Meditations

Summer Vegetable Stir-Frys


We typically associate stir-fry cookery with Asian foods, but it’s a really versatile method. And now that summer vegetables are hitting our farmers’ markets all over the Midwest, we’ve been fixated on all-veggie dinners that are easy to get on the table on a hot midsummer evening. (Trust me: It’s hot.) This recipe for sautéed summer vegetables benefits beautifully from the high-heat/low-oil/constant-stirring of stir-frying. So does this, one of my all-time simple dishes: pasta with sautéed zucchini, pine nuts and Parmesan. Last week, I came up with another easy recipe for an all-veggie stir-fry that’s not Asian at all. Even better, it makes a fantastic “leftover lunch” at room temperature.

easy chickpea, tomato and spinach stir-fry
serves 4 as a side dish

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained and left to dry in a colander for 30 minutes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 bag fresh baby spinach, washed
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a wok or heavy sauté pan (with curved sides) over medium-high heat for 2 minutes until it’s hot. Add 1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil; let the oil warm until it shimmers in the pan. Add chickpeas (careful: any residual moisture from rinsing them will cause splatter, so it’s wise to let them dry well before cooking) and stir quickly to coat with oil. Cook over medium-high to high heat (as hot as you’re comfortable going), stirring frequently, until chickpeas start to brown a bit, 5 to 7 minutes. When they’re nicely browned, add the garlic and cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they also acquire some nice brown spots. Turn off the heat, and add the spinach; stir until barely wilted and season well with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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