Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

Yesterday at the gym a friend asked me if this recipe was on my blog. Funny thing was I had purchased everything to make it almost two weeks ago intending to get it on my blog. It never happened and I used up the cilantro for something else so I had to get more at the store. And that my friends is why I am not a meal planner! If I make a plan I just can't stick to it! It is inevitable!

She tasted this salad at a church potluck. I like to bring "different" things to potlucks or get togethers because people seem to have an adventurous spirit when they walk through a line and pile things on their plates. Several people asked me that day for the recipe. It is an interesting combination and I think people are surprised how much they like it.
Hallelujah for the sun shining this morning. Picture taking went much easier! I guess I should always cook in the morning. Start by draining and rinsing two cans of chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans. I must say that I really do prefer chickpeas to be organic from a can. They are at Cashwise in the health food section. They just come out looking better and I swear they taste better but be cheap if you must.

Peel 2 carrots.

I have this special little tool that my mother-in-law brought to me one time. I think it might be an "As Seen on TV" kind of product. It works wonders if you need to julienne something. I am sorry for sharing what you can't have. You can borrow this from me if you want to make the perfect carrot strips too!

I just run it down the carrot like you would a regular peeler but it gives you these very thin strips that are perfectly sliced. The carrot will get too thin to slice so then I finish it up by cutting with my knife. It is nice to have both sizes in the salad I guess.

But the knife just can't get them as thin as I like them. Maybe you could slice them quick in a food processor with the slicing attachment. Enough with the carrots, I know!

Dice up 3 green onions, 1/4 cup of cilantro, and 2 Roma tomatoes. I also think cherry or grape tomatoes would be great sliced up.

You need about 1/2 cup of feta cheese and a little more to top the salad.

The RAISINS! The original recipe did not call for these but my sister and my husband both think the raisins make this salad what it is! My sister claimed, "That salad is a completely different salad with the raisins.!" You need about 1/2 cup plus a little more to top the salad as well.

Mix all of these ingredients together gently.

For the dressing you need 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/4 tsp each of sea salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne or use Franks Red Pepper Sauce. ( I was out) Mix together and pour over the salad. It is best if the flavors have a little time to blend which is why I made it this morning for lunch this afternoon.

Piece of advice: Don't substitute lemon juice from a bottle! Go get a fresh lemon before you make this. You very much taste the dressing on this salad and it won't be good with that bottled stuff!

It makes a beautiful salad and it is so delicious and unexpected. My friend Ann who asked me about this at the gym said, "Who knew you would like chickpeas?" When I served this to my friend Melissa for lunch one day my husband called me later to tell me that he was sick of hearing about my salad at work! (She works with Miles) I should have sent you with the leftovers that day Melissa!

Moral of the story is give it a try! I think you will be pleasantly surprised! I think one day I need to have a salad smorgasbord with all my favorite salads and invite a bunch of skeptics over for some taste testing. Sounds fun don't you think?

Recipe lightly adapted from March 2011 Clean Eating Magazine

Moroccan Chickpea Salad
2 cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 plum or Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup raisins

3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
pinch of cayenne or Franks

Mix together gently in a bowl.  Whisk dressing ingredients together. Add dressing to the salad and toss. Top the salad with a bit more feta and raisins. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

FYI: The original recipe also calls for 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint and 1 red bell pepper diced. I leave these two things out every time because I am not a super huge fan of mint and I am just not sure about the red pepper being in there. Someday I will try it with those ingredients but for now I am just sticking with my excellent addition, the raisins!

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