Everyone seems to have a chickpea salad recipe these days. Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike find it a refreshing change to the normal egg or chicken salad. There is also the bonus of being able to pop open a can of chickpeas to make this in 15 minutes, verses having to go to the store to buy a delicious but very unhealthy rotisserie chicken or boil eggs, wait for them to cool, and then pray you can get the shells off without taking half the egg off too.
So what's the difference between a chickpea and a garbanzo bean? Nothing. Why make chickpeas a part of your diet? Well, first off, they are prized for their high protein level alone. But they are also high in fiber, iron, B-6 and magnesium. Really, they are a powerhouse little ball of yumminess.
I love chickpeas and use at least a can or two a week. We make hummus, put them on our salads, throw them into a big pot of vegetable soup, and of course make chickpea salad sandwiches with them.
Before we get to the recipe, let's talk straining. If you are going to use any type of canned beans, you have to strain and rinse them really good. The goop they put into a can of beans completely grosses me out. And you don't want that goop messing with your recipe. So strain and rinse well my friends.
Remember last week when I was discussing the many tools you can use to mash avocados and I mentioned the pie dough cutter? It's the tool in the picture above. I don't always use one when I make this recipe because it is a pain to clean, but it works like a charm. You can also use a fork or potato masher to do the trick. And don't worry about getting a uniform mash or making sure all the beans are squished.
I like a few stalks of celery and a whole diced up shallot for mine. And an element of sweetness is essential. Today I happen to have some green grapes in the fridge that I diced up. But usually I like white raisins in it. Dried cranberries would be lovely, as would dried cherries for a pretty pop of color.
The sauce is where all the flavor comes into play. If you don't like curry, you could still do the base sauce, but use some dill and lemon zest. I absolutely love indian spices. For this recipe, I use a blend of curry, cumin and garam masala. If you don't have garam masala, and you don't plan on playing with indian cooking, then just use a little more curry and cumin to pump up the flavor.
Of course, I am vegan so I use vegenaise (vegan mayo) and tofu sour cream. If you aren't vegan, then by all means, use your favorite mayo and sour cream—but just know it will be higher in fat and much higher in cholesterol than this recipe. If you are trying to do things to make your heart happier, then give it a try with vegan alternatives. You can find them in most grocery stores now and honestly, I don't think they taste all that different from the "real" thing and neither does my husband, who is not vegan.
You may not end up using all the sauce. Add it slowly, mixing until you get the right consistency for what you like. I like it a little saucy if I am just having it on salad greens, but drier if I am making sandwiches out of it.
It all comes together so beautifully. The powerhouse bean with the crispness of the celery, the bite of the shallot, the warmth of the curry, and the subtle sweetness of the grapes or dried fruit. Now all you have to do is decide how you want to eat it. On a bed of baby romaine, with crackers, or on toasted bread. All are great options—enjoy!
Curry Chickpea Salad (GF,V)
Time: 15 minutes
1 15.5 oz. can of chickpea (garbanzo) beans
3/4 c. diced celery
1 diced shallot
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 c. diced grapes or 1/4 c. dried white raisins
1/4 c. vegan mayonnaise
1/3 c. vegan sour cream
1 tsp. champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Strain, rinse, and drain the can of chickpeas and place in a medium size bowl. Mash the beans and then add the diced celery, shallot, lemon juice and grapes or dried fruit. In a small cup or bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the sauce. You may not want to use all the sauce, so add it to the bean mixture slowly, mixing as you pour, until you get the right consistency you like.
Serve with salad greens, crackers, or on toast.
Nutritional Estimations: Calories 225. Total Fat 14 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 510 mg. Potassium 83 mg. Total Carbs 19 g. Fiber 4 g. Sugars 5 g. Protein 5 g. Vitamin A 2%. Vitamin C 6%. Calcium 2%. Iron 5%.