Roasted chickpeas and cauliflower with kale, raisins and almonds, and manchego cheese

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas

Welcome to The Ordinary: Extreme sports zone! As you no doubt know, we have an extensive sporting complex, here at The Ordinary: from the pristine olympic-sized pool on the roof, to the climate-controlled underground basketball court, to the miles and miles of jogging track that wend their way through our orchards and vineyards. In all honesty, we’re not that sporty. I like playing tag, from time to time. And I like shooting baskets with the boys, although my prowess has earned me the nickname “misses Adas.” I don’t like professional sports at all – at least in America – and find them bloated, cynical and joyless. But the boys are both playing basketball, and this I love!! Malcolm is at such an age that the sport is starting to be taken very seriously, and some of the parents are depressingly aggressive in their court-side advice. Malcolm seems happily oblivious to all this. Strangely, my son – my son – doesn’t have a lot of competitive instinct. He likes running back and forth on the court, but he doesn’t feel particularly happy about beating friends on the other teams. And Isaac is playing, too, for the first time, and I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to watch a bunch of seven-year-olds play basketball! Isaac-basketballThey don’t understand the rules, they don’t keep score, they can’t keep track of all of the things they’re supposed to do at once. Either they don’t dribble at all, or they dribble with painstaking care, watching the ball as it rises and falls with such rapt attention that everything else fades into a colorful blur. They’re easily distracted, practicing dance moves or pulling up knee pads as the ball rockets towards them. Nobody knows who they’re passing to, least of all themselves, until the ball is lobbed through the air in no particular direction. And they hop around like popcorn, so excited and happy, bopping and dancing, dribbling themselves up and down rather than the ball. And then a coach will yell “hands in the air,” and all of them will throw their hands in the air as in joyous celebration! It’s a beautiful thing, I tell you! It’s a mother-flipping life lesson for us all!

roasted-cauliflower-and-chiI started this meal before we left for the epic hour-long basketball game, and I put it all together when I got back. So it’s a good meal for when you’re distracted, it doesn’t take long to make, and it keeps well, either together or in its separate elements. You roast the chickpeas, cauliflower, shallot, garlic and herbs all together, and if they sit in a warm oven, they only become better. You boil the kale on top of the stove, and then you add the raisins, almonds and cheese at the end, with a squeeze of lemon. If you don’t have manchego, not to fear! Any cheese you like would work here, or no cheese at all! Similarly, if you don’t have kale you could substitute chard, spinach, or collards. The boys mixed this with basmati rice to make a sort of pilaf, and David and I ate it atop lightly dressed lettuce and arugula to make a sort of warm salad. Good either way!!

Here’s Jurassic 5 with The Game.


1 smallish head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, not peeled, but skin pierced
2 t rosmary
1 t each dried thyme, sage, and basil
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and very well drained
olive oil to coat
3 cups kale or chard, washed or chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup toasted or roasted sliced almonds, crushed
1/2 cup grated manchego cheese (or any cheese you like!)
Juice of half a lemon
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Bed of greens or basmati rice (or both!) to serve.

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the cauliflower, chickpeas, herbs, and shallot and toss with just enough olive oil to coat – 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls should do it. Spread this mixture on a tray in a single layer and put the clove of garlic on the side of the tray.

Roast for 25 minutes, give or take, until the chickpeas and cauliflowers start to brown. Stir occasionally, to brown everything evenly.

Meanwhile, boil the kale or chard in salted water for about 10 minutes, till soft but still bright and flavorful. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, chop roughly.

Combine the cauliflower, chickpeas and kale. Mash the garlic and stir this in. Scatter the raisins and almonds over the top, and grate the cheese over. Squeeze half a lemon (or to taste) over the mixture and toss lightly. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Serve over basmati rice or a lightly dressed green salad.

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3 thoughts on “Roasted chickpeas and cauliflower with kale, raisins and almonds, and manchego cheese

  1. I’ve been thinking about this with Benjamin playing some children’s rugby on a Saturday morning, and about to start a kids’ cricket club. They definitely need grown-ups in and amongst them to link the play together. One little boy who’s only five, in Emma’s class, is small and quick and just runs rings around the bigger boys and weaves a long route that sometimes leads to the try-line. Lovely description Claire.

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