Chickpeas are hearty, healthy and filling. This Chicken Chickpea Salad combines most of the colors of the rainbow in this delicious dish.
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Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad was one of my very early blog posts. The first comment was from my friend Slim, asking “what the heck is a chickpea”? My parents are from Trinidad, and many West 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 legumes (beans). Garbanzo beans is another name, and what you’ll find on the cans in the grocery store. Kabuli chickpeas are the most commonly found chickpeas in American grocery stores, but there are also several other varieties.
CHICKPEAS: CANNED OR DRY?
You can find chickpeas in any grocery store. Canned chickpeas are the most common, and of course most convenient. You just open the can, drain the liquid, and it’s ready to go. They are located in the canned foods aisle. Some stores sell dry chickpeas, but unfortunately they can be harder to find. They will usually be with the other packages of dry beans, and a few stores sell them in the bulk food section.
I usually buy dry chickpeas, because they last a very long time, and I can prepare just what I need. I do always keep canned chickpeas in the pantry, for when I need them in a pinch or I’m cooking for a group. Dry chickpeas have to be soaked and cooked in a pressure cooker, and the biggest challenge is getting the right consistency. Undercooked, they’re hard; overcooked, they’re mushy. Believe me, I have made both mistakes. When I make a dish like curried chickpeas that require additional cooking on the stove, I purposely undercook them in the pressure cooker.
Growing up, I remember eating curried chickpeas more than anything else. Curry is another staple of West Indian and Indian cooking, and I probably ate 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 absolutely one of my favorite dishes. I know I say that a lot, and I mean it every time! The contrasting textures, bold colors, and mix of flavors all work so well together. This is also such a great dish for healthier eating. Chickpeas are high in fiber, protein and iron, so you can’t go wrong.
When I first began making Chicken Chickpea Salad I only used grape tomatoes. Then, once I learned how easy it is to roast tomatoes, I began adding those. If I’m out of fresh tomatoes, I’ll use sundried tomatoes. Sometimes I’ll use all 3 varieties.
The original recipe was vegetarian, but I added chicken from the start. I grill the chicken, and add it at the end. So this is really a perfect meal for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. As a matter of fact, when I make this for my parents, I’ll just add the chicken to my portion, while theirs remains meatless.
CHICKEN CHICKPEA SALAD VINAIGRETTE
Yes, there’s a vinaigrette in this Chicken Chickpea Salad! The vinaigrette is light and very flavorful, and comes together in just a few minutes. I usually prepare the vinaigrette first, and let it rest and develop while I prepare the other ingredients. Just
- I use raw honey and avocado oil as the base. Raw honey has more flavor than regular, and no aftertaste. I’m a huge fan of the silky, buttery texture and taste of avocado oil
- A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce adds a subtle kick
- I season the vinaigrette with onion powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin
- I’ve used both raw and roasted garlic in the vinaigrette. Raw garlic adds a mstronger bite. Roasted garlic adds a deeper, sweeter flavor. I prefer to use roasted garlic, but it’s really personal preference
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
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT CHICKPEAS?
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (I use dry)
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 avocado peeled, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 teaspoons sundried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
- 2 cloves raw or roasted garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 5 dashes of hot sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar (optional) (I use Lucero brand)
- If using dry chickpeas, soak overnight in hot water. Drain water and place chickpeas in pressure cooker, covering peas with fresh water. Cook on medium-high for about 15 minutes
- If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse chickpeas in warm water
If roasting tomatoes, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they begin to blister and char
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, and season with salt & pepper
- Grill chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through
- In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, garlic, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon/lime, onion and hot sauce
- In large bowl, combine chicken, chick peas, avocado, peppers, tomatoes
- Pour dressing mixture into large bowl, and combine all ingredients
- Portion salad into serving bowls
- Drizzle 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar over each bowl