roasted broccoli and chickpea with lemony quinoa saladThe longer you put something off, the more daunting the task.

I keep putting off writing for no good reason.  I feel like I have so much to tell, yet at the same time the thoughts aren’t completely formed.  I feel a little paralyzed wondering where to start.

But today I decided to screw over-thinking it and just do something.  It’s the only way to start.  I made a super simple lunch and photographed it.  I just sat down and started writing.  And now I have a blog post.

I got out of my own way.  I did something simple.  I wasn’t trying to write the most eloquent blog post ever.  I didn’t think about which pictures would make it onto tastespotting or foodgawker.  It wasn’t as hard as I was making it out to be.  And I didn’t have to feel guilty about making it easy.

I made lunch in 20 minutes.  It cooked while I was in the shower.

I wrote this blog post in 5 minutes.

roasted broccoli and chickpeas

I went out to lunch with a friend this week and had a roasted vegetable salad over a bed of quinoa.

How had I forgotten about roasted vegetables?  They were a staple of my diet when I was in grad school.  Every sunday night, I would roast two baking sheets of veggies in the oven and use them throughout the week in salads, scrambled eggs, pasta, and sandwiches.  .  Roasted vegetables are delicious in just about everything and are great to have in your cooking arsenal to make quick meals that are a little more exciting and a bit more nutritious.

It’s a culinary secret weapon of mine.  People think roasted vegetables are fancy.  But really, it is the easiest way to cook vegetables.  Toss chopped veggies (if you’re really lazy, buy pre-chopped) on a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper (spices if you’re getting a little crazy), and stick them in the oven at around 400 degrees.  Toss them every ten minutes or so until they’re done, which will depend on the type of vegetable.

Real chefs (and persnickety people) will tell you to roast each vegetable separately because they cook at different speeds.  But that would detract from the major perk of roasting vegetables: simplicity.  No standing over a stove.  You can do other things (take a shower, clean the kitchen, watch TV) while you’re “cooking.”

I roasted broccoli and chickpeas because literally that’s all I had on hand in my empty kitchen – a head of broccoli and a can of chickpeas.  Here are some favorites to roast: cauliflower, bell peppers, corn (you can use frozen kernels), zucchini, any root vegetable, carrots, fennel, leeks, onions, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes… really any vegetable works in almost any combination.

This was my first time roasting chickpeas, mainly out of desperation of not having anything else to eat than any sort of foodie inspiration.  Turns out roasting chickpeas gives them a nice chewy texture with a crunchy outside – definitely will do it again.

Keep it simple.  Make it easy.

roasted broccoli and chickpeas with lemon quinoa salad avocado

Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas on Lemony Quinoa

Easy peasy.  Eat the roasted broccoli and chickpeas as-is as a snack, add to a salad, or serve over quinoa as I did.  A nice simple lunch that seems kind of fancy.  Don’t tell how easy it is.  For the salad I had for lunch, serve over a bed of quinoa and garnish with an avocado.  Drizzle with olive oil and spritz with some lemon juice.  Maybe an extra dash of salt and pepper.  And that’s it.  This all cooked while I was in the shower.  Easiest lunch ever.  It really doesn’t have to be that hard.   And you don’t have to tell anyone how easy it is.

Serves 2

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into thin slices.

Roll the chickpeas between two paper towels to remove the moisture.  I found it easiest to line the baking sheet with a paper towel, dump the chickpeas on it, and then roll them around with another paper towel until dry.  Then just pull away the bottom paper towel.  Add the broccoli.  Drizzle with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and season with salt and pepper.  Toss until evenly coated.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, using a wooden spoon to stir about halfway through.

Toast quinoa in a sauce pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add water and a dash of salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer on low until cooked, about 15 minutes.

To serve: Split the quinoa between two bowls.  Top with roasted broccoli and chickpeas (may have some left over).  Garnish with avocado.  Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.