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Roast vegetables and chickpeas: A vintage recipe

I can only presume there's a secret newsletter that goes out to omni restaurants every year or so entitled 'the token veg*n option for the next couple of years' or 'what the unimaginative restaurants will be giving the flesh dodgers for the foreseeable future'.

Once they've got the newsletter, they all start punting out that one dish, whatever it may be, and pat themselves on the back for having done their duty towards those veg*ns. A few years back, there was a craze for veggie lasagne (often served with chips for maximum hot carb-on-carb action). These days, it's the tasteless risotto, often bothered by butternut squash.

Sometime between the lasagne and risotto periods, there was a bit of a thing for roast veggies and cous cous. 

Maybe that's why I've had a recipe for something similar in my recipe stash for 2008. Yep, I've had a recipe for roasted vegetables with chickpeas for over five years. Five years, and I've never made it. I blame the ubiquity of the dish in the pubs and cafes of England for the delay.  Still, five years hanging on to a recipe and not making it? What a doofus.

Anyway, after I'd made the recipe, then cooked up some giant cous cous (the funnest texture evuh) to go with it, I could see what made it such a popular meal. 

It doesn't take a lot of effort to make, it ticks a lot of nutrition boxes, and it's pretty darn tasty. One more ticked off my unmade recipes list - high five all round!

The original recipe was from the Observer Food Monthly. After five years, the recipe's no longer online, so I've reproduced it here.

12 small mushrooms
2 ripe tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, cut up into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut up into strips
1 red onion, cut up into wedges
1 small fennel bulb, cut into thin wedges
1 garlic bulb, broken into indiviudal cloves but not peeled
2tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 sprigs of thyme or rosemary

How you do it
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onion, fennel, and garlic in a large roating tray. Sprinkle evenly with salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast for around 1 hour.
Remove the tray from the oven and turn the vegetables.
Add the chick peas and thyme sprigs.
Return the tray to the oven, and roast for a further 30 minutes until the edges of the vegetables are just starting to blacken and char.

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  1. Wait. They actually change the veg*n item on the menu every year in your area? Our restaurants tend to stick to the standard sad salad and the occasional stir fry. I’m pretty sure I’ve got some random roasted veg recipes somewhere in the black hole of bookmarked recipes. So now that you’ve made it, are you tossing it or saving it to remake in another 5 years?

  2. Very nice. I love ticking a recipe off the to-make list. Especially when it comes out tasty. This looks beautiful. Roasted fennel is so pleasant.

  3. I love your restaurant theory, it's definitely true. Also I'm sad that tasteless risotto was a thing in your neck of the woods - I like risotto and it's a tragedy to let it be tasteless! Over here I'm sorta getting sick of tofu scrambles, especially because the ones I make at home are usually better. And you really can't go wrong with chickpeas and roasted veggies.

  4. Yum! This looks delicious, Joey! I definitely don't use enough fennel.

  5. Haha, secret newsletter - too right!

  6. I have a recipe-to-try back log too! Ha! But there's one more box to tick for this one, it looks great on the plate too! I love roast veggies!

  7. In addition to being tasty and nutritious, it's also freakin' beautiful. What a great looking plate. I've had a couple of vegetable plates in my day, but none looked as good as this. I would like to try making it some time. Yum!!!

  8. I wish this were an option on lame restaurant menus here. Or lame wedding menus. I'd be so happy to enjoy roasted veggies and chickpeas instead of taste-free stir-fried veggies over rice or luke-warm spaghetti with flavorless sauce. Keeping a few cans of chickpeas in the pantry would be a big improvement. Your plate looks great!

  9. I have been to 4 or 5 work dinners in the past two years where the ONLY vegan option is the butternut risotto with rocket, hold the cream and parmesan. Seriously, no matter what city, what cuisine, it seems that the memo stated vegans ONLY eat risotto when they go out, so please don't bother with anything else.

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