This is one of the quickest dinners I’ve made in a while, and it was well-timed with this last, busy week of my internship. Somehow, in spite of the speed and the fact that I didn’t think very much about it as it came together, it’s one of my favorite meals I’ve had in a while, probably because it would be very hard indeed for me to dislike any combination of the ingredients here. (Dill alone is a selling point.)
The reason it came together so fast is my unabashed reliance on frozen rice these days. I get bags of it at Whole Foods (it’s the 365 brand) and am always so grateful when I remember that it’s sitting in my freezer. It’s no big deal to cook rice, I know, and whenever I mention this little hack (or whatever you want to call it) I feel sheepish. But rice doesn’t exactly cook instantaneously—it’s not quinoa, after all!—and it’s an ingredient I use a lot in last-minute bowls and tacos, or as a base for curries.
If you have pre-cooked rice of any kind and a can of chickpeas (or some frozen, cooked ones that you can defrost ahead of time), this meal is so simple; popping a tray of zucchini in the oven to roast is the biggest step, and that cooking is totally inactive. I came home from work last Friday, roasted the zucchini, and got some work done; by the time the vegetables were ready I had everything else lined up to heat and serve. Dinner was on the table in no time.
Here’s the oh-so-simple recipe. It speaks for itself, which is a nice thing, since I’m too tired to speak for it ?
- 1 lb zucchini (about two medium/large), diced
- 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting vegetable cooking oil (such as grapeseed or refined avocado)
- 1 cup short grain brown rice or 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil or a few tablespoons vegetable broth
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley or chives
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss the zucchini with the vegetable oil and transfer to the sheet. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and browning.
If using dry rice, cook rice according to package instructions while zucchini roasts.
Heat the olive oil or broth in a roomy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallot is clear and soft. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Stir in the cooked rice, chickpeas, and roasted zucchini. Add the lemon juice, dill, and parsley; stir well. When everything is warmed through, taste and add salt and pepper to your preference. Serve.
I hope you might turn to it on a busy night, like I did, and find that it’s as filling and flavorful as you need it to be.
I’ve got one more day to go, and the fact that my DI is over still hasn’t really hit me. But I’m sure that, at this point tomorrow evening, I’ll be feeling very differently . . . and, I hope, very relieved.
I’ll “see” you this weekend—have a peaceful end to your weeks, friends.