Reading just a handful of posts reveals my very stable relationship with carbohydrates.
So, imagine their hurt and confusion now that I am cooking for someone who, for health reasons, wants nothing to do with them.
We still see one another, mind you. A furtive café rendezvous with an almond croissant here. A private bedroom tryst with caramel-filled dark chocolate there.
I needed an out-in-the-open, dinnertime crowd-pleaser though, no matter how motley a crowd it was.
Then, in the midst of a guilty, carb-mourning flip through her cookbook, I happened upon a nearly complete dish that not only scored low in carbs, but also pressed every single one of my flavor buttons (and, let me tell you, I've got a lot of them).
In well under an hour, turkey meatballs spiced like feistier falafel would snuggle up to a bright and briny smashed chickpea salad tinged maroon and exotic from the addition of sumac.
I upped the color and health ante with some roasted carrots and cauliflower decorated with a ribbon of tahini sauce that did absolutely nothing wrong by throwing itself at the meatballs too.
So, there you have it--three mix-and-matchable recipes in one day, just in case you were feeling cheated by all the talk of low carbs.
Rest assured this is just a momentary distraction.
Spiced turkey meatballs and smashed chickpea salad
Adapted (barely) from the smitten kitchen cookbook
For the meatballs:
- 1 to 1-1/2 pounds ground turkey (with at least 7% fat)
- 2/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, microplaned
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, use a fork plus your hands to mix all ingredients until just combined. Don't go to town though, or you'll end up with meat weapons.
With damp hands, form the mixture into ping-pong ball-sized meatballs and space them out on a baking sheet, or in a shallow glass baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through to ensure an all-over Banana Boat tan.
For the chickpea salad:
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac, plus more for garnish
- fresh parsley, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
- pinch of Aleppo pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- olive oil
In a large serving bowl, combine everything but the olive oil.
Smash the mixture with a potato masher, a wire whisk, or a large fork until some chickpeas are smushed while others are just coarsely chopped. It's a chewable (not gum-able) texture we're after.
Offer enough olive oil to the salad that it glistens. Stir, taste for any missing seasoning, stir again.
Garnish with additional ground sumac and parsley (even if, like me, curly's all you have).
Roasted carrots and cauliflower with tahini sauce
For the veggies:
- 1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
- 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut on a bias into 1" pieces
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (You can roast your veggies in the same oven as your meatballs, but they'll need a head start.)
Toss the veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer (use two if necessary to avoid overcrowding).
Roast until the carrots start to shrivel and char and the cauliflower takes on its own caramel hues, about 35 to 45 minutes (depending on how reticent or overzealous your oven is).
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 clove garlic, microplaned
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. water
- pinch of Aleppo pepper
- salt, to taste
Unite all ingredients in a jar and shake it like no one's watching (or, if you prefer it, like someone is).
Use unsparingly over roasted vegetables and meatballs and anything else with an edible, porous surface.