Friday, September 28, 2012

Roasted Potato Salad with Avocado Pesto and Maple Chickpeas

Apparently September is National Potato Month. Who knew? (And who cares? Frankly, I find the fact that September 24 was National Punctuation Day much more interesting.) If you knew, and you care—or if you’re just looking for the best damn potato salad you’ve ever had—read on. Oh, and it just happens to be vegan.

But first, a little bit about Worlds. People keep asking me what I know. The answer is “very little.” Last week’s Team USA email said that the temperatures will range between 54°F and 62°F (October is Spring in New Zealand) and there’s a 58% chance of rain. (No problem…It was cold and rainy at the Colby Triathlon last weekend.) My race starts at 6:55am, which is about 20 minutes after sunrise and apparently the least windy part of the day. And I just discovered a gluten-free store about 3km from our hotel.

Now, back to the potatoes:

(Inspired by Diet, Dessert and Dogs)

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Maple syrup (approximately 2 tsp.)
As many potatoes as you want (we used 6 or so fingerlings and 4 regular potatoes—we used goldens), scrubbed (or peeled if desired) and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bunch basil (just the leaves)
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tbsp. pine nuts
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350° and dump the rinsed, drained chickpeas into a paper towel-lined baking dish.

2. Let the chickpeas air dry for a little while and then pat them dry with a paper towel.

3. Transfer the dry chickpeas to a bowl and toss with enough EVOO to coat.

4. Now roll the chickpeas onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and pop ‘em in the oven for 30-40 minutes (until they’re crispy).

5. Roll the crispy chickpeas into a bowl and toss with enough maple syrup to coat and then roll them back onto the rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.)

6. Set the chickpeas aside and jack the oven temperature up to 400°.

7. Dump the potato chunks in a bowl and toss with enough EVOO to coat.

8. Transfer the potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, flip, and then roast for 10-15 more minutes (until they’re poke-able and just starting to brown).

9. While the potatoes cook, make the pesto: combine the basil, about a tbsp. of EVOO, the garlic, the pine nuts and the avocado in a food processor. Process until smooth. Taste. Add a lemon juice (or not) to taste.

10. Combine the potatoes, chickpeas and pesto in a bowl and stir it up. (Note: if you have one of those fancy ovens that lets you set one rack to one temperature and another rack to another temperature, this will be a much more efficient process.)

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