Roasted Chard with Feta & Chickpeas

Wow. It's been a long time since I last posted . . . I've been busy . . . getting my mojo back! Nothing like major surgery to suck it right out of you. But now, after a perfect tropical getaway and some kick-ass workouts, I can honestly say I'm truly starting to feel like my hell-raising self again.

Only, I'm heavier. About 5 lbs. Lying around, unable to move much for a few months can do that to a girl. So what am I doing? Taking charge, of course! I've decided I'm going to blast those 5 lbs., and try for another 5 . . . to bring me down to my all-time lowest adult weight. If those last 5 are too infuriating, I'll hold at the weight I've been at since 1998. The goal is to keep middle-aged paunch at bay.

So, no rich food's been served here lately, 'cause hubs is on the plan, too. But we have had simple, wholesome, fiber- and protein-full meals, and I'm happy to share them with you. Whether you're trying to slim or you're just interested in super-simple and über-healthful food (not much starch, small portion sizes, lots of green veg), these'll tickle your fancy. And if you're looking for cheesy, buttery stuff? Well, that's what the Semi-Sweet archives are for, my friends. Just looking at the Chicken Divine recipe under this one is making my mouth water, and it's 10:30 a.m.

But I digress. First off, a great little vegetarian number we had last night. I mashed up two recipes and was inspired by a friend who's been raving about roasted chard all winter. What came about was a lip-smacking, filling meal that kept us satisfied, but lighter on our feet.

Rainbow Chard with Feta and Chickpeas (inspired by this at Kalyn's Kitchen and this at Leite's Culinaria)

1 can (15 oz. can) chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained (remember, Eden Organics has no BPA in their linings!) 2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided 4 fresh garlic cloves, chopped (I would not use garlic from a jar for this recipe - the roasted bits are SO good) dash of red pepper flakes (or to taste, optional) Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 2 oz. crumbled Feta 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint
1 large bunch rainbow chard (or regular chard, but the rainbow looks so pretty, doesn't it?)


Preheat the oven to 425°. If your chickpeas are a little damp, pat 'em dry with a clean kitchen towel/paper towel. If they're damp, they'll steam, not roast. Put the chickpeas into a medium-sized mixing bowl, and combine them with one tablespoon of the olive oil, the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Spray a large rectangular baking dish with nonstick spray (9x13 will give them room to spread out).  Put the chickpea mixture into the baking dish, then put in the oven and roast 15-18 minutes, stirring every 6 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, wash and pat dry your chard leaves (again, too much moisture will yield a less roasty result here). Trim the very ends of the stems and discard. Remove the center rib and stem from each leaf and coarsely chop the chard leaves into large pieces so they'll be easy to eat - not too small, though. They'll wilt. Cut the stems into 1-inch pieces.Combine the chard leaves and stems in a large bowl and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to mix the two well, so that all the leaves are coated with a slick of oil. Spread the prepared chard on a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.Wash the mint and spin it dry/dry it with a towel and chop it finely.  Crumble the feta.

Once you remove the chickpeas from the oven, insert the chard. Set your timer for 3 minutes - the chard can cook quickly and you don't want it to burn. Give the chard a stir after 3 minutes, and continue roasting in 3-minute increments until it's tender. It'll probably take 6-12 minutes or so total.

Combine the roasted chickpeas and chard in a large bowl, add the mint and mix it well. Add the feta and mix again. Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 2 as a main-course. It could easily be doubled for 4 (in that case, use 2 rimmed baking sheets for those two bunches of chard, they'll cook much better if they're spread out). This would be great served over coarse bulgur if you'd like to add some starch to this.