I’m definitely a bag-luncher. While I enjoy the occasional salad-bar salad or panini, I find that bringing my lunch to work is often healthier and more cost-efficient than the alternative. Especially since I work in Georgetown, where lunch joints are pretty high-end, and (as you all surely know) I’m not the biggest fan of Subway, bag lunches are my speed.
As someone who routinely brings my lunch to work, and I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are simple to make, easy to nuke or tasty at room temperature, and pack in servings of carbs, vegetables, and protein. Needless to say, there are plenty of these recipes floating around the blogosphere, which has given me ample opportunity to experiment.
I was poking around on 101 cookbooks, which is a truly fabulous source for healthful and vegetarian recipes, and I found this chickpea and zucchini stir-fry recipe that looked great: lemon was the main seasoning ingredient, and the flavors looked clean and fresh. I’d been chomping on the recipe for a few days, mentally adding a few more elements and dressing up the whole thing a bit more complexly. Yams for sweetness and substance, scallions and parsley for color, “green” flavor and bite, and tahini and garlic to add to the lemon for a thicker, protein-filled dressing. I also figured I’d slow-roast the vegetables in order to caramelize them.
The resulting salad was everything I look for in a pack-your-own lunch dish: it had plenty of carbs and protein, pronounced caramel undertones from the browned vegetables, and a tangy, nutty bite. Honestly, I could take this for lunch several days in a row and not get bored (much like the cauliflower I took last week). In fact, I took it last Friday and yesterday, and I’ll be taking it again, you can bet on it.
Yam, Zucchini, and Chickpea Salad
inspired by 101 Cookbooks
For the salad:
2 yams or sweet potatoes, diced into 1-inch pieces
1 zucchini, diced into 1-inch pieces
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves
3 sprigs parsley, leaves finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon tahini
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment or silicone.
Spread diced sweet potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast 35-40 minutes, then add zucchini and roast an additional 10-15 minutes, until both vegetables are softened inside and caramelized in spots. If vegetables haven’t caramelized at that point, pop them under the broiler for 3 minutes, and they’ll brown plenty.
In a small frying pan over medium heat, saute chickpeas and whole garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon of olive oil (just enough to moisten) for about 3 minutes, until the chickpeas dry out a bit and are warmed through. Remove garlic cloves, chop finely, and reserve for dressing.
In a medium bowl, mix chickpeas with yams and zucchini. Add parsley and scallions, and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and half of chopped garlic. Add water by the teaspoon until the dressing is smooth and runny. Taste, and add additional chopped garlic if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over vegetables, toss to coat, and serve warm or room temperature.
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Great! This sounds easy and very tasty. I hate having to nuke stuff at work and am desperate for lunch recipes that are not lettuce based but are healthy and can be served at room temperature.
tonight was a lazy Amy’s frozen dinner night but what I wouldn’t have done for this dish!
Ooh, I *wish* I was having this for lunch today!
This looks better than any Georgetown snooty restaurant!
this looks like an awesome dish to whip up to bring to work for lunch. bookmarked!
That salad looks good!
This looks wonderful. I often bake a yam or sweet potato and fill it with chickpeas and different veggies. This is a nice spin on that, with what sounds like a tasty dressing. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve made this a few times now– as you said, it’s a perfect lunch! I prefer to use a little bit of zatar or rosemary instead of salt. Thanks for this!
I made this fantastic salad, but of course, being me, I had to do it differently than the recipe said! I saw scallions in your picture, so I just chopped up a few and added them. Also, for roasting the veggies I changed the method to one I’ve used to make the Gourmet mag recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with lime syrup and chives that’s posted on Epicurious. There the sweet potatoes are tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roasted at 450 for 15 or 20 minutes. Two pans are used, one on each rack, and halfway through baking they are switched for even browning.
I put the zucchini on one pan and the sweet potatoes on another, and I roasted them for about 20 minutes at 425. I did put the zucchini under the broiler very briefly to brown it, because it seemed soft enough after about 15 minutes and I didn’t want it to be mush.
I want to share a great technique for cutting veggies for roasting. I read that if you cut the sweet potatoes into pentagonal pieces they roast better without getting too soft. To accomplish this, slice the potatoes lengthwise in half. Then cut each half lengthwise into three or four strips. Each strip will have three sides, one of which is curved. Place a strip on one of the flat sides. Cut a piece off on the diagonal, so that the bottom is narrower than the top. This piece now has five surfaces. For the next chunk, cut so that the top is narrower than the bottom. Continue down the strip, alternating the direction of the cuts. This method works for the zucchini too!
this looks really good, i’ll have to try it. i’m always looking for new ways to incorporate sweet potatos into recipes. thanks!