On chickpea salads

So you’ve always curried your chickpeas: now try them in your salads to pack a protein punch

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chickpea salad

Salad – that boring component of our meals that most of us force-feed ourselves in the name of good health!

Two sides of a coin really! Because all salads are not healthy and all salads are not boring. Let me explain.

Buying a dressing from the supermarket shelves that’s often high in salt, sugar and a dozen other unwanted ingredients and then tossing a bunch of veggies through it does not make a healthy salad. To make a salad that’s actually good for your health means buying fresh, seasonal and locally grown (if possible, organic) vegetables and using a homemade low calorie salad dressing. The addition of nuts, seeds and protein takes it up a notch higher on the goodness quotient.

And salads are not boring either. When made with the right combination of ingredients, they can not only be delicious but also double up as a full meal.

Chickpea based salads are a favourite of mine because they can be a meal in themselves, or a more hearty accompaniment to grilled fish or meats. Apart from adding a protein boost to any meal, chickpeas are also great to use in salads as they pair well with many different flavours.

A chickpea salad is perfect for any party, be it an office team lunch or a summer barbecue.

I am not a big fan of canned chickpeas; instead I prefer to soak the chickpeas for a few hours (mostly overnight) which ensure the cooking process is faster; the taste and texture is much better too. You could also use other dried beans instead of chickpeas like borlotti or cannellini beans.

Whenever I use carrots in a salad, I like to use a julienne peeler to get those beautiful thin, wispy strips. While the crunchy texture is still retained, the julienned carrots are also ideal to really absorb the flavours from the dressing, and they make great presentation too.

Baby radish not only adds crunch and freshness but also a slight pepperiness to the overall flavours.

Nuts are often a part of most of my salads and for this chickpea salad, I added a handful of toasted pine nuts. But remember nuts go in only just before serving so that the texture is retained. Other nuts or seeds like almond flakes, crushed pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds etc also make delicious and healthy additions.

The dressing is a simple vinaigrette but I used apple cider vinegar and a chilli infused olive oil; you can use white vinegar and extra virgin olive oil too. Grate in some garlic to boost up the flavours which make this chickpea, carrot and radish salad a really delicious one.

Chickpea, Carrot and Radish Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup dried chickpeas; soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours in warm water)

1 large carrot; julienned

4-5 baby radish; finely sliced

¼ cup pine nuts; toasted

3 celery sticks; chopped

3 sprigs parsley leaves; finely chopped

4-5 fresh oregano leaves (optional)

Dressing:

1 small garlic clove; grated

4 tbsp chilli infused olive oil

4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Salt, to season

Freshly crushed black pepper; to season

Method:

Cook the chickpeas in salted boiling water; drain and keep aside.

In a salad bowl, add the chickpeas, carrot, radish and celery.

To make the dressing, add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper to a small capped container. Shake well to form an emulsion.

Before serving, add the toasted pine nuts, oregano leaves, parsley and the dressing to the salad bowl.

Toss well and serve.

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