Salmon with chickpea ragu is a dish I would not have appreciated at all two years ago. For one thing, it has chickpeas. Two, it has onion chunks. And three, it has chickpeas.

Surprisingly, however, I would have gobbled up the salmon just as I would today.

Thankfully, I enjoy all of these vegetables today. It’s also good to have roommates that are willing to try weird sounding recipes with questionable ingredients (ie, Shelley and chickpeas). When I first decided to make this dish, I was a little nervous about the ragu – I had no idea how it would taste and I was afraid the chickpeas wouldn’t soften at all during the simmering time.

Wrong. So wrong.

The ragu was awesome and made for some tasty leftovers. A dish is not truly good unless it tastes awesome leftover as well (not really, but it’s always a plus…like a gift that keeps on giving). This meal also made me feel like I was cooking something legitimately, I don’t know, fancy? It sounds stupid, but I felt like a good cook after successfully making this.

Anyways, I seasoned the salmon pretty lightly because it’s more of an accessory to the ragu, at least in my opinion. The tomato paste and chicken broth are the two ingredients that really made the ragu – they helped make the chickpeas really flavorful.

The recipe is from So Easy by Ellie Krieger, but I made a few alterations, like substituting summer squash for zucchini (couldn’t find any in the grocery store), halving the amount of chicken stock, and adding a bit more seasoning to the salmon.

Salmon with Chickpea Ragu
Serves 4

– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 carrots, chopped
– 1 zucchini (or squash), chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2.5 tbsp tomato paste
– pinch red pepper flakes
– 2.5 cups chicken broth
– 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
– salt and pepper
– Italian Dressing mix (duh)
– Cajun seasoning (optional)
– 1-1.25 lb salmon fillet

Start by heating the oil in a large pan, then adding the chopped onion and carrots, along with salt and pepper. Let them cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-medium high heat until they soften. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and squash and let that cook for another 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until it incorporates, then add the chicken broth, more salt and pepper and chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.

In the mean time, cut your salmon into 4 equal fillets. Season each fillet with salt, pepper and Italian Dressing mix and stick under the broiler for 8-10 minutes for each inch of thickness (my fillets were thick, so it took about 15 minutes). After the salmon are done, add the basil to the chickpea ragu.

Spoon some ragu onto a shallow bowl, then top with a salmon fillet. We also had brown rice with this. I love dishes like this where the meat accentuates the vegetable side dish – it makes me feel healthy. Just think about all the fiber and heart healthy fats you get from this meal!!

Then you can undo it all with chocolate chip cookies made from a recipe that calls for 2 sticks of butter and 1.25 cups of brown sugar. Yay healthy arteries!

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