We welcome July with open arms. Afterall,we have been waiting months for its return. Like any polite guest, July does not come empty handed. After a coolish spring and plenty of rain in June – July marches in with celebratory parades, sticky strawberry sundaes, and picnic tables brimming with family tradition.
My step kids are now teenagers, so we no longer have nightly backyard fires. Lukas, 13, does not ask me to roam around the pasture searching for the infamous Alien Queen and Avalon, now 16, does not want to spread blankets out to watch for falling stars. However, no matter how old they get, they never seem to outgrow S’mores. In fact, the most important job that I have on our homestead is to keep a stash of S’mores supplies. Though, truth be told, sometimes I have to find places to hide the chocolate bars and peanut butter cups or we will be empty handed when the moment arises.
July also delivers an abundance of fresh produce in our garden. July is the time to start harvesting one of my favorites, cucumbers. This year I doubled the amount of plants that I grew last year since I could not keep up with the demand at the Skandia Farmers Market. So this year I am prepared!
As I contemplated what recipe I would offer you this month, I tried to think about the local produce that would be available in the next few months. Therefore, like many of my posts, this meal idea will allow you to customize it to fit your tastes and what you have available.
Recipe “bowls seem to be trending on many of the food bloggers and vloggers that I follow. In theory, it is a salad, but with heartier ingredients. When I add bowls to my meal plan, I tend to prepare the ingredients and keep them separate in the refrigerator. Then they can easily be assembled the night before (for a workday lunch) or custom-made via family members preferences.
While taco bowls are a favorite, I decided to take advantage of garden cucumbers and fresh dill to bring this bowl together. While the protein in this bowl comes from chickpeas, tahini, and hummus – you could also add chicken, steak, or pork roast (it is a great way to use up leftovers).
CHICKPEA BOWLS WITH CUCUMBER TZATZIKI & LEMON TAHINI DRESSING
Since this recipe is made up of three main components, I will post each of the three separately.
*1 can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
*Tablespoon olive oil
*2 teaspoons dried oregano
*1 teaspoon garlic salt
To roast the chickpeas, I used an air fryer, but they can also be roasted in the oven. Drain, rinse, and dry the chickpeas (pat dry with a towel). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and garlic salt. I air fried at 400 for 25 minutes (I paused the air fryer multiple times to “shake” the chickpeas). I wanted them to be crispy. If you would like a softer result, cook for less time.
CUCUMBER TZATZIKI SAUCE
*2 small (or 1 large) finely chopped cucumbers (Since the cucumbers were from my garden I did not peel. When I use a large cucumber I use a spoon to remove the seeds)
*12 ounce container of sour cream (you can substitute plain Greek yogurt or add both)
*1/4 cup of fresh chopped dill (could substitute a couple teaspoons of dried)
*1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
*1 clove of finely minced garlic
*1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
*1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Optional – if you have access to fresh mint, a little bit of chopped mint gives the sauce an extra fresh flavor profile.
Combine all the ingredients. This sauce tastes best when made ahead of time so the flavors can marry.
LEMON TAHINI DRESSING
(Tahini is a Middle Eastern ingredient often found in hummus. It is made from ground sesame seeds and can usually be found in the ethnic food aisle, or near the olives or salad dressings)
*½ cup of tahini
*¼ cup of water
*¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
*3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and zest
*3 Tablespoons of olive oil
*1 teaspoon of cumin
*2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Chives (optional. I have fresh chives in my garden so I use them often)
Use a blender to combine ingredients or whisk well. This dressing will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator – I like to store in a small Mason jar.
BODY OF THE BOWL
*Greens (I used kale, spinach, and lettuce from our garden)
*Roasted Brussels Sprouts (I had leftovers in the refrigerator)
*Pita bread (toasted with butter and garlic)T
he ingredients can be assembled as you wish. You can put them in layers or give them each their own spot. While I tend to organize the ingredients in a neat fashion, the best way to eat it is to mix it all together. I also am a huge fan of adding a side of toasted bread, tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers to scoop up the ingredients.
I hope you enjoy my take on a “Bowl.” The possibilities are endless: zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, carrots, snow peas, rice, quinoa, or hard boiled eggs.
I plan to make the most of July. Maybe Lukas will decide to take a couple of swoops around the pasture by the glow of lightning bugs and Avalon will marvel in the sparkling star dust with me. As for you, I wish you a July full of festivity and the beauty that summer offers in Marquette County. If you need ingredients for a produce rich bowl, make sure to stop by the Skandia Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 4-7. I will definitely sell you some cucumbers. Remember to take care of yourself – and each other!