5 Ingredients by 5 Meals: Chickpeas, Feta, Zucchini, Paprika, Potatoes

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Today I’m introducing a new segment to the blog called 5 Ingredients by 5 Meals. Every month or two I’ll put up 5 ingredients that you might have at home already and suggest 5 ways you could turn those ingredients into tasty meals.

Don’t forget I also have a segment called What Do I Do with… so check out those posts for other ideas as well. So far I’ve given suggestions for what to do with oranges, beans, avocado, gnocchi and porridge. There’s plenty more to come so if you have any suggestions for What Do I Do with… or 5 Ingredients by 5 Meals then let me know via Facebook, Twitter or Google+.


Today’s 5 ingredients are:






For this first post of 5 Ingredients by 5 Meals I’ve tried to pick standard ingredients, although I realise not everyone loves paprika as much as I do. However its not a bad idea to throw in a new ingredient you might like to try every now and again (it’s how I started to eat different foods and helped me to grow my cooking experience). I’ve also picked a salty cheese (feta) and chickpeas as most people have a can in the back of the pantry they’re not sure what to do with.

Between a few vegetables, a cheese, a spice and some protein you can make a fulfilling meal for lunch or dinner and still feel satisfied without needing meat. However, you can also make smaller meals, or sides, with these ingredients which you can add along side other ingredients you’ve got at home or as part of a bigger meal with meat.

The idea of this series of posts is to help you out on the nights when you’re not sure what to do, and are staring into the cupboard with no inspiration. Its a bit like a Masterchef Mystery Box, where you’re not quite sure what you’re going to do with the ingredients in the box, but you’re going to make something and hope that it comes out spectacular! (Isn’t that what we home cooks do every night anyway?)

If you do need extra inspiration there is always my TV Inspiration and Internet Recipe Inspiration posts to help as well, there’s the Simple Recipes post with all recipes including only 2-6 ingredients, and I’ve even got the Lunch ideas and Dinner ideas tags too (which I’m adding to regularly so check them again and again).

5 Meal Ideas

Here are my suggestions for 5 meal ideas using these 5 ingredients: chickpeas, feta, zucchini, paprika and potatoes.

1. Salad:

These days its okay to add anything you like to a salad, which makes them so versatile, especially on nights when you’re not sure what to cook. The simplest meal is to make a salad and add a splash of oil and another of lemon juice as dressing, then add some grilled meat on the side. Its also easy to pick up a roast chicken on the way home from work, shred the meat and add it to the salad or eat the pieces with the salad on the side.

Try the following couple of salad recipes to get you started in the salad mindset.

Make zucchini ribbons by peeling down the long side of the zucchini


2. Veggie patties and Veggie balls:

Veggie patties are a great replacement to meat patties on burgers, but they can also be eaten on their own for lunch or with a salad at dinner. Using the same recipe as a patty recipe you can also make the patties into balls instead, as in the second recipe below.

  • Spiced zucchini, feta and chickpea patties – To find the recipe scroll to the bottom. Any patty recipe using chickpeas as a base can be adapted tot eh ingredients you have. Always, always add spices to a bland mixture like a chickpea patty to give it extra flavour (trust me, its totally worth it!).
  • Sweet potato and zucchini fritters – Fritters can be used like veggie patties too, or eaten on their own. For this recipe add the paprika to the fritters and the feta to the salsa and serve. Yum. (There’s more suggestions for fritters on the blog too).
  • Lemon and feta chickpea balls – I used this recipe for veggie balls and put them into hotdog buns with a homemade tomato pasta sauce, grated zucchini and flakes of parmesan. I got the idea from a recipe in the Healthy Food Guide Magazine for September 2013 and replaced the original meatball recipe with the veggie balls. You can also make these balls and add in grated zucchini or carrot as well, but you’ll need to adjust the amount of breadcrumbs you use so the balls stay together.
If you cook your veggie balls in a mini muffin tray in the oven it stops the balls from falling apart as you cook them.


3. Potatas Bravas (Spanish Potatoes)

Potatoes are really versatile and its easy to use them in a potato salad or as the base for a veggie patty, but another way to make amazing potatoes is to try potatas bravas or what we’d call Spanish potatoes. Potatoes cooked this way are boiled first then fried on the stove or roasted in the oven to make them crispy and crunchy. By throwing in some paprika, oregano and a homemade tomato sauce they’ve become a little bit Spanish.

Here are two recipes for you to try:

For serving: The feta could be crumbled on top for saltiness and the zucchini and chickpeas could be a simple salad served on the side.


4. Chickpea and potato fry-up

Use this recipe as a basis for making your own using the zucchini and paprika and whatever other vegetables you have at home. Check out my post on tweaking a recipe to suit your own tastes to give you some tips on how to make this recipe your own.

This recipe would also taste great over a baked potato if you switched the potato in the recipe for a different vegetable instead.

Spiced chickpea & potato fry-up
Chickpea and potato fry-up Photo from bbcgoodfood.com

5. Casserole/Stew/Tagine/Curry

Casseroles, stew, tagines and curries are all pretty similar in the way that they are prepared – meat, vegetables and spices/herbs are cooked together in a tomato or stock base for a long time (30mins to 4hrs depending on cut of meat). Essentially any meat and vegetable combination works, and by adding chickpeas you can make the meal stretch further (this is a budget friendly tip: use less meat and more chickpeas so everyone is satisfied after dinner but you’ve reduced the cost of the meal).

Here’s a few ides to get you started:

  • Spiced chicken and chickpea stew – any tomato based dish can have paprika added (and the more paprika the better in my opinion). Add the zucchini in for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, and sprinkle the feta over at the end. Instead of serving this with rice, serve it over boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes for something a bit different.
  • Pukka Yellow Curry – This is one from Jamie Oliver and you need to read the comments below on how to get the best flavour out of it (whether you keep the lid on or off makes a difference here).
  • Sweet potato, zucchini and chickpea tagine – You can always add the paprika to this recipe along with the other spices as paprika works well with cumin and coriander. Serve it with some feta too.
Add some herbs or sliced green salad leaves to the top of your stew/casserole/tagine/curry and you can lift the colour, making it more appetizing.


If you’ve got a tin of chickpeas you can add them to any recipe fairly easily, but if you’ve got the dried chickpeas check out my post on using the pressure cooker to give you an idea of how to cook them in time for dinner tonight (no pre-soaking needed, although it does help if you have the time to do it). Or more tips are in the post on What Do I Do with Beans.

Question: Whats the best chickpea dish you’ve ever had?

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