The Cooking Chronicles: Chickpea Patties with Salad

I’m just about finished with Mark Bittman’s Food Matters, and I have to say, I’ve never been more inspired to cook with lentils and beans. Food Matters implores readers to reduce their overall meat intake, citing health benefits, the unacceptable conditions of industrial meat production, and the impossibility of the world to support the growing demand for meat. I respect Bittman’s philosophy primarily because he does not call for a radical shift – instead, he advocates for a gradual change, and a diet that can accommodate meat and other guilty pleasures – just in smaller and occasional quantities. It is an approachable method that doesn’t seek to alienate the public (or worse, be easily dismissed as “elitist”), and of course, it helps that the book contains both practical advice and actual recipes to follow.

I didn’t think I would be attracted to recipes without any photos, but I immediately bookmarked a handful of them, primarily the ones featuring chickpeas, which are my current ingredient-of-the-moment. Bittman’s recipes are also great because he lists dozens of substitutions – that knowledge is often assumed in cookbooks, and I appreciate that he spells it out for readers who need it like me.

I had printed off a recipe from Real Simple a few months ago, and didn’t get to it until this week. It coincidentally features, – you guessed it – chickpeas!

The chickpea patties were to be pureed in a food processor with garlic and seasonings, but as we are without a blender or a processor, we used Mack’s Magic Bullet instead. It worked all right, though for the consistency we were looking for, it was uneven (some too mushy, others left whole). We also ended up incorporating the additives by hand in a bowl, which seemed to work out fine. Our difficulty with the recipe, however, was actually forming the patties – they were on the dry side, and the flour dusting didn’t help. We imagined the patties would cook up crispy on the outside, pan-fried in olive oil, but the reality was that they were simply browned, and warmed through.

Chickpea patties with salad

Served with a fresh salad dressed in just olive oil and lemon, it was a light but filling supper. We are open to suggestions on how to improve the recipe though! Best of all, our supper also meant we were allowed to indulge in chocolate covered bacon without guilt, heh.