In an article asking 12 popular bloggers to share their most popular salad recipes, five out of the twelve recipes included chickpeas.
While some salads may be boring, chickpeas aren’t. Chickpea salads have become increasingly popular for both their taste and their nutritional value. Chances are if you order a chickpea salad at two different restaurants, you’ll get two very different interpretations. The chickpea salad is incredibly versatile, as chickpeas go with so many ingredients. The one thing that remains constant is the huge punch of flavor.
What Is A Chickpea Salad?
A chickpea salad is any salad that either has a base of chickpeas or includes a large number of chickpeas. There are many versions of chickpea salads. The concept is quite multifaceted as chickpeas are a complementary addition to any combination of ingredients.
Chickpeas are added to salads raw and whole, cooked in a pan, baked in oil for a crispy topping or blended into hummus to be used as a salad dressing. Most commonly, chickpea salads call for raw chickpeas.
Who Is Responsible for the Chickpea Salad?
Chickpeas are cultivated around the world. This protein-dense ingredient has been popular in many countries for centuries. Most commonly, you can find chickpeas in African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian food. It’s unclear who lays claim to making the first chickpea salad, but the most common chickpea salad recipes always suggest a Mediterranean influence.
A Complete Meal
For many people, a salad isn’t a fulfilling meal on its own. However, the chickpea salad is guaranteed to be both filling and satisfying. One cup of chickpeas contains 13 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein and only four grams of fat. That makes this powerful legume quite nutritionally dense. A salad filled with chickpeas will likely be satisfying on its own. For vegetarians, the chickpeas are enough of a protein source on their own. Others may choose to include chicken or fish with the salad.
How to Prepare a Chickpea Salad
- If you’re using chickpeas from a can, open the can, and thoroughly rinse the beans. If you plan to cook your chickpeas from dry, you will need to do so a day in advance following these instructions.
- Mix your rinsed chickpeas with a tablespoon of olive oil and spices of your choice. Recommended spices include garlic salt, onion salt, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika.
- Cook the chickpeas on a stovetop on medium heat until they are heated.
- Assemble a base of greens for your salad. You may choose kale, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, arugula or whatever else you may have on hand.
- Add your accompanying vegetables. Some great additions are water-dense vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and salad.
- Add your chickpeas and toppings. For toppings, you’ll want to include ingredients with complex flavors. Consider adding olives, feta cheese, avocados, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers or red onion.
- Mix ingredients together and serve.
For a more detailed recipe with a Mediterranean flair, check out this recipe from Olive Magazine.
If you’re in a rush, this recipe from Inspired Taste skips cooking the chickpeas and takes only 15 minutes to make.
And for those looking for more protein in their salad, Ambitious Kitchen has a recipe that includes chicken.
Lastly, the vegan community has put an entirely different spin on the chickpea salad. The chickpeas are mushed together to ‘tuna-like flakes’ to make mock tuna fish sandwiches. Forks Over Knives has a recipe that is straight forward to follow for anyone that wants to try this approach.
The chickpea salad isn’t exclusively for health nuts anymore. Everyone enjoys a great chickpea salad. It’s a healthy choice, easy to make, an affordable recipe, is filling and can be adapted to your particular tastes. There’s no reason to avoid including a chickpea salad in your regular repertoire of meals for the week.