Category Archives: Salads

Chickpea salad

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hmmm here they are plain...

Dried chickpeas look like gravel.  That gravel that people pay lots of money for to landscape their gardens. Looks good enough in those gardens, but the look isn’t immediately appealing as food.

Most people think of humous when they think of chickpeas.  Our bohemian house of course consumed massive amounts of humous – our excuse for overeating that and other things was that it was healthy and therefore essential.

Humous is great and definitely worth making yourself, but chickpeas are great for so much more. They are actually  fantastic in salads.  You can add some to a normal green salad to add a bit of nutty crunch and extra fibre (the new buzz word in healthy cuisine!) or you can base the salad on the chickpea as the primary ingredient. However, a chickpea salad can be heavy and kind of ‘mealy’ tasting so you need to add ingredients that compliment the textures and flavours. If you get that combination right, it will be a fabulous and genuinely healthy dish.

Recipe

  • 3 c cooked chickpeas (if you cook your own, make sure you don’t over cook them)
  • generous 3/4 c semi-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 c  toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 med red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 c blanched snow peas, chopped diagonally about 1cm wide
  • 1/2 sm onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c  fresh continental parsley, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c fresh coriander, chopped
  • couple of basil leaves, finely chopped

Combine all ingredientsChickpea salad

Dressing

  • 1/2 c fresh orange juice
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • pinch dried basil
  • fresh ground salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.  Try half of dressing first, and adjust gently if not initially enough.

Lentil Tomato Salad

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When I was very young, my mother transformed herself into a new age bohemian – very different to the Eastern European kind.  Our diet was probably one of the last things to fall under the spell of enlightenment, but when it did, we found ourselves eating all kinds of ingredients long before anyone else thought they were edible.  Our household said goodbye to so many delicious necessities: fresh milk, butter, chocolate, red meat, sugar… the list goes on. In their place we had Raw dried lentilspowdered skim milk, cold pressed sunflower oil, sunflower seeds and pepitas, soy beans, chickpeas, honey… the new list goes on too.  And of course no alternative kitchen is complete without large bags of lentils in its pantry! For a long time I really hated lentils, especially the green ones.  Every night for years one member of our household, I will call him Swami, boiled lentils. Plain boiled green lentils; no herbs, no spices, no salt, no anything at all to make them remotely appealing.  And every night this tasteless sploge of lentils would be dumped onto the top of Swami’s equally uninteresting salad and chomped down while standing at the kitchen counter.  It was hard to bear, even when you didn’t have to share.

So after moving out of home I abandonned the mighty healthy but more mightily unappetising lentil.  It was many years before I could contemplate them again, and I am not quite sure how it happened, but lentils have found their way back to my table.  The thing is,  you have to treat them right to make them taste good.   A couple of key points about lentils: 1. don’t over cook them, they are not good as mash, and 2. they need herbs and or spice, desperately. My current favourite lentil recipe is this salad. It is surprisingly light.

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 c dried green lentils, boiled til just soft (strain immediately)
  • 3/4 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch continental parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T macadamia or avocado oil
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.