One of the first things you’ll notice about living in your own place is how rapidly you accumulate stuff — too many earring holders, five pots for plants you never bought, and three copies of Pitch Perfect on DVD. Your kitchen is no exception, but there’s one cookbook that’ll help you simplify the space. In The Minimalist Kitchen ($30), Melissa Coleman of the blog The Faux Martha combines her love of fresh and vibrant recipes while helping you to create an artfully organized kitchen.
Coleman takes you through how to rethink your pantry, cupboards, and gadgetry. For example, she recommends sticking with the absolute bare minimum for cooking pans: a 10-inch cast iron skillet, a dutch oven, and a basic 10-piece cookware set. Her knife recommendations are even slimmer, including only a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. For Coleman and The Minimalist Kitchen, cooking is about the beauty you create with the basics.
See how good minimalism can taste with Coleman’s bánh mì chickpea salad recipe below.
Roasted chickpea Bánh mì salad
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- half thumb tip of peeled fresh ginger
- 4 cups (1⁄2-inch) cubed crusty bakery bread (like a baguette)
- scant 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1⁄2 ripe avocado
- 2 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
- 4 to 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (5-ounce) box mixed greens
- quick-pickled radishes and carrots (homemade or store-bought)
- 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
- 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1. Prepare the chickpeas. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain, rinse, and dry the chickpeas and place on the prepared baking sheet. Add all the remaining chickpea ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth to create a glaze. Pour the glaze on the chickpeas, tossing to evenly coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until lightly charred, stirring halfway through.
2. Make the croutons. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or griddle on medium-high. Once hot, add the cubed bread. Toss with the oil and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until toasted with a slight chew remaining in the center. Remove from the heat. This can be done up to 1 week in advance and stored covered at room temperature.
3. Make the crema. In a high-powered blender or food processor, add all the crema ingredients; cover and blend until smooth. Add additional water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to reach a sauce/dressing consistency. This can be made up to 1 week in advance.
4. Prepare the toppings. To assemble the salad, divide the greens evenly among 4 plates. Top with quick-pickled radishes and carrots, roasted chickpeas, croutons, crema, and the desired toppings. For a zippier flavor, add a tiny spoonful of the pickle juice onto the salad.
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(Photos and recipe via Melissa Coleman / Oxmoor House)