Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chickpea salads are for lovers

Many of you know that I've been spending lots of time chez nous these days.  Not exactly my most favorite thing in the world, but to keep myself from going stir crazy, I've been doing lots of cooking.  And since I'm not in the office at the moment, I'm also trying to keep the budget down so Mr Turvy doesn't pitch a fit when he comes home to find me romping around our tiny kitchen in new frocks and feather earrings. (Hence the influx of inexpensive potato dishes of late- plenty more where those came from). I have a handful of favorite lunches that won't break the bank (or induce a nap immediately afterwards).  One recent fave is a chickpea and tomato salad.  Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans (by my mother and Goya brand canned products and virtually no one else) are extra high in protein and are a staple in Middle Eastern, Indian and African cooking.  (They use them lots of other places, too!) Have you tried Clover Food Lab's chickpea fritter sandwich yet?  Yum, yum!

In any event, I've created a tasty chickpea salad that requires minimal cooking and is easy to throw together in 5 minutes using things I almost always have on hand in the kitchen, like these guys:

 You may not have all of these in your pantry, but the beauty of this recipe is that it lends itself well to substitutions.  When I made this last, I used a sprinkle of ground coriander and a pinch of sumac (which I'd bought with fatoush salad in mind. But then I couldn't find a good recipe. Does anyone have one?) If you don't have either, don't fret- you can do without or add a favorite seasoning in their stead.  And a word of advice when buying dried herbs and spices- look for them at specialty ethnic markets (Asian, Indian, etc) and in the "international" aisle of your local grocery store. I've found that Badia (usually in the Hispanic foods section) carries the same spices as McCormick and for a fraction of the price.
Here's a little something to look forward to...

5 Minute chickpea and tomato salad
Serves 2 (or one really hungry person who loves chickpeas)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium tomato, cored and diced
1/2 red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 T fresh parsley (I prefer flat leaf to curly), rinsed and chopped
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t ground pepper (5 turns of a pepper grinder)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
In a bowl, combine the last eight ingredients.  Add the chickpeas, tomato and red onion. Stir, add additional salt/pepper/spices to taste.  Enjoy! 

A few notes on the recipe: 
I'm not always wild about the idea of eating onions mid-day, especially when you work in close proximity to others. Keep that in mind if you're planning on eating this dish at work. If you're particular to one kind of onion- yellow, Vidalia, red, scallion- feel free to use your fave. 

Make sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly before adding them to the dish.  You can tell when the chickpeas are rinsed when the water runs clear, like this:

Get rid of those bubbles
There you go

Hope you like this cheap and easy lunch.  Do you have any go-to, yummy lunches that require minimal cooktime and effort? 

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