Bonjour! How is your week going? The husband and I survived our big move to Dublin last weekend. We are still living out of boxes and getting settled into the new routine. Our little dachshund, Minnie, likes her new home and all the kids running around the park next door to our apartment. Now that I’ve got my kitchen organized I’m busy working on some new programs to help you put healthy, delicious meals on the table every day. (For more info on this, check out my most recent post, Seeds of Change and Recipe for Green Spring Salad with Quinoa and Lemon.) I’m excited to roll out my new Cooking Coach services very soon!
I hope you enjoy the first weekly edition of La Belle Vie weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox this evening! If you haven’t subscribed hop on over to the home page or about page and get your name on the list! Subscribe this week and get a bonus recipe for the ras el hanout spice blend used in my Moroccan Spiced Carrot and Chickpea Salad below.
Today I’ve got a couple of super simple chickpea salads for you to try. First of all, I love saying the word “chickpea” – don’t you? Chickpea! To me, these little legumes are as addictive as popcorn. They make for a healthy indulgence because, compared to other beans, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) have unique nutritional benefits, such as:
High amounts of insoluble fibre support digestion and feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. One third of the total fibre is soluble, which lowers cholesterol. Lots of fibre fills up your tummy so you don’t eat as much food.
Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals Galore
According to Whole Foods, chickpeas have more phytonutrients than other legumes, plus ample amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. They’re also packed with iron, zinc, vitamin B6, folate and magnesium (which registered dietitian Joy Bauer says mitigates migraines).
Blood Sugar Balancer
All the fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals work together to slow down absorption of sugar. This means you get to enjoy sustained energy long after a meal and feel mega fantastic all day!
Antioxidants reduce the risk of heart disease and as mentioned above, soluble fibre carries pesky cholesterol debris out of the blood vessels.
My chickpea salad recipes are simple but full of flavour. They make a smart packed lunch or quick and clever supper. The formula may inspire you to come up with your own version: chickpeas + star vegetable + bold seasoning. Got any great ideas for a variation on this theme? Tell me all about it in the comments section.
Take Action this Weekend
Find a fun little lunch box and be ready to pack one of these chickpea salads for lunch on Monday.
now for the recipes…
Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Salad
This salad is the perfect example of “less is more.” Vibrant, sweet steamed broccoli and starchy chickpeas with zippy lemon vinaigrette is a tasty, satisfying lunch. Fresh basil adds just the right touch of flair. To make ahead, combine all the ingredients but keep the vinaigrette separate until just before serving.
- 1 large head of broccoli (weighing about 13 ounces/360g)
- 1 cup/120g cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
- ¼ cup/50mL Lemon Vinaigrette
Prepare a large pot for steaming by filling it with about 4 centimetres of water and bringing it to a boil. Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces and place in steamer basket. Put steamer basket in pot and cover with lid. Steam the broccoli till tender and bright green, 4 minutes.
Make the salad. Place the broccoli and chickpeas in a large bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette and toss well to combine. Sprinkle over basil and serve immediately.
This recipe makes twice as much as you’ll need for the Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Salad, but you can use the leftover vinaigrette on salads or as a marinade for chicken/shrimp on another day.
Makes about 1/3 cup/ 80mL
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup/50mL extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
Juice the lemon (you should have 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice). Add a pinch of salt to the lemon juice and gradually whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Taste the vinaigrette and whisk in more olive oil if it’s too tart. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to three days.
Moroccan Spiced Carrot and Chickpea Salad
The Moroccan spice blend, ras el hanout, lends this carrot salad an exotic, mysterious aroma that’s reminiscent of cinnamon, cumin and saffron. Find this spice blend in any good spice shop, order online or find my personal recipe for ras el hanout made with pantry staple spices by signing up for my weekly newsletter. Rosewater is a potent ingredient that contributes a sweet, floral aroma—be careful not to add too much, which would overwhelm the dish. This salad is delicious on its own or served over a bed of salad greens. If you plan on enjoying this salad as a packed lunch it can be reheated briefly in the microwave. Keep the Tahini-Lime Dressing separate and add it just before serving.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 carrots (weighing about 1 pound/450g)
- ½ teaspoon ras el hanout spice blend
- 1 cup/120g cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup/40g sliced almonds
- A handful of fresh coriander leaves
- A couple drops of rosewater
Slice the carrots into thin rounds. Toast the almonds in a skillet over low heat until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Place a large high-sided skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and ras el hanout, cooking for one minute (until fragrant) and stirring frequently. Turn the heat up to medium and add the carrot slices, tossing to coat evenly with the spice-infused oil. Cook the carrots for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas and cook for one more minute, to warm through. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Sprinkle a couple drops rosewater, the toasted almonds and coriander leaves over the warm salad, tossing to combine. Serve with Tahini-Lime Dressing.
Makes ¾ cup/150mL
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Grated zest of two limes
- Sea salt
- ½ cup/100mL extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons water
Spoon the tahini into a medium non-reactive bowl (use stainless steel, ceramic or glass). Add the lime zest, juice and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk to combine the ingredients. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously to form an emulsion. In the end, the consistency will be that of mayonnaise. Whisk in a couple teaspoons water (along with the rosewater) to thin the dressing so it can be drizzled over salad. Add more water if necessary. Use the dressing immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.