Tuesday, 26 July 2011

And now for something completely different

Chickpea salad with ricotta salata and sun-dried tomatoes

I woke up to a rainy day today and it felt great.    The heat we had this past week was distracting.   It had been too hot to cook inside and too hot to cook outside.  Too hot to breathe just about.  I'm not complaining.  I'm just saying, it was soooo nice to have a cool, rainy morning.  Extreme heat meant green salads have ruled at our house.  They're refreshing, nutritious, and easily digestible-- an absolute must--  especially when the air conditioning can't even take the edge off hot-as-pepper temperatures.  But it's time for a change-- at least until the next deep heat sets in.

What to make that's nutritious but doesn't require turning on the stove?  My kids know how much of a health freak I am.  They've endured enough of my what-to-eat, what-not-to-eat speeches over the years as have my friends.  I've been on them like bread crumbs on butter.  Sorry, carissimi, but I nag because I care.  In any case, I'm sure my arteries have narrowed nonetheless with all the worrying I've done over junk food and it's too-big-a-presence in our world.  

When I shop for groceries, I'm on a health mission.  So when I saw the chickpea, quinoa and lemon dressing salad at my local grocery store this week, I thought I'd create a chickpea number with an Italian twist at home.  I'm sharing my first-go recipe with you. I used fresh chives from my garden but wasn't too happy with the results. It was a little too wimpy.  This is a lesson I keep repeating.  Do you have any ingredients you wrestle with? 

I like chives but they just don't have the kick I'm looking for most of the time.  Great with bread, good with egg, but it's mostly a miss when I try them elsewhere.  I suggest using white or red onion for more punch. If you enjoy a very mild onion flavor, chives are the way to go.  

Simple Chickpea Salad
  • One 28 oz can (796 mL) chickpeas
  • Dice up and include one cup each of the following:  softened sun dried tomatoes (soak in warm water a little to soften), ricotta salata, celery, cucumber, tomato (seeds removed), and red or white onion
  • For the dressing:  mix approx. 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 large cloves minced garlic, salt, pepper and peperoncino to taste.  Add a handful of sesame seeds if you wish

Toss all ingredients and dressing in a non-reactive bowl.  Mix well and refrigerate. Sample after the first hour or so and adjust dressing if you need to. Allow the flavors to blend for a few more hours before serving.  Nice on a bed of lettuce. Yummy with a serving of multigrain bread.

If you're a green salad lover, look up the Strawberry Panzella Salad on   Really nice.

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