Easy AND healthy weeknight dinner
“Easy” and “healthy” are two words that don’t always go together, and I admit that I tend to favour the former over the latter. This chickpeas and rice dish, topped with fresh crunchy vegetables and a rich tahini sauce, fits easily into both categories.
Yes, the brown rice needs to cook for 45 minutes. But those 45 minutes take 30 just seconds of actual effort (measure rice and water, turn on stove, wait for it to boil). I say this not only to remind you, but also myself – there are countless times I have waited until I am ravenously hungry before throwing open the cupboard doors in search of food, and 45 minutes seems like an unbearable wait.
I’ve been making this meal for most of my adult life. I encourage you to not only a)try the magic that is a rice bowl, especially one with chickpeas and tahini sauce, and b)toss aside all measuring devices and just use this page as an idea, an inspiration. Use different veggies! Use more or less lemon! Go wild!
How to build your bowl:
Here I’ll walk you through the process of bowl-building this chickpeas and rice dish.
Start with a plop of warm and hearty brown rice (about a cup).
Adorn it with some gorgeous chickpeas. For simplicity’s sake, use a can of chickpeas – since I’m home during the day it’s easy enough for me to throw soaked chickpeas in the pressure cooker. If you have pre-soaked chickpeas, this takes about 30 minutes (including the time it takes to come to pressure), so it can be done alongside the brown rice without slowing you down.
Add the sauce at this point, too – your bowl will become very heaping once the veggies are added (unless you eat out of a mixing bowl or something, I won’t judge you), so it’s easier to get the sauce in now.
Now for the veggies. Be generous here – veggies add bulk to the meal, and lots of nutrition, but very few calories. Use your favourites! This here is my standard assortment for a tahini bowl with chickpeas and rice.
Pile on the veggies in any manner you see fit. In this picture, the bowl looks like such an innocuous salad – you almost can’t tell that lurking beneath the veggies is pure comfort food (yes, brown rice and chickpeas are comfort food to me).
Possibly the most important step is to load up your bowl with hot sauce. I’ve used all kinds for this meal – anything from Mexican hot sauce to Sriracha to Frank’s, and they all work. Tahini sauce loves hot sauce and wants to marry hot sauce, it’s a fact.