Fried Chickpeas & Arugula with Lime Tzatziki

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.  It truly is fast and has enough flavors and protein that even the biggest meat eaters will forget that they don’t have a steak on their plates.  The original recipe calls for stuffing all of the ingredients into pitas.  I am unable to find pitas in the local stores but Greek-style flat breads are readily available so I serve this dish as a deconstructed sandwich instead.  While I normally prefer to use dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in my recipes, preparing them takes time and planning since they need to soak overnight.  Sometimes fast and last-minute is what is on the menu so when that is the case, canned chickpeas work in a pinch.

FRIED CHICKPEAS & ARUGULA WITH LIME TZATZIKI

1 cup Greek yogurt (I use Albanian style Kos)

3 tablespoons chopped mint

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded

6 whole-wheat pitas (or flatbread or a bread of your choice)

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 cups loosely packed arugula

4 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine yogurt, mint, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, garlic, and cucumber in a small bowl.
  • Wrap pitas in foil and bake for 10 minutes or until warm.
  • Place the chickpeas in a single layer on a paper towel.  Cover with additional paper towels and pat dry.
  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  • Add the chickpeas to the pan; saute for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the chickpeas from the pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
  • Combine the remaining salt, chickpeas, cumin, paprika, and red pepper in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.
  • Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Add the arugula and toss gently to coat.
  • Divide the arugula and chickpeas evenly among the plates.  Top with two tomato slices and the yogurt sauce and serve with a warmed pita.

Serves 6

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