Fresh Sheet…Chickpeas Part III

When the weather warms up, I can hardly resist the urge to eat mezze-style: a patio in the sunshine, assorted delicacies to nibble at one’s leisure, delicately arranged on a platter and supplemented by perhaps a glass (or two) of chilled rose.

This salad blends all the elements of spring – the brightness of citrus, the earthiness of chickpeas and tahini, the vibrant green of pea shoots and parsley and the sharp, cleansing bite of radishes. Enjoy in good company and linger for the afternoon…

Middle Eastern Salad with Chick Pea Croutons
Makes 4 small salads or 2 meal size salads. 

1 cup pea shoots
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup kalamata olives
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup sliced radishes
2 cups chopped cucumber

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the chick pea croutons (see recipe below) and set aside. Toss the first 6 salad ingredients together in a bowl. In a jam jar or sealable container, mix remaining ingredients together. Dress the salad right before serving and top with croutons. Croutons and dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance; note that garlic flavours will intensify as dressing rests.

Chickpea Croutons

1 medium carrot, grated
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1-19 oz/540 ml can chick peas, drained and rinsed or 2 cups of cooked chick peas
1/4 cup hemp hearts
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a food processor, combine grated carrot, spices, olive oil, lemon juice and water. Pulse until carrot is coarsely pureed.Add chick peas and hemp hearts and pulse a few times to combine ingredients, but not puree the chick peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Create croutons by forming about 2 teaspoons of the chick pea mixture into balls or square shapes. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone nonstick mat or parchment paper. Bake until golden, approximately 30 minutes, turning baking sheet once through baking. Allow to cool.


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