chickpea salad with curry + lemon.

It’s my grandmother’s 87th birthday today! We’re having a potluck dinner to celebrate the fact that she’s, in her own words, “still upright.”

My Grandma inspires me because she works hard every day to maintain her wellness. She walks, does crossword puzzles, reads avidly, and keeps herself up-to-date on international news. I’m in awe of her sharp mind, wit, and adventuresome spirit. Just this winter she traveled to Panama and took a boat down the Panama River. I can only hope to be like her when I’m older.

{My grandma rocking an awesome bathing suit}

And what better way to celebrate her adventuresome, healthy spirit than by bringing a healthful and unusual dish to her birthday dinner. I decided on a Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad from Heidi Swanson but altered it to accommodate the large crowd, and I upped the curry flavor a bit because I love really flavorful salads. Additionally, I added toasted, sliced almonds for a little crunch and an extra punch of protein.

My version serves 10-12 as a side dish and would be an excellent thing to bring to a potluck or picnic, as it’s best served at room temperature. Happy birthday, Grandma! I love you! Molly

Pan-fried Chickpea Salad with Curry + Lemon

For the salad:
2 Tbl olive or coconut oil
3 cans chickpeas, patted completely dry with clean dish towel
1 leek, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
zest of 2 lemons
1 C loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 C sliced almonds, toasted in a skillet

For the dressing:
2/3 cup plain yogurt (I prefer low-fat Greek)
3-4 tsp Indian-style curry powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1 or 2 tablespoons warm water

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and add the chickpeas. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and allow them to get golden brown on all sides– roughly 10 minutes. Stir in the leeks and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until soft and somewhat translucent. When done, stir in the garlic, lemon zest, and toasted almonds; remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
While the chickpeas cool, make the yogurt dressing by whisking together the yogurt, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl. If you need to thin it out a bit, particularly if you are using Greek yogurt, whisk in warm water a tablespoon at a time. Taste, adjust, and set aside.
When it’s time to serve, toss the chickpea mixture with most of the cilantro and most of the chopped red onion. Add about 1/2 of the yogurt dressing and toss again. If you like more dressing, keep adding ’til your heart’s content. Serve on a large platter or in a pretty bowl; sprinkle with remaining cilantro and red onion.

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