Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kicky Chickpea Salad

Last summer when I started blogging, I wasn't sure what it would be like. I didn't know if I would really enjoy it.  I mean, I love food, taking photos, telling stories, and sharing tips from the kitchen and "philosophies" of life.  However, I was hesitant about this whole blogging thing.  Would it be fun? Would anybody read it?  But I thought it was worth the risk!  Little did I know that it would be a creative outlet that I would CRAVE each week; that during the week I would be thinking about what yummy recipe to post and what tips to share or story to write.  I didn't know until I tried it how very much I would like it; that I would take photos all the time in the kitchen just in case the dish was worthy of writing about.  

Well, Spicy Chickpea Salad is a lot like my relationship with blogging. Chickpeas 
(Garbanzo Beans) have never been my favorite legume, except in Hummus.  They don't have a lot of flavor and they have an interesting texture.  So, I wasn't sure how I would feel about this recipe, though it sounded really tasty with a list of ingredients of flavors that I love.  

And I am so glad I tried it because I really love this salad.  When I first made it last month, I ate it for lunch and dinner until it was gone.  And then I made it again a couple of weeks later for a dinner gathering at our house and people asked for the recipe, (which is always a good sign that I should post it).  This dish is so packed with flavor that I crave it! As I made it twice last month I made a few changes from the original recipe.
I got this recipe from Joy the Baker.  Do you read her blog?  If you haven't already found her, you must check her out.  She is HILARIOUS! In some ways we are alike (mostly in food tastes) but in other ways we are different.  For example: she is much, much funnier than me- she makes me laugh out loud; she loves her cat (who frequently shows up in blog photos); I love my kids (who frequently show up in blog photos); she lives on the west coast- I live in Tennessee; she is single and younger than me, and her life is much zestier than mine.  But we are both very passionate about food and cooking.  When I read her descriptions of food and see photos of her beautiful creations placed on lovely dishes with great linens, we seem more alike than different.  I love that about food.  It is a great unifier, isn't it?

I am so glad I tried this risky salad. It's been an unexpected pleasure. Kind of like blogging.

Here's the recipe:

Kicky Chickpea Salad

Adapted from joy the
In a large bowl toss together:
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup finely diced red onion
½ to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely diced

½ tsp. lime zest
juice of one lime
1/3 cup salted, roasted almonds, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, diced into chunks
small handful flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)

4 cups baby spinach leaves (save until end)

In another bowl make dressing:
2 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
heaping 1 tsp. mustard (yellow or whole grain)
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mash garlic and salt with a fork until it forms a paste.  Blend in the other ingredients ending with the olive oil.  Drizzle the olive oil in slowly until mixture is thick and emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste…if any is needed at all.

Toss the dressing into the chickpea mixture and blend well.  Add the spinach leaves. Combine well to coat.

lunch: leftovers+ extra spinach & sliced tomatoes

For lunch I added some sliced grape tomatoes to my leftovers and scooped them on top of additional spinach leaves.  It was a great, hearty, one-dish lunch!


  1. When Julie first made this, I was very skeptical. But it is really great! Give it a try.

  2. I bought chickpeas 2 months ago with every intention of making a salad but just couldn't bring myself to go through with it. No more excuses; I have to try this salad!

  3. YUM! i love chickpeas. and also, how on earth did you find a font that looks exactly like your handwriting?

  4. Hey Julie! I love your salad!! I recently tried a version of your recipe by Big Bite Guy on food network! He used fresh mint and cilantro with a squeeze of fresh lemon for the dressing and yum yum yum too!! Thanks for putting this out there for all us Julie Foodies!! my love to you and your family.

  5. This salad is one of my new very favorites - I love the kick it has, and the way the avocado sort of melts and becomes part of the salad dressing is delicious! YUM.