Chickpea Goodness

July 28, 2009


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A heartfelt thanks for all of the birthday wishes!  My year of yoga is underway.  It actually started the day before my birthday at a retreat on Bainbridge Island.  My friend Jen, yoga instructor extraordinaire, plans to host one of these a quarter and I am already excited about the next one.  I have known Jen since 7th grade and she is one of my favorite people.  She is a part of the supper club I put together 4 1/2 years ago, and she is one of the best listeners I know.  I have done so many things with Jen at all different phases of my life, but I had never taken a yoga class with her.  I now, more than ever, wish she was much closer than a ferry ride away.  I would be at that studio everyday if I could be.

Oh yes, the food.  Because I wanted to take part in the morning class, I needed to make most everything in advance.  Last time, I spent about 2 hours putting it all together.  This time, I only had an hour.  I decided to make some tofu wraps, a dip, a trio of salads, and two kinds of cookies.  When I got to her house, everything was done except assembling the wraps and tossing the green salad.

The most talked about dish, aside from these cookies, was the chickpeas.  Women after my own heart.  If you are new here, let me tell you that I love chickpeas.  I love them every which way.  If you do too, this is an especially nice dish because the dish truly stars the humble chickpea.  There is not a lot to distract you from how wonderful they are, but with lots of flavor to boost them up.  Chickpeas are poured into a bowl, a spice oil is made and poured over the beans, then yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, and lots of herbs are folded in.  It is a quick and simple dish that does not suffer from an overnight visit to the refrigerator.  Just be sure to serve it at room temperature so the flavors bloom as they should.

For the rest of this week, I will most likely be posting recipes from the retreat.  You see, it is too hot to cook here in the Pacific Northwest.  If you are the type who watches the weather, or if you are on Twitter (are you?  Follow me!), you will know that we are experiencing a heat wave here in Seattle.  It is going to be above 90 degrees all week.  If I make anything, it will most likely be a giant salad, but I predict we will be eating takeout and ice cubes until this is over.
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One Year Ago:  Birthday Weekend

Indian-Spiced Chickpea Salad with Yogurt and Herbs
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 6

Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas – rinsed, drained, and patted dry
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 tsp. kosher salt

Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl.  In a small skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering.  Add the mustard seeds, partially cover the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until the mustard seeds stop popping, about 1 minute.  Add the cumin and fennel seeds and the crushed red pepper and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour the hot oil and spices over the chickpeas.  Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and mint and salt.  Serve the chickpea salad at room temperature.



16 Comments »

  1. How fantastic! This looks like a fabulous flavor combo. Thank you for posting and I can’t wait to meet you. Also, happy birthday!

    Comment by redmenace — July 28, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

  2. Dana,
    Enjoy the yoga retreat, wish I could get more into it.

    I swear I had a dream the other night that I was sleeping on a bed of chickpeas. It was the funniest thing. I woke up and told my husband, he thought I was nuts.

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — July 29, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  3. Delicious and healthy!

    Comment by elra — July 29, 2009 @ 6:04 am

  4. The heat wave is on Vancouver Island also. I really have to go back to yoga. You’re inspiring me. Great salad, I love chickpeas also.

    Comment by Hélène — July 29, 2009 @ 6:25 am

  5. This salad is from Jerry Traunfeld and it is indeed outstanding. Do you have any of his two books? Awesome! Traunfeld has a unique way with herbs.
    I also want to try the intriguing recipe for Grilled Cilantro-Mint Indian Naan Bread he contributed to the book Wood Fire Cooking and available here: http://leitesculinaria.com/16886/recipes-grilled-cilantro-indian-naan-bread.html Doesn’t that look good?

    Comment by Yannik — July 29, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  6. Ah…the humble chickpea makes a great filling salad as well as fantastic hummus. This salad ,however, sounds and looks amazing!

    Comment by veron — July 29, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  7. mmmmm…I could eat chickpeas every day! This looks delicious!

    Comment by fresh365 — July 29, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  8. I love chickpeas, and I love anything Indian-inspiried. This looks so yummy.

    Comment by HappyTummy — July 29, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  9. I make something similar to this, with some ground coriander seed and tomatoes thrown in. Yours looks delicious!

    Comment by tara — July 29, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  10. This recipe looks fabulous! So healthy and delicious. Good luck with your yoga endeavors. I’ve been doing yoga for about a year now and have fallen in love. I just makes you feel so good.

    Comment by alexandra's ktichen — July 29, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  11. love your blog and grateful to you for posting this recipe—i have been looking for that perfect recipe for all of the chickpeas in my pantry. I was at the retreat as well and Jen’s studio has become my home away from home :). Great food, as always–the perfect centerpiece to a perfect day of yoga. Thanks Dana.

    Comment by Maria Dozeman — July 29, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  12. The spices sound great with chickpeas, and I love that it’s a make ahead kind of salad. I was in the habit of doing dvd yoga at home every weekend, but it has somehow gotten lost in busy weekends lately. I always feel better when I do it, and I need to make it a priority again.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — July 29, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  13. Perfect for this weather! Your Indian chickpea and kale dish is a staple around here now…and this looks like a perfect dish to become a summer favorite. Thanks for posting.

    Comment by Mara — July 29, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  14. This reminds me of Indian sundal (just without yogurt) – its chickpeas with mustard seeds, cumin and coconut. Stay cool!

    Comment by veggiebelly — July 30, 2009 @ 12:31 am

  15. This is going to be lunch and dinner…breakfast? for the remainder of the heat wave. Thank you so much for the deliciousness! Michele

    Comment by Michele — July 30, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

  16. Ooo this looks awesome. I rarely ever use mint (actually I’ve maybe never used mint) in cooking.

    Comment by Ashley — August 3, 2009 @ 5:14 pm



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