I love chickpeas. I'll eat them every which way, and sometimes right out of the can. But I don't usually do much to them before adding them to a dish. In this salad from her new vegan cookbook, Salad Samurai, Terry Hope Romero inspires me to do more.
To make them the star of this show, Romero fries them until golden, pours on a BBQ-inspired marinade that coats the now crispy chickpeas with smoky-sweet flavor, and finishes with a sprinkling of savory nutritional yeast. The rest of the salad—greens, onions, tomatoes, carrots, avocado—is thrown together with a cider vinegar and smoked paprika dressing that, again, conjures Southern barbecue. Super easy and seriously good! Chickpeas deserve more than I've been giving them.
Why I picked this recipe: Barbecue chickpeas!
What worked: The chickpeas were awesome. They'd be great as a stand-alone snack, but the richness from the avocado and the smoky, bright dressing set them off.
What didn't: There wasn't nearly enough of the marinade to 'simmer for 4 minutes,' as instructed. It coated the chickpeas, and that was more or less that. I kicked them around the pan for a couple of minutes to caramelize a bit, but there was no simmering. Also, there was too much red onion in proportion to the other ingredients; use only as much as you like.
Suggested tweaks: This is definitely a salad you can play with. Corn or cucumbers would be terrific additions, or pile everything in a pita for a vegan BBQ sandwich.
From Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.
- For the Roasted BBQ Chickpeas:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (preferably hickory)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- For the Salad:
- 6 cups baby spinach or mixed salad greens
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 big, ripe avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup julienned carrot
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- For the Smoked Paprika Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet or hot paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt or regular salt
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then pour in the olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom with oil. Add chickpeas and fry for about 6 minutes, or until golden. Whisk together tamari, tomato paste, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. Pour over chickpeas, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, tear greens into bite-size pieces, wash, and spin dry. Transfer to a large salad bowl and add onion, tomatoes, avocado, and carrot. Whisk together all of dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss vegetables to coat with dressing and divide salad among serving bowls.
Sprinkle nutritional yeast over warm chickpeas and stir to coat. Top salad with hot chickpeas and a twist of freshly ground black pepper to taste, and serve it up!