Healthy Food on the Fly: Lemony Chickpea Salad with Herbs

By
Photo by Stephen Johnson

Cooking a large pot of chickpeas (or other beans) at the beginning of the week is a great way to ensure you have a healthy protein on hand that can become the basis of quick weeknight meals. I often give this advice to friends and clients when they want to eat more homemade meals but have time restrictions. Not only is it convenient and cost-effective, but home-cooked beans also taste much better than anything you’ll find in a can.

High in protein, chickpeas also contain more iron and vitamin C than any other legume. Their creamy texture and pleasing mild flavor make them the perfect pantry staple.

It’s dishes like this chickpea salad and the many variations of it that save me when I’m busy and craving something refreshing yet satisfying. Super easy and fast to toss together, this salad can be made at a moment’s notice and can be adapted to whatever herbs you have on hand. You can also add toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for some crunch, and a little diced avocado or a crumble of goat cheese to dress it up.

Enjoy the light, lemony flavor alongside a bowl of vegetable soup or as a topping for whole grains. Since I do realize that it’s not always possible to cook beans from scratch, I recommend having canned chickpeas in the pantry as well. Just be sure to drain and rinse them well before using to remove their tinny taste.

Lemony Chickpea Salad with Herbs

Serves 2

2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained well (recipe below)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Salad greens to serve

Place chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add dill, parsley and scallions and stir again. Season to taste with black pepper. Place a few salad greens into two serving bowls, divide chickpea mixture between bowls and serve.

Home-Cooked Chickpeas

*Adding kombu seaweed to beans as they cook helps make the carbohydrates and fats more digestible. Kombu is a natural flavor enhancer and also infuses the dish with minerals.

Makes about 4 cups cooked chickpeas

1 1/2 cups raw chickpeas

2-inch piece kombu seaweed

3 bay leaves, optional

Place chickpeas in a medium to large pot and cover with 5 cups of cold water. Set aside to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, add kombu and bay leaves (if using). Pour in enough fresh water to cover the beans by 3 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Scoop off any foam that rises to the surface with a small strainer, cover pot, lower heat and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes or until soft and creamy inside. Discard kombu and bay leaves. Drain beans, allow to cool, and store in a jar in the fridge for up to 4 days.

If you have a pressure cooker, prepare the beans as above. Once beans have boiled, lock lid in place and cook at high pressure for 25 minutes. Allow pressure to release completely before removing lid and draining beans as above.

Photo: Stephen Johnson

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer based in New York City. She is the author of the award winning cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. See more of Amy’s recipes at amychaplin.com.