It’s April.   And time for Spring Cleaning !!!   If you enjoy bold flavors, I have the perfect bowl of food to wake you up out of your winter slumber, and cleanse the system:   Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas w/ Garlicky Kale Salad & Gardein Patty !!

Normally at this time of year, as tourists depart our island,  I’m preparing for my own spring break.   And the weeks leading up to vacation are a a perfect opportunity to clear out my fridge and freezer of the winter leftovers and guest hand-me-downs that have accumulated, give my appliances a power clean, and create space for my caretakers.

Unfortunately, I feel like life has played a big April Fool’s joke on me!!   Our late spring villa rental calendar is keeping me from taking my usual post-season vacation :(.    But as the teeter-totter of life goes, on the upside, no vacation means business is going well …

Still, vacation or no vacation, it’s time for the winter leftovers to go !!

And friends are always asking me for really EASY vegetarian recipes.

So this week, I’m taking a mini-break from villa work to blog, and I’ll be treating you to some new, easy-breezy quick fix ideas using leftovers from the recipes I’ve posted this past fall & winter.  These are the type of recipes you’ll keep coming back to.

Last night, I used up my stash of frozen chickpeas, to make a Tuscan inspired mash (ridding my fridge also of some pretty sad looking grape tomatoes!).   Along side, I  paired the last vestiges of my winter greens.  Kale holds a long tradition in Italian cuisine, with the black type, also known as lacinato or dinosaur kale, being especially revered in Tuscany.   It’s said that Lacinato Kale has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than the more common Curly variety, with its flavor described as deep and earthy, but not so bitter with an almost nutty sweetness.  I wouldn’t know, as at the time of this writing I’ve never had dinosaur kale … One reason alone for this curious herbivore to get “off the rock” 😉

Mashed chickpeas stand in nicely, as a fresh and protein rich alternative to mashed potatoes.   Simply top the Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas (recipe below) with a protein patty of choice – shown here with a Gardein Turkeyish Breaded Cutlet – and a side of  Garlicky Kale Salad,  (click for recipe) served at room temperature.

As we do transpire from winter into spring, you can substitute beautiful springtime, lightly sauteed broccoli rabe with the garlicky dressing, in place of the wintery kale.

If you are totally ready to say goodbye to this ferocious winter, today’s sunny, Tuscan inspired recipe is for you!

Enjoy ❤




Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas
Cook time
Total time
Dreaming of a summer in Tuscany? This super simple recipe will take you there! Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa.
Serves: 2 - 1 cup servings
  • 2 cups (1 - 15oz can) chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon each olive oil & earth balance
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cloves (1 teaspoon) garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning or herbs de Provence
  • ⅓ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. If time allows, prepare your own chickpeas from dried beans (soaking overnight, then cooking for about 2.5 hours). If using canned, rinse and thoroughly drain them, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Chop chickpeas by hand to a course meal. Or alternately, barely pulse beans in a food processor. I prefer doing this by hand, as it's easy to over process the beans in the food processor, making a puree instead of a course meal.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil & earth balance over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the tomato is softened. Add the garlic and italian seasoning, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chickpeas and vegetable broth, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until heated through,mashing beans slightly against the side.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

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