I had no idea what I was eating, although I liked it all. When the waiter told me that the tan, creamy spread was hummus, I asked him what was in it. He said, “Chickpeas.”
Since then, I’ve learned that chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, have been around for several thousand years. Almost every culture uses them in soups, salads, stews and dips like hummus. Some people even like to roast and salt them and eat them as snacks. Ever wonder what falafel is? It’s a deep-fried patty made of ground chickpeas and spices.
Because chickpeas are heavy in protein, they are a welcome addition to a vegetarian diet. They’re also high in fiber, low in fat and inexpensive. What’s not to like?
Chickpea Salad (adapted from a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe that appeared in The Guardian) – serves 4-6 as a side salad
1 teaspoon ground coriander1 teaspoon mustard seeds1 teaspoon curry powder1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes1/2 teaspoon salt4 tablespoons olive oil – divided use1 large onion, thinly sliced1 small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets1 15-ounce can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed1 large or 2 small ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks1 5-ounce bag fresh spinach or arugula2 limes cut into quarters
Combine the coriander, mustard seeds, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes and salt in a small bowl.
Begin heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the spice mixture and stir until the spices dissolve and the mustard seeds sizzle. Add the sliced onion and continue cooking and stirring until the onion softens, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the same frying pan, add the cauliflower florets and stir-fry until the florets begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the spiced onion mixture and chickpeas and heat through, stirring well to combine the ingredients.
Remove from the heat and add the mango pieces and spinach or arugula. Transfer to a large salad bowl and toss. Serve with sections of lime, to be squeezed over the top if desired.For easy recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"