Sunday, September 22, 2019

Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers

An unfortunate fact of a long career in foods is that you forget a lot. Not just things you thought you would never forget…like the exact method you used to use every single day to execute a certain preparation.  Sometimes you forget about the existence of entire recipes.  The recipe I’m sharing today is one of those recipes. 

I’m not quite sure now how it came up in conversation, but a friend was telling me how much she loved my Chickpea salad…that it was so versatile…that she makes it frequently.  I was gratified that she was enjoying a recipe I had shared so much.  But I finally told her that I was drawing a complete blank regarding the salad. 

She was surprised I had forgotten it…but she obliged me by describing it in more detail:  roasted bell peppers…  green olives…  celery…  a spicy vinaigrette….  Slowly I began to remember the salad.  To make it even more embarrassing, it wasn’t just a recipe I had only made a time or two.  I had actually taught it in a class on salads. After her reminder, I decided I needed to make it again soon.

I admit I didn’t follow through.  I actually have no idea how long ago it was that this conversation took place.  But sometime this summer I remembered the recipe and the conversation (all on my own).  It is likely that the recipe popped into my head due to the fact that my eating habits have changed slightly as I have morphed from a household of two into a household of one.  Things that keep well and are versatile regarding the manner in which they can be served hold great appeal.  This salad is a winner in both categories.  It keeps for several days (the flavor, in fact, improves).  It functions well as a side dish—to lamb…or chicken…or fish (it was accompanied by olive oil poached tuna in that long ago class).  And it is excellent as a part of a salad platter or meze spread (recently it made a particularly fine workday lunch with a grated carrot salad, soft cooked egg, and flatbread).  It would be great on a picnic or as part of a boxed lunch.

Since I rediscovered this recipe I have made it several times.  It was originally part of a summer salad class because of the roasted red peppers—but it doesn’t have to be a summer salad.  Beautiful ripe peppers are available well into fall.  And good quality hot house peppers (while not as delicious as the local specimens) are available year round.  I can definitely see this salad becoming part of my regular rotation of “go-to” recipes.  I’m so glad I shared it with a friend…or it might have been lost forever. 

Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
& Moroccan Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:
2 T. freshly squeezed & strained lemon juice
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. olive oil

For the salad:
1 can (14-oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed (1 1/2 c.)
2 large red bell peppers (about 14 oz.), roasted, peeled, seeded & cut in a 1/2-inch dice
1/4 to 1/3 c. finely diced red onion, rinsed under cold running water and blotted dry
A generous 1/3 c. very thinly sliced heart of celery, including some of the leaves
1/4 cup finely sliced cilantro (or flat leaf parsley, if you prefer)
10 pitted large green olives
Salt & Pepper, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, and spices.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream to form an emulsion. Set aside.   

To make the salad, drain and rinse the chickpeas and place in a large bowl.  Add the peppers, onions, celery, cilantro and enough vinaigrette to generously coat the ingredients.  Toss to coat.  Taste and correct the seasoning.  At this point, the salad can be left at room temperature to marinate for up to 30 minutes, or it may be covered and refrigerated (it keeps well for several days—check the seasoning before serving).  If refrigerated, bring to room temperature to serve. 

Serves 3 to 4

  • The recipe multiplies well for larger appetites, or a crowd
  • If you have harissa on hand, it is delicious served on the side
Printable Version 

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