Easy Make-Ahead Chickpea Salad With Bacon, Roasted Chilies, and Cotija Cheese

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A flavor-packed make-ahead chickpea salad with bacon and roasted chilies. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Last week I extolled the virtues of make-ahead bean salads, like this chickpea salad with cumin and celery. Today I'm offering a meatier, more intense version that holds up just as well to a night in the fridge. This is a dish custom-made for making ahead and packing on a camping trip or for lunch at the office.

It starts with the same chickpeas (cooked dried chickpeas if possible, though canned would do just fine) which I toss in a flavorful vinaigrette made with rendered bacon fat, scallions, and lime juice. Of course, the bacon bits make their way into the salad as well.

To that base I add thin strips of poblano or Anaheim chilies that I've broiled until completely blackened and charred, stripping off their skin to reveal the tender, smoky flesh underneath. A heavy-handed sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and an extra squeeze of lime juice finish it off.

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You'll want to eat this the moment you finish tossing it together, but don't! Give it at least overnight to sit and meld and you'll be handsomely rewarded.