Why It Works
- This easy make-ahead salad needs only two main ingredients: chickpeas and grated carrots.
- Pepitas are quickly toasted in the microwave.
- The salad tastes even better the next day.
Me, love chickpeas? Wherever did you get that idea? Was it perhaps because I've published not one, not two, but three different chickpea salad recipes on the site?
Yeah, I admit it. Between this chickpea and celery salad with cumin, this chickpea salad with bacon and roasted chiles, and this roasted chickpea and kale salad with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, you could say I've been on a bit of a chickpea kick recently. But they're so easy to love! They take on other flavors so well—particularly bold flavors that generally get paired with meat. They're hearty and filling enough to make a strong side dish or a light lunch or dinner, and best of all. Chickpeas make the kind of dishes that are not just delicious when first thrown together, but actually improve with time.
It's really the ideal food for a packed lunch, whether it's at school, the office, on the road. We once had it deep in the woods of Yosemite.
For this version, I combined chickpeas (I used dried chickpeas that I soaked overnight and simmered in water with some basic aromatics until tender, though canned and drained chickpeas will work just fine) with carrots that I'd grated on the large holes of a box grater. It's a combination I cribbed from my buddy Charles Kelsey who runs the incredible Cutty's, a sandwich shop worth a road trip in Brookline.
The carrots and chickpeas get dressed in a simple vinaigrette flavored with garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a ton of chopped dill. I add some pumpkin seeds that I toast in the microwave (my new favorite way to toast nuts!), toss it all together, and call it a day.
Actually, I call it a day plus one night because it's really better when you eat it for lunch the day after it's made.
1/2 pound dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in cold salted water at room temperature
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, cut into 3-inch segments
1 onion, split in half
1 stalk celery, cut into 3-inch segments
1/2 cup pepitas
1 large carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with a grating attachment
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Drain chickpeas and place in a large pot with bay leaf, carrot, onion, and the segmented celery stalk. Cover with cold water by 2 inches, season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the chickpeas are tender but still hold their shape, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf, carrot, onion, and celery. Drain and rinse under cold running water until chilled. Let drain in a colander set in the sink while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Place pepitas on a large plate and microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave for a further 2 minutes. Continue stirring and microwaving at 30-second intervals until lightly toasted and fragrant. Alternatively, toast in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Combine chickpeas, carrots, toasted pumpkin seeds, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and dill in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or for better results, store overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Salad will keep for up to 3 days.
For best flavor and texture, use dried chickpeas. For faster results, use two (15-ounce) cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas and start recipe from step two.
Box grater or grating disk on a food processor
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 24g||31%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||17%|
|Total Carbohydrate 41g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 9g||32%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 7mg||34%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|