Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chickpea Salad

From the looks of things around here, maybe you think I have this cooking thing all figured out.  Maybe I've mislead you into thinking this is all very effortless for me.  Perhaps you think I'm bursting at the seams with inspiration, plating up dishes with a smile.  Au contraire, mon ami.  This is only partially true, part of the time.  The truth of the matter is, sometimes I don't feel like cooking and sometimes my efforts aren't successful.  It's not always sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.  I'm very much like you, in fact.  My sink piles up with dishes after recipes go awry.  I famously take things out of the oven too early.  Pots bubble over on the stovetop and I burn toast at a ratio of about 3:1.  And then I swear.  I've trained my camera lens to stay away from these episodes, resolving to adjust the toaster setting, clean the dishes, and try another day.  Things are always better in the morning.

Case in point, this chickpea salad.  I remembered a side dish I ordered with my best friend at a cozy little sandwich shop in Connecticut.  It wasn't anything fancy, the chickpea salad or the sandwich shop, but most things I take a liking to never are.  It was my inspiration for the version you see here.  Aside from its colorful appeal, it has a nice contrast of creamy and crunchy textures.  I find making your own chickpeas yields a creamier end result.  In a pinch, canned will certainly suffice.  Just be sure to give them a good rinse to wash away any salty aftertaste.  Cucumbers, red bell peppers, and red onions add a crisp component, while feathery dill makes the salad pop.  I'm more and more turned onto the idea of salads that don't necessarily start with the prerequisite bed of lettuce.  A salad like this is substantial.  It works for lunch with some nice thick crusty bread and cup of soup.  A few scoops work equally as well for a high protein snack.  I made this version vegan, but adding feta cheese would work nicely here too.  I think it makes sense to have a bowl of this hanging around for those days when things don't go as planned.

~Chickpea Salad Recipe~

3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 European cucumber, chopped
1 cup diced red onion
1 small red pepper, diced
1/4 cup chopped dill
zest of 1 lemon
5 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add chickpeas, cucumber, red onions, red pepper, and dill.  Give a good stir.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil.  Pour over the salad and give a good toss.  Add in sea salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings based on your preference.  Serve at room temperature.  Serves 4-6.   


Clair said...

Yes! The other day, I made a cake (and it wasn't even my first time trying the recipe) and it bubbled over in the oven and left a burned mess all over the bottom. *sigh*

This looks delicious though. I've never made my own chickpeas, though I only buy my beans dry anymore...guess I'll have to try it!

Margarita said...

I love this filling salad! Chickpeas are great and I often cook with them but never would have thought of turning it into a salad. Thanks for this idea!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm so glad it's salad season again---this looks lovely and healthy and colorful!

Krysta said...

I will definitely be making this!

Eileen said...

Sounds great! I definitely belong to the "big bowl of something in the fridge for emergency eatings" school of thought. :)

Em (Wine and Butter) said...

Oh I just love dill in salad - reminder to self... must make soon!!!

Cathleen said...

Oh my my. I live for chick peas. I haven't had them in a while though.
This looks so colorful and delicious!

Colleen @ Culinary Colleen said...

I had something very similar to this at a tapas bar in Spain a few months ago. They gave us a little plate of chickpea salad with our beer, and I was so surprised at how much I loved it. It had great texture and was so refreshing. I definitely need to try this!

Stephanie said...

Clair, I've been there too! Eileen, I figured I wasn't the only one! Colleen, I'm jealous. Spain is lovely and so is the food! :)

Thyme (Sarah) said...

Isn't it amazing how our friends and family believe us to be instant professionals in the kitchen?! I am so type A that the idea of having a group of six over to the house has me planning ahead for days. Love the chickpea salad. Kids are asking for hummus. I have the chickpeas but keep forgetting to get that tahini!

Bree said...

This sounds so refreshing! I love chickpeas.