Sunday, August 28, 2011

broccoli & chickpea salad with lemon-tahini dressing

so just to get it out of the way early, this is barely a recipe. it's a simple chickpea and broccoli salad with a lemony tahini dressing. it's almost like if you deconstructed broccoli hummus and reconstructed it as a salad. except that i've never seen broccoli hummus (somebody get on that! and give me 50% of your profits!).

the thing is, i have to start working tomorrow. i know that many people work, like, every day and so i'm really not complaining. it's just hard to imagine after a long summer of working at an internship for just 10 hours a week. also, i'm going to have to Dress Up for this job and i've never had to do that in my life, so i'm a little apprehensive. but i'm sure it will be a good experience and i will learn a lot, blah blah blah.

my point is, this whole job thing will be full of firsts. aside from the need for office-appropriate attire, i will have to bring my lunch to work for the first time ever. i know that seems weird, but the other jobs i've had involved either working from home or (sweetly) included the serious perk of having lunch bought for us every day by my boss (of course, that was the same job at which i lacked health insurance, but still. getting lunch brought in from whatever restaurant we chose every day was pretty nice).

so in light of this change, i've been trying to think of good things to bring for lunch. this was sort of a test run, if you will. i wanted something portable and healthy and easy, because i'm bad about procrastinating and i know there will be times when it's 11 pm and i need to scramble to get something ready for the next day (no, unfortunately i can't make things in the morning. i can barely make coffee in the morning).

first i chopped a big head of broccoli into little bits. i use the stem as well as the florets because once you peel the tough outer skin off, it is delicious. i put it on a foil-covered pan and added about a teaspoon of olive oil, a biggish pinch of salt, some pepper and smoked paprika and mixed it around so it all got coated. then i roasted it in the toaster oven at 400 for about 15 minutes. you could do whatever you want to cook it, though - steam it, microwave it, sauté it, etc.

while that's happening, drain and rinse two cans of chickpeas. let them sit and dry out a little while you make the dressing. i used about 2 tablespoons (maybe a little less) of tahini, the juice from a whole lemon (this makes it quite lemony - feel free to use somewhat less, if you like), salt, pepper, and more smoked paprika to taste, about half a teaspoon of cumin and the same of sumac (you could definitely leave the sumac out if you don't happen to have any), and a small minced shallot.

then just add the broccoli and chickpeas and stir. if it's too thick for your liking (depends on how dry the chickpeas are), just add a little warm water until the dressing is the right consistency.

you could also add any number of other things to this - a little minced red onion, cut-up hard boiled egg, chicken, baked tofu, other vegetables (roasted cauliflower or brussels sprouts would be fantastic) - the possibilities are virtually endless. although i'm sad that summer is ending, i'm excited about fall's new opportunities and challenges and i'm looking forward to a season of simple work lunches like this one.

(also, it's probably obvious, but this makes a lot of salad. feel free to cut the recipe in half if you don't like eating the same lunch every day. i am boring, so i don't mind it).

1 large head broccoli
1 teaspoon olive oil
smoked paprika

2 tablespoons tahini
juice of one lemon
smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional)
1 small minced shallot

2 cans chickpeas

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