Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chopped salad with chickpeas

It's a humble thing, salad. Barely makes onto the "Who's Who" of recipes. What is it, anyway? A mishmash of veggies, sometimes meat or beans, thrown into a bowl, tossed with some sort of dressing. It begs the question, do we really need a recipe for this?

I find myself terrible at salads. I need the recipe -- any recipe. I want some sort of legend with which to map this seemingly easy territory.

I couldn't tell you where this one came from, except that it's a combination of a wealth of salad recipes I've read recently, in addition to some faintly remembered advice on healthy foods, etc. I was hoping to sort of detox after a week or two of being on a tight schedule with little to no sleep, too much caffeine, too few vegetables and generally, at the end of the night, a beer or two. 

Basically, I needed something to take to work that was fairly easy to make, saladish in nature without relying on tons of lettuce, and filling without being heavy. Sluggish arrives at 2:30 p.m. whether I've had pasta or not, so we don't need any help there. 

So, here we are. I usually pair a bowl of this with a cup of soup, and  few crackers.

Chopped salad

The basic mix

2-3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, sliced thin or roughly shredded
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered and diced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2-3 leaves kale, torn into small pieces, rinds removed

Optional add-ins:

1 mango, peeled and diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup diced asparagus
1 cup frozen peas

Last week's salad included the pepper and asparagus. This week, it's mango and asparagus. Use whatever you have on hand.

The dressing

Juice of half a lemon
1-2 T. olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. Greek seasoning
Cracked black pepper

Optional: 1/2 T. parmesan cheese

The chickpeas do a lot of work here, providing protein and bulk, so you feel full after eating. I would say to add two optional ingredients at least to each mix. The dressing will lightly coat all of one recipe, but I'm not a dressing person. I'd double it if you want a dousing. I usually divide this into two containers, and eat a bit every day. Enjoy!

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