Copy Cat Garbanzos Plate
I usually like to keep dinner simple, since FVB can be a bit unpredictable. I typically stick with one main dish accompanied by a salad, or a big salad as the main dish. Sometimes though, we like to step it up a notch!
Now that I’m not working (outside the home that is), we are cutting down on eating out, so I’m left to recreate our favorites at home! This dish was inspired by the yummy plates served at Garbanzos, one of our favorite “fast casual” spots to eat. You pick a “main” (meat, falafel, veggies, or portobello) and then add whatever you like to your plate. I love the portobello plates, with veggie salad, pickles, hummus, falafel, roasted red pepper, grape leaves, and spicy cilantro dressing.
I began my recreation by marinating my portobellos. I washed them, de-stemmed them, and popped them in a big ziplock bag with 1/4c olive oil, 1/4c balsamic, minced garlic, and some chopped basil. I did this in the morning so that they would have time to marinate. After marinating the mushrooms, FVB was still enjoying his bouncy seat, so I decided I’d roast the red pepper. He’s been getting more independent lately and is lasting for longer stints in his seat or even on a big blanket on the floor of the kitchen. I’m loving this because, as much as I love having him in his Moby wrap, sometimes it’s just faster when I don’t have a 16 pound baby strapped to my front.
Roasting veggies is easy in the toaster oven. Side note: I LOVE my toaster oven and use it daily. Especially in the summer when I don’t want to turn on the big oven! If you don’t have one, get one immediately. You won’t be sorry. Here’s how I do my red pepper: cut off the top, de-seed, then cut in half. Place it skin side up under the broiler and broil. Stay close by to check it often, otherwise it may start on fire! You want it charred, but not flaming. Pop it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and come back later to peel off the skin.
At this point FVB was loosing interest in the bouncy seat and demanding his hourly feeding. I can tell this by the intensity with which he sucks whatever is in front of him. High intensity = high hunger level. So, we left our portobellos marinating and our peppers steaming. I use his feeding times to research my dinner plans on Pinterest. Sometimes I get distracted and wind up searching for vegan chocolate recipes, but on this day, my focus was clear! The search for vegan falafel proved interesting and I found tons of different ways to make them (baked, pan fried, deep fried, etc). I went with a simple version, found here. Now, they taste nothing like the deep fried falafel you find at Garbanzos, but they are fresh and delicious. They came together pretty easily, too which is a huge plus in our house!
Next thing we knew, it was an hour until hubs would arrive and all we had to show for our day was four marinating portobellos, one roasted red pepper, and a few falafels. This is when we gave to kick it into high gear and, as I tell FVB, “get sh@# done.” We accomplish more in the last hour of our day than we do in the first eight. FVB must sense my panic and he usually cooperates. We threw together this cilantro dressing, cooked the portobellos (in the toaster oven @ 450 for about 30 minutes, flipping once 1/2 way through, chopped up cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and mixed them with the leftover marinade, plus a handful of hemp hearts, and set the table. I love the look of a set table, even if it is dusty and surrounded by chaos. I set out all of the stuff and we each assembled our own plates. In addition to all of the yummy homemade things, I added pickles, store bought hummus, and mixed greens.
Overall, this plate was really good……but definitely too much work to be put into the regular rotation!