I’m a little obsessed with salads. I’ve converted both my mother (a salad & veggie-phobe) and mother-in-law (not a huge fan either) to the Awesomely Ways of the Salad. Oh, when I find a salad I love I will eat it over and over. And over. And over. About a year ago I first found the fantastic food blog Smitten Kitchen. First of all I must just say her recipes are straight up awesome. And she has great pics and stories to boot. And then. Then she posted a recipe for Smashed Chickpea Salad and I fell in love. The beloved versatile chickpea. Click here and get in the mood!
2 cups of cooked chickpeas (**or you could use 1 can,drained and rinsed…but cooking your own beans is much yummier)
1-2 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1-2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice from 1 whole lemon
Kosher salt to taste
Course pepper to taste
Mix everything but the olive oil in a bowl. Smash the chickpea mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until it is as chopped as you like it. I have left it both fairly “chunky” and kind of ”squishy” with equal delight. Add a bit oil until it is a consistency that you like. I tend to make mine with minimal oil to start and add more depending on how I am eating it. Some days I’m feeling a bit more oil than others.
My favorite way to eat this is topped with some of my pickled walla walla onions (in season) in a bowl, perhaps on a bed of raw spinach. Or on a sandwich with toasted homemade bread (a situation where I do add a tad more oil to give it some ability to stick together better). Or straight up with a spoon out of a jar. Yum.
Not only that, but the Babylady loves it. Beans are healthy, easy for toddlers to eat and make minimal mess (comparatively) if your toddler has a food throwing problem. Ahem. She also likes to cook and is into helping smash the beans. (For, you know, about 3.7 seconds–she is only 2). She loves it when we pick “pawsy” (parsley) from the garden to add. Heck, if we can “go owside, pick kale. eat kale. go owside” and put our smashed chickpeas on top of said picked kale, she is over the moon.
I got all set to tell you about this salad and realized I didn’t have any lemons. Not even bottled lemon juice. But don’t worry….I worked it! After some “damn-its”, a few “crap-a-doodles” and a final “fuck-it-all,” I remembered I did have the pickled lemons I made a few weeks ago (recipe from here)! Woot! I figured that the briney-tart-sweet would add an interesting alternative. Check out how fabulous they look!
How’d the pickled lemons work out you ask? Well, the lemons themselves are AMAZING. Tart, sweet & pickled. Delicious. And I love their addition to the salad. However, I did miss the usual zest & juice. In the future I think I’ll follow the original as above and toss in a few slices of chopped pickled lemons. Taking it over the top!
** Hold up! You say you don’t cook your own beans? Oh you should! It is cheap. Has no packaging. Less sodium. More nutrients. No BPA linings. Plus, you can make a bunch and freeze them. There are varying instructions out there on how to do your beans. I do a quick rinse and sort of the dried beans. Place it in a heavy pan, cover with a 3 inches or so of water and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Then let sit for 2-4 hours to soak. This is the ‘short soak’ method and supposedly leads to easier digestibility of the beans. Which is good for everyone involved. Next you’ll drain and rinse and add more water (about 1 inch over top of beans), 1-2 bay leaves, a few smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and boil lightly for 1.5-2 hours (until tender). Easy peasy. Plus you can make a lot and freeze it. Today I made enough for the salad and have 3 bags frozen for the next 3 occasions.