You Say Chickpeas, I Say Garbanzo Beans

Now that I am in the food manufacturing biz, I receive a wide variety of industry publications that are touting what's hot and sharing the latest in food trends. Honestly, I have always been fascinated by what we as consumers buy. (I readily admit that I love looking in people's grocery carts!)

A recent article in the Specialty Foods magazine (home to the twice annual Fancy Food Show) was about the growing popularity of hummus and the fact that hummus is now over a $300 million industry. I was blown away. Really? We spend a third of a billion on hummus? The article also states that there are a dozen "hummusiots" restaurants in and around New York City that serve nothing but hummus. There's even a new chip made from hummus. Go figure...

Well, I love hummus and, to the delights of many, shared my favorite hummus recipe with you last year. But as something gets really popular, I tend to morph the ingredient into something completely different.

So in honor of summer, the heat wave we've been experiencing all across the country and trying to enjoy as many cold foods as we can (I just bought some popsicle molds on ebay and I can't wait to make homemade popsicles, which I will share with you!), I have whipped up this tasty Jamie Oliver salad featuring garbanzo beans.

I have yet to meet a Jamie Oliver recipe I didn't love. And this one is no different. But it is vastly different from hummus.

It is meant to be served as a salad, although it could also be a great appetizer to serve with some pita chips or spooned into endive or radicchio leaves. I enjoyed mine generously spooned over butter lettuce leaves and some spring mix, while David had his with a perfectly grilled local grass-fed rib eye.

However you eat it, you will eat it. And then you will eat some more. Just like we did.

Buen provecho!

Summer Chickpea Salad
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver's cookbook Jamie's Dinners

Print recipe

Serves 4 as salads and 2 as entrees

This easy summer salad is a crowd pleaser. When David ate it, he said, "I could eat this every day." And I could, too. Just change it up each time you make it adding sun-dried tomatoes, Spanish chorizo, diced red or yellow bell peppers or different spices. I just spooned the salad over butter lettuce leaves and some spring mix for a perfect summer dinner, although it is a great served alongside grilled meat!

1/3 medium red onion, thinly sliced and diced
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 fresh red chili or serrano pepper, deseeded and diced
2 handfuls of ripe red or yellow homegrown or heirloom tomatoes (this is about 3 good-sized tomatoes)
2 lemons
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 thick slices of good quality salami from the deli (about 3 ounces), optional
1 14 oz. jar or can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed or approximately 4 handfuls of soaked and cooked chickpeas
A nice long stem of fresh basil, the pieces ripped by hand
A nice long stem of fresh mint, the pieces ripped by hand
7 oz. feta cheese

Slice and dice the red onion, shallot and celery and place in a large bowl. Finely dice the red chili or serrano pepper and roughly chop the tomatoes. Scrape all of this, and the juice, into the bowl and dress with the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 2-3 times as much good extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat and season to taste with Kosher salt and pepper. Add the diced salami and stir.

Over medium-high heat, heat the chickpeas in a pan with a touch of extra virgin olive oil so they don't stick and/or burn. When they are hot, add 90% of them to the bowl and mush up the remaining chickpeas with a potato masher.

Add these to the bowl as well. Stir everything to combine and allow to marinate for a little while (about 30 minutes) at room temperature.

Then refrigerate the salad until just before you are ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve, give the salad a final dress with the freshly torn mint and basil and taste one last time for seasoning. You may want to squeeze a bit of the remaining lemon half at this point. Crumble half of the feta cheese and toss to combine.

Spoon chickpea salad liberally over butter lettuce leaves and/or spring mix (I drizzled a bit of evoo and red wine vinegar over the leaves first) and then crumble the remaining feta cheese over the salads. Add a little more fresh mint and basil, a few grinds of fresh black pepper and enjoy!

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