Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chickpea Picatta with Mashed "Caulipots" from Isa Chandra Moskowitz: The Wearing of the Green Done a Little Differently

I know, I know... it's St. Patrick's Day today so there should probably be corned beef and cabbage or at least some kind of Irish dish or ingredients on my post. Part of me was tempted--but at the end of the day I listened to my body which said it needed lighter, healthier fare. Of course don't get me wrong if one of girlichef's or Natashya's gorgeous Reuben sandwiches with that delectable home-cured corned beef suddenly showed up at my door I would ecstatically devour it but as far as cooking my own and having a bunch of corned beef sitting around, I just didn't need it.

I decided to still put on at least a little green for the holiday with a vegan version of picatta (one of my very favorite Italian dishes ever), that uses chickpeas instead of chicken or veal, is served on top of arugula (there's the green), and with a mash of potatoes (that's Irish-like!) and cauliflower. I have been drooling over this recipe for weeks, it's from "Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes" by one of my favorite vegan chefs and authors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz of "Veganomicon" and "Vegan With a Vengeance" and other wonderful vegan cookbooks fame. Moskowitz has the ability to make uncomplicated vegan fare with big flavors and her newest cookbook is no exception.

My copy of the book looks like a package of tape flags exploded all over it. Recipes like Goddess Nicoise Salad with Green Goddess Garlic Dressing, Pad Thai Salad, Silky Chickpea Gravy, OMG Oven-Baked Onion Rings, Cranberry-Cashew Biryani, Eggplant Kibbeh, Jerk Asparagus, Chipotle Lentil Burgers, Black Beans in Red Velvet Mole, Bistro Broccoli Chowder, Curry Laksa, Quinoa, White Bean & Kale Stew and Cashew Miso Mayo all have tabs on them. Great global flavors, vegan, all made with with real food using "pantry-friendly ingredients" and most dishes coming in at under 400 calories per serving with some even coming in at under 200 calories--really what more can you want?!

This book is about planet-friendly, satisfying foods and lifestyle not diet, which I love. There are plenty of tips, tricks and nutrition information--making it a handy resource for vegan cooking. It is well worth the money I spent on it. (I used a discount coupon but the book retails for $19.95 U.S. and has it for $11.93 right now.) So if you are trying to eat less meat, eat healthier, lose weight, save money or the planet, etc., this is a great book to add to your collection.

This Chickpea Picatta captures all the traditional lemony garlic flavors of the classic dish with the chickpeas providing protein, fiber and satiation. It's served on a bed of arugula and Moskowitz also recommends serving it with her Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes or "Caulipots," also in the book. Together it makes for a very satisfying and delicious meal with just enough "wearing of the green" to make sure I don't get pinched. ;-)

You can find the recipe in "Appetite for Reduction" on pages 115-116 or on Isa Chandra's blog, Post Punk Kitchen here.

Moskowitz says, "Picatta is like an instant fancy dinner. One second you’re just sitting there, all normal like, but the instant that first forkful of lemony wine bliss touches your tongue you’re transported to candlelight and tablecloths, even if you’re sitting in front of the TV watching Dancing With The Stars. This version is made with chickpeas which make it superfast, and it’s served over arugula for some green. I know lots of people are accustomed to picatta with pasta, and that is the Italian tradition, but my first picatta was as a vegan and we vegans loved our mashed potatoes, so that is what I suggest serving it with. If you’d like to bulk it up even further, try a grilled or roasted portobello. Nutritional info is listed down below."

Chickpea Picatta
"Appetite for Reduction" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
(Serves 4)
Active Time: 15 Minutes / Total Time: 30 Minutes

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
A few dashes fresh black pepper
Generous pinch of dried thyme
1 (16 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup capers with a little brine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups arugula

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium. Saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the breadcrumbs and toast them by stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. They should turn a few shades darker.

Add the vegetable broth and wine, salt, black pepper and thyme. Turn up heat and bring to a rolling boil and let the sauce reduce by 1/2, it should take about 7 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and capers to heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon and turn off the heat.

If serving with mashed potatoes or "Caulipots"--place the arugula in a wide bowl. Place the mashed potatoes on top, and ladle the picatta over the potatoes. The arugula will wilt and it will be lovely. If you are serving solo, just pour right over the arugula.

Nutritional Information: Serving: 1/4 recipe: Calories-190, Cal from fat-30, Total fat-3.5g, Saturated fat-0g, Trans fat-0g, Fiber-5g, Protein-9g, Cholesterol- 0mg, Niacin-730mg, Vitamin A-20%, Vitamin C-25%, Calcium-10%

Notes/Results: An inventive idea and a fabulous recipe. The flavors are excellent, the texture of the chickpeas works with the tasty lemony sauce and the peppery arugula and creamy potato-cauliflower mix both compliment it well. (You don't really see the sauce in the pictures but trust me it is there softening the arugula and soaking into the caulipots.) I did make just a couple of very small changes--instead of veggie broth I used Imagine Organic No-Chicken Broth, slightly diluted with water. I like the seasoning in it and the fact that it tastes more like chicken. I also added the zest of the lemon to the dish--I hate to waste zest. I threw in two (15 oz) cans of chickpeas--I always seem to want extra beans and there is a strong possibility that some additional capers jumped in as well. ;-) The Caulipots are a good way to enjoy mashed potatoes with less calories--with half cauliflower they come in at about 190 calories per serving which makes the whole dish about 380 calories--excellent for such a filling meal. Although the arugula works very well in this dish, I think baby spinach or even kale would be good choices too. A delicious, easy dish that makes me happy and that I will definitely make again.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


  1. Should I stop the FedEx man, then? ;) ha! I would gladly devour a plate of your lighter fare if it showed up at my door, too. I actually checked this book out from the library about a week ago, but haven't yet gotten around to cracking it open. Now I'm've excited me! =)

  2. Now this is the kind of meal that I love! And exactly what I would want for St. Patrick's Day if I didn't have five tons of cannellini bean leftovers to eat. A few extra capers are absolutely necessary here!

  3. This is genius, Deb! I love it, love it, love it. It's just perfect in every way.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  4. I love that book if only for the cover. How cute! I say you've got it covered with potatoes, but this day makes me hungry for corned beef too. Great dish!

  5. I love anything with chickpeas and this looks fantastic! Thanks!

  6. Love the title of this book!
    And you know something...I think I would enjoy this version of picatta more than the "real" one.

  7. I think this is her best book and I just love it. Chickpeas are good for any holiday. :)

  8. I'm no vegan, but this sounds like something I'd absolutely love. I do try to eat at least one meatless dinner each week--and not just pasta--and I've had cauliflower and potatoes together, but love the new name! Great dinner.

  9. girlichef--Oh no--please keep him coming! ;-) I think you'll like this book--lots of great recipes.

    Joanne--We can trade beans--I love cannellini beans too. ;-)

    Kim--Isn't it a fabulous idea? And it tastes so good too! ;-)

    Lori--It's a great book. Good as this was I am still craving a little corned beef too. ;-)

    Debbi--thanks! I am a chickpea fan too. ;-)

    Michelle--at least equally probably--it is a very satisfying, delicious dish. ;-)

    Authenticoriyafood--thank you! ;-)

    Lisa--I think it is my favorite of her books so far--so many great recipes. ;-)

    Arlene--I am like you--a few vegan or veggie dinners a week--although this dish may be good enough to convert me. ;-)

    Kat--mahalo! ;-)

  10. Thank you for this cookbook recommendation. I am trying to eat less meat, and still have meals that are filling, and who doesn't want to save money and the planet? This looks like a dish that fits the bill for those goals.


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