Monday, May 20, 2013

Chickpea Salad

This is one of those ideas that makes me slap myself in the forehead. How could I have been such an idiot in not thinking of it myself? Of course, I take the self-deprecation down a notch when I realize that if this is the first time I’ve come across it in all my recipe-gathering adventures, a whole lot of other people haven’t thought of it either.

This recipe comes from Vegetarian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America. I had checked the book out of our local library and decided I wanted to cook too much from it (especially from the “Salads and Sandwiches” chapter, which I’d like to eat right off the pages), to be limited to having it on hand for only a month at a time. I acquired a copy of my very own and hope to be cooking a lot more from it this summer.

The chickpea salad is really quite simple: chopped chickpeas and a few finely-chopped green things held together with mayonnaise and a little sour cream. (I used this homemade vegan mayo.) In the original recipe, the chickpeas were coarsely pulverized in the food processor, but I really didn’t want to add the extra step of cleaning the processor to my day, so I just chopped them with a knife instead. I also couldn’t resist throwing in a good handful of fresh chives from my garden.

This is really the same as a tuna salad (or egg salad, or chicken salad, or ground ham or roast beef salad, etc.), but with cooked chickpeas in place of the tuna. I made a sandwich with my salad on toast, and, later, wrapped it in a tortilla. I really think a pita pocket would have a quite fabulous vehicle for it as well.

Chickpea salad is at least as easy to put together as tuna salad, since the chickpeas come ready in a can just as tuna does. You could, of course, make this from your own cooked chickpeas as well, which makes me think many other beans could be used in place of the chickpeas. That, in turn, makes me think that other chickpea salads (like, say, this one) could be chopped finely or pulsed in the food processor to make sandwich fillings and cracker spreads.

 ….And then, I’m thinking that something like this turkeysalad could be turned vegetarian with the use of chickpeas. Or how about a vegan version of this egg salad (leave out the sour cream as well as the egg)? And, seriously, how could I not have thought of using chickpeas like this before?



Chickpea Salad (for Sandwiches and Such)
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America by The Culinary Institute of America and Katherine Polenz

You could use a food processor to chop the chickpeas, but I found it unnecessary.

Replace the sour cream with additional vegan mayonnaise to make this salad vegan.

1 (15-ounce) can or about 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium-size celery stalk, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used this homemade vegan mayonnaise)
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
a few grinds of black pepper

1. Coarsely chop the chickpeas and place them in a medium-size bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Keep refrigerated.

Makes at least 4 servings. Serve in sandwiches with bread, toast, pitas, tortillas, etc. or spread on crostini or crackers. Keeps for at least a few days in the refrigerator.


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