August 20, 2011

The Lunch Box: Spicy Cumin Chickpea Salad

I looove chickpeas. They are such a versatile little food! I love them fried as falafel and pureed as hummus and curried as chana masala. I also love spicy things and garlic, so when I saw a recipe on The Kitchn for Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin and Garlic, I knew it had to happen soon.

This is a delicious and easy recipe, and I want you all to go out and make it right now. The cumin and crushed red pepper make it nice and spicy (I doubled the red pepper, so it was even more spicy), and then the lemon and garlic give it another punch. But, then you get this nice cool cucumber and slightly sweet sundried tomatoes, and mmm, wow, good. Just good. In addition to tasting awesome, this is another one of those dishes that will make your apartment smell fantastic for a while - I mean, hello, sauteed cumin and garlic in olive oil?

As far as the recipe goes, I only changed a couple of things - I used 1 tbsp of dried parsley since I forgot to pick up fresh and I used a regular cucumber (seeded) rather than English. Although I drained the sundried tomatoes, they still add a bit of oil, so I reduced the olive oil from 3 tbsp to 2 with no problem. And the aforementioned doubling of the crushed pepper (but it was definitely hot, so you probably want to start with the ¼ tsp and taste as you go).

Although the yield doesn’t look like a whole lot, it’s actually pretty filling. I divided it into four servings and had one for lunch with a whole wheat tortilla and a handful of cherry tomatoes from a generous co-worker’s garden. I was definitely full. I didn’t even eat the melon salad that I’d brought along as part of my lunch.

Originally I planned to make it for lunches for both of us this week, but a bridal shower I hosted over the weekend yielded a lot of leftovers, so I didn’t end up making the salad until Wednesday night. MG had his wisdom teeth out today, so it was left to me to consume the entire thing. Eating the exact same thing for several days in a row makes me a little bored, so I decided to add some grilled shrimp to the chickpeas for dinners tonight and tomorrow (MG’s not a fan of seafood, so I’m taking advantage of his being on a mashed potato diet for the foreseeable future). To stretch it a little more into a dinner portion I sauteed some zucchini and summer squash to go on the side.

Keeping me company while I man the grill. 
(Don't worry, he's fine. He's just hamming it for the camera. And for pudding.)

That’s what I consider a great meal - something that can transition from easy workday lunch to heartier dinner with little extra effort. Chickpeas FTW!

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