Tag Archives: chickpeas

Time change

Black Chickpea and Carrot Salad 3

Time baffles me. My father, an engineer, always said you need three things to conquer a new math concept: milk, cookies, and two hours. The first time he told me that, when I had to really study for a math test once, two hours seemed like an ocean of time. I’m pretty sure I cried before the clock started ticking, scared that my little boat of concentration wouldn’t make it to the other shore. But I’ve just spent two hours – that same increment – trying to sweep the debris off my browser and get to the screen now in front of me, and it hardly seems like I’ve had time to breathe, much less take a drink of milk.

Almost two weeks ago, I had lunch at Picnic, a little “food and wine boutique” near me in Seattle that sells mean European-style sandwiches, great soups, and a variety of creative little deli salads. I was with my oldest Seattle friend (someone I went to college with) and my newest Seattle friend, a woman I’ve only recently started getting to know. In round numbers, I’ve known one for ten years and one for ten weeks. Yet somehow, cuddled around the end of the table together, the difference, and the fact that they were meeting for the first time, didn’t seem to matter. We bantered and relaxed like we’d been having lunch together, the three of us, for years.

We all ordered soup, but before it came, one of Picnic’s owners, Jenny, came out with a little tasting plate of the curried chickpea salad we’d all been eying. “New Dehli salad,” said the sign, which made me laugh right out loud. It was spot-on – you certainly wouldn’t find a bright yellow legume mixture studded with golden raisins in the old-fashioned deli of my grandmother’s childhood.

It was the kind of salad that sits in the middle of the table and beckons, its little carrot arms waving wildly. Me, they say. Pick me. Every time my fork wandered toward the plate, I had a little moment of decision anxiety, a tiny panic over which scoop looked tastiest. (The truth: they were all pretty much equally delicious.) I’ve been meaning to tell you about it this whole time, but it’s taken until today – with a green tea latte, a muffin, and two hours – to get it all down.

My own version came together with a bit of serendipity, as we were pulling out of the driveway on our way to Portland, Oregon last week. Jill had sent me a bag of sexy black chickpeas from Montana. They’d been flirting with me the entire month of February, all pearly and exotic-looking, from behind the pantry door. I also had two pounds of gorgeous carrots from my garden – carrots I’d planted last June, forgotten about in September, remembered in November when they were hibernating under two inches of mulch, fretted over in January, and pulled just that morning – waiting patiently for the just the right use. (Carrots are pretty much the perfect vegetable for my current lifestyle: Can’t harvest today? Wait six months. They won’t mind.)

Quite literally, my husband was buckling our son into the carseat while I sautéed shallots with ginger, and yellowed them with curry. I stirred the mixture into the cooked chickpeas, along with toasted pine nuts for a bit of texture (because I didn’t think I had time to soften the raisins in hot water), fresh chives, lemon juice, and those carrots, all grated up.

“We’re ready,” said my husband. “We need to go.”

“Wait. Just a sec. I have to take a photo.”

He stood in the entryway watching me shovel the salad in, not 30 minutes after breakfast. Time stood completely still for three or four bites. I felt the chickpeas rolling over my tongue, and imagined their black skins cracking opening my mouth, revealing creamy insides really not much different from the interior of a regular chickpea. I felt the chives scrunch between my molars, felt the pine nuts collapse beside them. It was a snack for pressing pause.

“Are you going to take one?”

Right. The photograph.

“Yeah,” I muttered, foggy. “I’ll be right there.”

(And yes, of course regular canned or dried chickpeas work fine for this. I used the same amount you’d find in a can.)

Black Chickpea and Carrot Salad 2

Curried Carrot and Chickpea Salad (PDF)

Based on the “New Dehli” salad at a Seattle food and wine boutique called Picnic, this snacky salad combines chickpeas (regular, or black, if you can find them) and carrots with curry, ginger, chives, lemon, and toasted pine nuts. Either canned or dried chickpeas will work.

TIME: 15 minutes active time
MAKES: 4 servings

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon coarsely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained, if canned)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook and stir until very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ginger and curry powder, then the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and let bubble for another minute or two. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Combine the chickpeas, chives, pine nuts, lemon juice, and carrots in a mixing bowl. Pour the curry mixture over the top, stir to blend, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

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Filed under garden, gluten-free, Lunch, salad, side dish, snack, vegetables, vegetarian

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

94 to go

I’m not gonna lie to you. Today, I don’t feel like doing this. My hands still ache from peeling apples for applesauce, my body is fighting to recover from hiking or horseback riding (still?) or maybe 7 mg, and I just want to eat take-out three nights in a row like a normal person, sitting on a couch in front of some form of canned entertainment. I can’t wait for this effing year to end.

Chunky Chickpea Vegetable Soup  2

Chunky Chickpea Vegetable Soup (PDF)
Recipe 270 of 365

Spiked with lemon and fresh herbs, this soup combines the heartiness of minestrone with the healing powers of chicken noodle. Add zucchini, bell peppers, or baby spinach, or make it heartier by stirring in cooked pasta, rice, or wheat berries at the end.

TIME: 45 minutes total
MAKES: 2 to 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping cup chopped onion (from 1/2 large onion)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2” pennies
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2” half moons
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 large tomato (about 3/4 pound), chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or basil)
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, then the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until the onions begin to soften. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme, and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked through. Add the chickpeas, and simmer five minutes more. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice, season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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Filed under recipe, soup, vegetables