The Chickpea Chronicles

Wolf chickpea salad 1

I have news for you:

I am going to give birth to a chickpea.

I’m not actually kidding. I’m pregnant, due in May, and I have blood tests that prove that the person growing inside me will come out with a can opener in his or her tiny little hand, because instead of breast milk, this baby will only be eating chickpea salad. At least, that’s the trend thus far.

I know. I should have told you earlier.

But it was so boring early on, in the food department: Toast. Saltine crackers. Cereal. More toast. More crackers. More cereal. Rice pudding. Saltines in bed. Saltines on the sheets, and in my husband’s hair. Dog jumping on the bed, snorting saltine dust. Toast.

Around here, you’ve seen an awful lot of desserts recently, if you hadn’t noticed. That’s because meat and I have not been friends. In fact, food and I have not been great friends, and for me, that’s sad. I thought I’d never meet a Bolognese I didn’t like, but I did, twice, and I can’t talk about it yet.

But all that nonsense seems to be over, finally. (Whoever said nausea ends at 12 weeks is full of shit. Try 15.)

But back to beans.

If they’re at all gussied up, I can down a can of chickpeas – garbanzo beans, whatever you want to call them – in a single sitting. Like now, at 10:17 a.m, when I’ve already had a piece of toast, an egg, and a smoothie for breakfast. In fact, I’m beginning to consider myself something of a chickpea salad expert.

Let me enlighten you.

The average chickpea salad takes four to six minutes to make. This takes into consideration my simplest version (and the one I make most often), which takes just under one minute, if I can find the can opener quickly – it’s just chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper – and the luxe version, which requires boiling water for some sort of grain, chopping herbs, and getting out a proper bowl and perhaps, in a moment of leisure, a napkin.

Chickpea, cucumber, olive, and goat cheese salad

But yes, on average, I’d say four to six minutes. The version that was in the bowl in front of me just moments ago was a good proxy of my typical mid-morning snack. I mixed a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas with chopped cucumber, cilantro, and olives, plus the juice of half a Meyer lemon and some olive oil, salt and pepper. I crumbled in a handful of goat cheese, and stirstirstirred until it melted into a dressing, which meant chickpea salad bound by a silky white sauce that really probably wasn’t meant to fall into the little indentation between the space key and the raised framing on my Mac laptop. (No, silly, that’s for your thumb.)

The most exotic salad, thus far, was very misleading. I went to a party recently where we were all instructed to bring a favorite dish from childhood. Tea brought tuna noodle casserole (with peas, of course). Shauna made tomato soup, updated with chipotle peppers and red lentils. Traca brought homemade salted peanut butter caramel ice cream, and a chocolate version made with coconut milk, which must have been meant as a stand-in for ice cream in general, unless I missed that her mother is related to Martha Stewart. Barbara brought Oreos and milk, and Megan (I think!) brought rice krispy treats. (Just try spelling that with a “c.”)

But me? I brought the chickpea salad I made a couple weeks ago, which was based on the salad at How to Cook a Wolf. Not because I loved chickpeas as a child. (In fact, I refused to try them, because my friend Sari loved them, and how could I possibly have liked something she liked?)

No. I brought the salad because I couldn’t imagine getting through the afternoon without chickpeas.

Brandon's chickpea salad

And what did I find, there on the buffet table? Another chickpea salad. Apparently Brandon really did have a chickpea childhood. His salad seemed plain enough – to the naked eye, why, it was just a bunch of legumes, looking shiny in a bowl. But they were dressed with some combination so close to Caesar salad – with great olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and plenty of garlic – that I stubbornly refused to ask him what he’d put in the mix, lest he dared mention a raw egg out loud, and Hey, aren’t you pregnant? Should you be eating that? squeaked out from someone across the room. I made that one again, too, but (sigh) without the egg he may or may not have used. (I am such a wuss.)

And yes, about about that chickpea salad from Wolf? Oh, people, it gets better. Mix that one with 3/4 cup cooked orzo pasta, juice of another half a lemon, another glug of olive oil, and 1/2 cup crumbled feta, and you’ve got an eat-over-the-sink-til-it’s-gone-able pasta salad.

Chickpeas with olives, sdt, feta, quinoa

Then there are the warm versions, which may take slightly longer: A red quinoa and chickpea salad, with feta, sundried tomatoes, olives, and corn. That one was for a party, too, but by the time my spoon found it, it was only mostly for a party.

Chickpea, broc, bell pepper salad

Then there was a warm one where I sautéed onions, red bell pepper, and broccoli, and added the chickpeas with a touch of cumin and apple cider vinegar. That one was delicious, but not as shovelable as the others. I actually had leftovers, that time.

So yes, thank you for asking, I am especially thankful for something this year. I’m thankful for this little chickpea, even if it does make me cry at Walmart commercials. (Yup, you’re right. I don’t own a television. It happened at my gym, right there on the elliptical machine.)

I’m thankful for you, too, dear reader. It’s nice to have you along.

I can’t promise that hogwash won’t change in the months to come. I’ve always written about life, and if there’s one certain way to make life change, we’ve smack dabbed ourselves into the middle of it.

I will promise, though, that I will eventually move beyond chickpeas.

At least, I do hope so.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Chickpea, Quinoa, and Feta Salad

Red Quinoa, Chickpea, and Feta Salad (PDF)

TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: 8 to 12 servings

1 1/3 cups red quinoa (white works just as well)
1 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (the kind packed in oil)
3/4 cup corn kernels (from a large cob, or cooked frozen corn)
1 1/4 cups crumbled feta cheese (from a 7-ounce brick)
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the quinoa in water according to package instructions. (You should have about 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.) Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the remaining ingredients, through parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

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15 Comments

Filed under gluten-free, recipe, salad, side dish, vegetables

15 responses to “The Chickpea Chronicles

  1. I was snacking on hummus when I spotted this in my feed reader.

    Two things…

    First: CONGRATS! And no, you should not have told us sooner. It’s usual to wait 12 weeks or more to announce it.

    Second: If you’re pregnant and nauseous, eat or drink ginger infused foods. Ginger is nature’s nausea cure and it works. My wife guzzled ginger ale during our most recent pregnancy (which came to a joyous conclusion 9 days ago with a huge baby boy). When my mom was pregnant with me, she liked candied ginger.

    Congrats again!

  2. Congratulations, Jess! I hope to meet you someday.

    We got a kabocha in our veggie bin last week and I immediately thought of you. (The bin is $25/week so I don’t have to encounter sticker shock at the market, myself.)

  3. Congrats Jess! So happy for you :) I haven’t heard of chickpeas as a pregnancy craving before, but hey, whatever doesn’t make you feel sick, right?

  4. Carlie

    Congratulations Miss Jess! Tell Allison, your mom, dad, and Jim hello, because I dobut that Zac said hi for me. Next time I’m in Seattle I would LOVE to do some cooking with you, and maybe your little chickpea too. Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  5. Congratulations on your little chickpea!

  6. KT

    Yay, Jess! As a longtime reader I’m very excited to hear this news. Congratulations.

  7. Congrats on the baby! The Chickpea salads looks amazing :)

  8. Gayle215

    Congratulations on your little chickpea! I am a rarely commenting reader but feel this great news deserved it! Life changing & wonderful. I can’t wait to read about your new food adventures. I couldn’t even shop the meat department without passing out during my first trimester!

  9. Kathleen

    I’m so glad to have stumbled on to your blog some time ago. (Maybe last year?) I always enjoy reading your latest news, and find your recipes inspiring.

    Today, I had to comment! Congratulations to you and Jim! The news of your little “chickpea” is so exciting!

    ….and after reading today’s blog, I hope I have a can of chickpeas in the cupboard for today’s lunch. I know I have meyer lemons and olive oil Sounds like the perfect meal to tide me over until we get together with family for turkey tonight!

  10. Bree

    Yay, Jess! :) Hope you, Jim and your chickpea had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Tea

    It was wonderful to see you and your chickpea belly. Such lovely news! Glad you posted a recipe for this–yum:-)

  12. allison

    Wonderful! Many congratulations to you. Can’t wait to hear about your pregnancy & childrearing adventures! If there’s one thing I love more than food, it’s my baby :)

  13. Yeah for you! I will be a first time aunt in May. I cannot wait.

    As for chickpeas, I’m neutral, they are great roasted and dried.

    nm

  14. Greg: Congrats yourself!!! And yes, ginger is the best…

    Daphne: If you should find yourself with any extra mashed kabocha, try mixing it with a generous pour of olive oil and using it in place of tomato sauce on pizza – ours, with chicken, goat cheese, and rosemary, turned out well. Such a fun combo!

    Thanks to all…

  15. Traci

    Congrats Jess! Bill and I are also expecting, baby Crabbcakes is due at the end of May! I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly! Keep in touch.

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