In recent years, Simon Bryant has turned his attention from being a restaurant chef and a television chef on The Cook and The Chef to becoming a champion of local, ethical and sustainable food.
He is one of the creative directors of the Tasting Australia festival, and also an ambassador for OzHarvest, The Big Issue and the Adelaide Bee Sanctuary, and an advocate for the 2016 International Year of the Pulse (IYP).
His food brand dirt(y) inc includes different varieties of GM-free pulses including baby red lentils, red bolt lentils, white pearl peas, aquadulce broad beans, baby blue lentils, red masoor dal and gold chana dal, sourced from producers around South Australia and Victoria.
As part of his role with the IYP, he joins 15 “Gourmet Gurus” from all over the world who have designed healthy and innovative new recipes using pulses as a major ingredient.
Here, Bryant has shared one of his favourite IYP dishes, Chickpeas, Garlicky Wilted Spinach and Red Onion Pasta, which uses kabuli chickpeas sourced from the Yorke Peninsula.
“Grown by the Schilling family in Kadina, our kabuli chickpeas are the bigger boys of the chickpea world, compared with the desi variety,” writes Bryant. “Chickpeas also make a great addition to salads, braises and soups, and can be sprouted (or cooked) to make hummus.”
Kabuli Chickpeas, Garlicky Wilted Spinach and Red Onion Pasta
Prepare half a pack of Dirt(y) Kabuli Chickpeas by soaking in water overnight. Drain soaking water then cook in 3 times their volume of cold water for around 45 mins or until “al dente”. Drain, but reserve about 60ml of cooking liquid (it’s tasty).
Cook up some quality wholemeal pasta (pappardelle, linguini, whatever; wider pasta is better here). Drain then toss in olive oil.
Grab a small bunch of spinach (or any leafy green you fancy) and separate the leaves from the stems. Fry the stems and chickpeas over gentle heat in a decent amount of good olive oil with a few cloves of crushed garlic for a couple of minutes. Fold in the leaves and a good squeeze of lemon juice, a little lemon zest and the reserved chickpea cooking liquid. The spinach will wilt in a few seconds so don’t overcook at this stage.
Throw that lot in a bowl with the pasta; drizzle over some olive oil, season with cracked pepper and salt flakes, add half a thinly sliced red onion, and a handful of grated parmesan.
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