Zesty chickpea salad

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What do you think of chickpeas (are they called garbanzo beans in the USA)? I’m a bit unsure – they’re great whizzed up, but so often I find them dry and pasty. So when I started experimenting with chickpea salad ideas I really, really didn’t think I’d like any of the end results. How wrong I was – left to marinade in a flavourful, zesty dressing, the chickpea can become a pulse of note!

Terribly simple to make, but rather stunning to look at, this salad has converted me! Next step, to find a cooked chickpea recipe that also delights my taste buds!

Chickpea Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (or a whole one if you like a bit more heat)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sprig mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig basil, also roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • (If you eat dairy, some feta would be nice crumbled over the top)

– Whisk together the lemon, oil and salt. Taste and set aside.
– Combine all the other ingredients.

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– Pour over the dressing and stir well
– Leave to marinade for at least 2 hours before eating.

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Moroccan Spiced Chickpea and Aubergine Salad

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Spring has sprung! Time to dust off some salad recipes and replace the comfort foods with more fresh vibrancy. When my mother in law went to Morocco last year she bought us back heaps of spices which need using up. They came freshly ground straight from the souq – wonderful, but are losing potency by the day. I had intended to use some ras el hanout in this recipe but really didnt enjoy my first batch of dressing – maybe this particular blend wasn’t quite to my taste, or maybe the batch had already gone off? Anyway, batch number two was, in my opinion, far more enjoyable – probably not terribly authentic but I combined cumin, coriander and sweet paprika and I found it worked beautifully with the chickpeas and aubergines.

I’ve always said aubergine is a tricky vegetable to get right, but again here it comes into its own.

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea and Aubergine Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves at least 4

  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

– Salt the aubergine cubes for 1/2 an hour to remove any bitter juices. Rinse and dry.
– Fry the aubergine in the olive oil until golden on all sides.
– Drain on kitchen paper
– Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk together the lemon, sunflower oil, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, vinegar and salt.
– Place the chickpeas, spring onions and aubergine in a bowl.
– Pour over the dressing and combine well.
– Leave to marinade at room temperature for at least half an hour
– Before serving toss through the fresh coriander leaves

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