there are a bunch of produce-forward recipes that are fun and fast to make, like this baked feta!

I was drawn to this recipe because I am a huge fan of feta cheese. I also love chickpeas and kale, so I couldn’t resist trying this out. This recipe has only a handful of ingredients, and we all loved it – even Jack, who said, “what are those weird rectangles” before digging in and devouring his plate. (And then going back for more.)


Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale


If you’re a fan of simple, comforting, and healthy food, give this recipe a try, and get more inspiration to stay in the habit of cooking from our recipe index!

Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds* (see note)
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (this recipe is in the book)
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 (12-ounce) block of feta, cut into ½-inch planks
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • warm pita or baguette, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat a 10 or 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle gently for a minute or two. Add the kale in batches, letting each handful shrink and wilt before adding the next.
  3. When the last of the kale has wilted, add the tomato sauce, chickpeas, lemon juice, and ½ cup water. Stir and let it come to a simmer.
  4. Nestle the feta slices into the sauce and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the feta has softened, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes and serve with warm pita and lemon wedges.
Note: the original recipe called for 3 cups tomato sauce, which I thought was too saucy, so I ended up using 2 in my final version.*If you use ground cumin, I recommend starting with ½ teaspoon and adding it in step 3 with the tomato sauce because it’ll burn quicker than whole cumin seeds.

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Vegetarian Recipes

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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