When, I explain I like to cook to people, a common reply is “I would, but I don’t have time”, which is nonsense of course. I have no quibble with anyone whatsoever for not enjoying cooking, or even turning to convenience food, each to their own and all that. But, I believe that if you have the time to heat a packet or jar of something, you’ll have time to make a meal.
Take, for example, some fresh pasta, prawns, frozen peas, garlic and a little chilli and I’ll bet you could have a great pasta dish in ten minutes. A frozen pizza takes longer.
Tonight was a little like this, I was a little late in, but having been out for dinner on Wednesday and Thursday, we couldn’t make it a hat trick. Could we? No, no we couldn’t…
And so the cogs clunked and whirred. I didn’t want anything too unhealthy and I’m trying to keep the meat content down for a while. For me personally, there is nothing better for going meat free than Italian food.
This was kind of inspired by falafel, but with Italian flavours in the form of ricotta, sun dried tomatoes and basil oil. With it, some spinach and simple sautéed mushrooms. Simple and on the table in about 15 minutes.
My only reservation? The chickpea cake was a bit soft, but otherwise, the flavour was good. I think chickpeas cooked from dried work better and have a better texture.
- 400g cooked chickpeas – canned for speed, dried are better.
- 3 tbsp ricotta
- 6 sun dried tomatoes, drained and dried of oil
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tbsp grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)
- A lug of basil oil (or olive oil and some torn basil leaves)
- A little lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- A little polenta for dusting
- Button mushrooms
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- A couple of parsley sprigs
- Butter (optional as ever..)
- Vegetable stock
- Oil for frying
Blitz the chickpeas, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes, oil and seasoning in a processor (or just mash it with a fork).
Shape into two burger shapes and dust in the polenta.
Bring a small pan of vegetable stock (about 400ml) to the boil and put the spinach in. Turn off the heat and put the lid on. Meanwhile, in a heavy pan, fry the onions in the oil, and add the garlic. Fry for a few minutes more and stir in the butter and parsley. Turn the heat off, remove and keep warm.
Reheat the pan and add some more oil, fry the chickpea cakes for a few minutes on each side until the polenta crisps. Be careful not to break them – use a spatula!
And relax…..its the weekend 😉
These look very nice. Never thought of combining ricotta and chickpeas!
Thank you very much. I initially thought of the ricotta to balance the sundries tomatoes. I think it worked!
Yes, I agree about cooking and time, I don’t have a lot of that either, but inclination helps! Really nice Italian twist to your cakes. I also seem to have the soft chickpea cake issue, especially with falafel, not sure why. I ‘ll take you advice to relax, off for the week forecast great, not sure about relaxation, but planning to try it out :))
Thanks T. Hmm, going have to do some experimentation though. I also think writing a blog about food tends to focus the mind! Have a great week off, I hope the weather is kind!
This sounds great…it would be fun to experiment to see if the softness could be changed just a little but I think I would enjoy them just the way they are.
Thanks Karen! Yes, I’ll be going back to this one, I get a bit like dog with a bone until I can improve it a bit! Was nice though and actually pretty filling…
Your chickpea cakes look just fabulous, Phil! I love that you dusted them in polenta for extra crunch instead of in flour! 😉 They look superb too! 🙂 A must make today!
Thank you Sophie. It did have nice crunch – good old polenta. If you manage to improve, it let me know!
I finale made them today & they rocked my taste buds, Phill! They were even superb! xxxx
Thats great! Thanks for letting me know Sophie, I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
This is perfect for the Mrs – she being a veggie and all (that’s food related not her mental state)
When speaking to veggie friends, I often ask if they’re still in a vegetative state. Well, they laughed first time…
I really like chickpeas, so those cakes sound fantastic. I prefer the texture of dried chickpeas and normally cook them in a pressure cooker, so soaking over night isn’t necessary 😉
Thanks MD. Like the pressure cooker idea – top tip! Think I’m going to invest in one….
They are fantastic for beans, pulses, stocks and soups.
I’m intrigued. Will order one up…
Great food! I may have to try this one myself
Thanks very much. They had much more flavour than I thought they would, so was pleasantly surprised. May tweak a few ingredients next time. Cheers for taking the time to stop by!