During this stay-at-home time, I’ve cooked more of my meals than at any other point in the last decade.  Here’s the thing: Cooking is joy! Cooking is creativity! Cooking offers the best of cross-cultural communication.  

Yet all that cooking (and all those dishes) contribute to a feeling of busy-ness despite saving time on commuting and social events.  Most days my go-to meal need to be fast, healthy, and limit the height of the dishes in the sink afterwards.  Here is my staple stay-at-home meal that meets all of the criteria and still gives me joy: 

Base ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen cauliflower (or broccoli) 
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 an onion, diced and/or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 T. olive oil (more if you like)
  • Salt to taste 
  • Optional: other vegetables you have on hand (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, etc), diced small

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Place the above ingredients in a large bowl and choose your flavor profile.

  • Lemony: juice of 1/2 lemon + finely grated lemon zest – 2 tsp + 1 tsp cumin, optional: any herbs (fresh or dried) you like.
  • Coconut: sub melted coconut oil for the olive oil, add shredded coconut or coconut flakes during the last five minutes of baking.
  • Curry: 2 tsp Turmeric + a 1/2 tsp chili powder + 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder, or Muchi curry powder, ghee (optional).
  • Greek: olives, 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced, jalapeno slivers, juice of 1/2 lemon, oregano (dried or fresh), add feta crumbles before serving 

You get the idea — experiment with your spice cabinet and never eat the same meal twice.

Once all of your ingredients are in the big bowl, stir to coat every chickpea and cauliflower floret evenly, then spread on a baking sheet. There is no need to grease the sheet since the ingredients are already oily.  

Place in the pre-heated oven, and set a timer for 15 minutes. Stir / flip / shift around the contents on the baking sheet, and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown slightly. 

Serving ideas: 

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro or parsley, maybe some hemp seeds or walnuts, hummus, tahini sauce or aioli or a green sauce like zhug.  

Serve over rice or scoop into a bowl and eat as it is.  

This meal is rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and relatively low carbs