Chickpeas are hearty, healthy and filling. This Chicken Chickpea Salad combines most of the colors of the rainbow in this delicious dish.
One of my early blog posts was a recipe for a chicken chickpea chopped salad, and my friend Slim asked “what the heck is a chickpea”? My parents are from Trinidad, and many West Indian and Indian recipes include chickpeas. So, since I’ve been eating chickpeas most of my life, it never occurred to me that people may not know what they are. Chickpeas are one of my favorite types of beans, and I could probably eat my weight in them.
I never cook much of anything until I moved into an apartment right after college. Before my move I learned a few of my mom’s recipes so that I wouldn’t weigh 500lbs from eating out regularly. My mom usually bought dry beans, soaked them overnight, and then finished them in the pressure cooker. To that was too much work, so I bought the canned beans. It’s much easier, as you just drain, rinse, and cook. However, there is no single-serving can, and a can of beans is much more expensive than a bag of dry beans. Besides, the canned beans have that icky liquid, plus quite a bit of sodium. After a couple of years I began buying the dry beans, and have done that ever since. Of course, in a pinch, I will use the canned beans.
Growing up, I remember eating curried chickpeas more than anything else. Curry is another staple of West Indian and Indian cooking, and I probably did eat my weight in curry chicken and chickpeas. But, with Pinterest, the chickpea recipes are endless. One of my favorite recipes to make is Chicken Chickpea Salad
This Chicken Chickpea Salad is delicious. The flavors all work so well together, and I really love that ingredients are easily interchangeable. In the beginning I only used grape/cherry tomatoes. Then, once I learned how easy it is to roast tomatoes, I began adding those. One time I was out of raw tomatoes, so I added sundried tomatoes instead. Now I’ll add all 3 types. I’ve used both raw and roasted garlic in the vinaigrette. Raw garlic obviously gives a much stronger bite, but if you let it sit in the vinaigrette mixture for about 15 minutes, it tones down.
The biggest challenge with dried beans is cooking them properly. Undercook them, and they will be much too hard; overcook them, and they get very mushy. Believe me, I have made both mistakes. I’ve also tried putting undercooked chickpeas back in the pressure cooker for a few minutes, but it just doesn’t work that well. When I make a dish like curried chickpeas that require additional cooking on the stove, I purposely undercook them in the pressure cooker.
The original recipe I found on Pinterest did not have any meat, but I added chicken from the beginning. I grill the chicken and add it to the dish at the end. This makes it a very versatile dish; I can keep it vegetarian for my parents, and just add chicken to my portion.
One of my favorite additions to the dish is balsamic vinegar. My friend Dianne introduced me to Lucero Balsamic Vinegar. I have only found it in a few select stores, so I order it online. It is more expensive than “regular” balsamic vinegar, but there is no comparison in terms of taste and flavor. It is thick and rich, and a little goes a very long way.
This Chicken Chickpea Salad will remain one of my favorite meals, and a regular on my lunch rotation.
Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Spinner
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For more delicious recipes featuring chickpeas, click on the photos below!