Tag Archives: cucumber

Flavor EXPLOSION Chickpea Salad!!

5 Oct

Laughter is brightest where food is best.
~Irish Proverb

Recipe Source: The Kitchn

Some people might worry that cooking vegan means sacrificing flavor, and to them I say, this salad will blow that theory right out of the water! It’s bursting with rich, exotic flavor from cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, then cooled with parsley and mint, and given a tangy boost from lemon juice and zest. It’s an amazing marriage of flavors that satisfies even picky, ADD palates like mine. That’s why I’ve decided to rename the recipe from the original Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic – boring! I’m sorry Kitchn, but that title did not give it justice.

chickpea salad

This salad keeps fine for a few days, over the course of which the flavors will continue to mingle. This is one of my all-time favorite lunches. Another nice thing about it is it’s low in sodium. The original recipe calls for flaky sea salt to taste, but I don’t find it necessary. For ovo-lacto vegetarians and omnivores, a handful of feta cheese is a nice complement and adds a bit of salty flavor, but it’s beautiful even without.

One word on ingredients – you really want to use cumin seeds here, rather than cumin powder. They are distinctly different in flavor as well as texture, and toasting them gives a richness that manages to not be overwhelming like cumin powder can sometimes be.

cumin seed & red pepper

Finally, a note on safety – be careful when pouring the chickpeas into the pan, as any residual liquid from draining them will sizzle in the pan and can burn you. I’m speaking from experience here!

I hope you love this salad as much as I do. 🙂

recipe

  Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic
Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
4-6 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 English cucumber
1/4 cup feta cheese, optional

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is nice) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until the seeds are toasted. The cumin will turn slightly darker in color, and smell toasty.

Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook, stirringly frequently, for about three minutes or until the garlic is turning golden. Do not let it scorch or turn brown.

Add the drained chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are warmed through and are shiny with oil. Turn off the heat.

Strip any remaining stems away from the Italian parsley. Finely mince the parsley and the mint and toss this with the chickpeas. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the chickpeas.

Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out (and discard) the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes. Toss the cucumber with the chickpeas. Stir in feta cheese, if using, and taste.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating. This salad is best after it has had a chance to sit overnight in the fridge, letting its spices and juices soak together into more than the sum of its parts. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Really good at any temperature, actually.

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Cucumber & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

21 Apr

Food is an important part of a balanced diet.
-Fran Lebowitz

Original recipe source: foodnetwork.com / eatingwell.com

Around this time last year, I developed a sudden, severe contempt for lettuce. I couldn’t stand the thought of any salad containing it. Dramatic? Yes. But anyway, I went in search of non-lettuce-containing salads, and found this recipe. It’s now a favorite, and I don’t even know how many times I’ve made it. I’ve taken it to several get-togethers and it’s always a hit, I think because it has so many flavors going on. If you were to use tricolor peppers, it would even be a good chakra salad! A dead horse you say? Okay okay, moving on…

First, make a dressing by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and fresh ground black pepper.

Next, dice cucumbers, red onion and red bell pepper. To minimize water, I scrape the seeds out of my cucumbers. If you don’t plan to eat all the salad at once (i.e. serve it to a lot of people), it helps to salt the cucumbers for several hours or overnight to draw out the water, you can then rinse and pat them dry. The original recipe called for peeling the cucumber, but I like the skin, and I’m convinced there are probably some nutritional benefits in there. But you can peel it, or use my mom’s happy medium and peel the skin in stripes.

Add to the veggies rinsed and drained black-eyed peas, feta cheese and chopped black olives. For some reason, black-eyed peas can be extremely difficult to find, even in a basic supermarket. If you can’t find them, you can substitute white or pinto beans, no problem. Toss all ingredients to combine, and serve.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano OR 1 teaspoon dried
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cucumbers, diced
1 (14 oz) can black-eyed peas, rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped black olives

Whisk oil, lemon juice, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add cucumber, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, feta, onion and olives; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.