Chickpeas are a wonder food. They are the main ingredient in hummus. They can be roasted for a snack, or to give them even more texture and interest when added to other things. They are fabulous in soups and stews, as companions to other ingredients or again as one of the leading players. You can use chickpeas in salads, like this one where they are one of the stars of the show, or just pop a handful over a green salad. They are just awesome.
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are actually classified as a superfood, along with their legume brethren, but beyond all of the nutritional powerhouse benefits ( B vitamins, minerals, protein, and lots of fiber), they are just amazingly versatile and delicious and useful and also—cheap.
Here they buddy up to some other very accessible, very healthy ingredients in a colorful salad that I think should basically be on the table for at least a few meals a week. It could be a vegetarian main dish salad, it could be a side dish, it could be part of an antipasti platter.
Substitutions for a Vegan Chickpea Salad
While this is definitely vegetarian, leave out the feta and it will be a vegan dish. If you are also looking to avoid honey . (as many strict vegans do), you can use maple syrup or agave instead, or an other sweetener of your choice.
In fact, leave out anything you don’t have or don’t like—there’s plenty going on in this chickpea salad recipe, so if the olives are not your jam, or if roasted red peppers aren’t in the cards for any reasons, jettison them. Or add other items in, like diced young zucchini or summer squash, or celery. And please, use any color onions you like.
A Touch of Hot Honey
Have you ever heard of Mike’s Hot Honey? Or perhaps another hot honey? It is so freaking good, I can’t believe I went this long without it being introduced into my life. It’s honey infused with chilis, so anywhere a bit of sweetness plus a bit of heat would be welcome, there you are: hot honey. If you have it, in this recipe you can use 1 tablespoon of hot honey instead of the regular honey and hot sauce. I will be back to write more about this magical condiment soon, but I needed to share this with anyone who has been living in a cave like I have.
Other Chickpea Recipes:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ cup minced red onion
- ½ cup crumbled feta optional
- ¼ cup halved Kalamata or other black olives
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved or quartered if large
- ½ cup diced roasted bell pepper homemade or jarred
- 2 cups diced seedless cucumber or baby cucumbers halved lengthwise and sliced
- ½ cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano optional
- 2 ripe avocados
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas, onions, feta (if using), olives, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, parsley and oregano if using. Toss. Cut the avocados into cubes, and add them to the salad. Gently toss to combine.
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