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Chickpeas: Two Fast Favorites

I love hummus, and by extension, I love chickpeas. I’ve made hummus a few times, but today I’ll be writing about ways to use chickpeas that aren’t hummus. Particularly if you’re one person, a whole can/box of chickpeas is a lot to go through, so these two recipes can be made from that same single container. Same ingredient, two very different looks.

The first is a simple salad. The little boxed Whole Foods organic chickpeas container holds about three servings, so take roughly enough chickpeas for one of them, and set the other two servings aside together (you can cover them in a bowl or other container in the refrigerator). Once I’ve rinsed the chickpeas, I put them in a medium-sized bowl (whatever you’d like to eat your salad from). With them, I slice a pair of radishes (depending on their size, you can go more or less) fairly thin and toss them in. Next comes a Satsuma mandarin orange (I get my little beauties from Ken’s Top Notch Produce, an amazing organic producer), separated/cut into eight little slices. In it goes. This leaves arugula. I love the peppery arugula right now at Jimenez Family Farm (not certified organic, but growing organically). I rinse it and then tear it into bite-sized pieces, and then in it goes.

Finally, it’s time for the dressing. While you can make any vinaigrette you like as mentioned in my previous blog about salad dressing, for this one, most recently I tried something a little different: while it’s always a 3:1 oil to acid ratio (in this case, extra virgin olive oil to lemon juice), I used cumin instead of Dijon mustard. I used perhaps an 1/8 teaspoon, but I’ll probably up that a little bit when I make this dish for the Oscars. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done, lickety split.

While the salad is lovely, sometimes you want a bit more heft to your meal. That’s where this second recipe, a smashed chickpeas sandwich, comes in. Take the remaining two portions of chickpeas (you’ll get at least two servings out of this) and smash ’em up. You can use your cutting board, a bowl, a flat plate…whatever works best for you. (You could use a food processor, but you don’t want to end up with chickpea puree.) Ultimately, you’re going to dump the smashed chickpeas into a bowl.

To the chickpeas, add a couple slices of red onion (thanks, T&D Farms–again, not certified organic, but growing organically), finely chopped. Next, add roughly a tablespoon of Greek yogurt, 2/3 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (I prefer Meyer lemons myself) and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and several generous shakes of harissa (a North African spice blend that packs some heat).

Now that you’ve got this chunky chickpea mixture, what to do?
Option 1: Spread it on good bread (either warmed or not) and eat it like an open-faced sandwich.

Smashed chickpea sandwich, panini-style, with some avocados hidden inside. chickpeas Chickpeas: Two Fast Favorites Chickpea panini cropped

Smashed chickpea sandwich, panini-style, with some avocado hidden inside.

Option 2: Add a second slice of bread and make it a traditional sandwich. You can even press it like a panini if you want (like the photo above).
Option 3: Accessorize either Option 1 or 2 with avocado (among my favorites are certified organic producers Ace Ranch and Mud Creek Ranch). Slice it, spread it over the sandwich and sprinkle some sea salt on the avocado (the chickpea mix has enough). You may want to drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on the avocado in the open-faced version or drizzle a little of that same extra virgin olive oil on the down-facing side of the bread (so that it drizzles down onto the avocado) in the closed-face version.
Option 4: East & West Gourmet has its fabulous bolani (an Afghan stuffed bread), so if you have something like this or a flatbread (or even pita), you could stick the whole thing in the oven (for about 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees) to make a very healthy “chickpeazza.” (I wouldn’t cook the avocado in the oven, so if you still want to add that, I’d place the slices on top when it comes out.)

A "chickpizza": smashed chickpeas atop a pumpkin-stuffed bolani from East & West Gourmet. chickpeas Chickpeas: Two Fast Favorites 20160212 130352

A “chickpeazza”: smashed chickpeas atop a pumpkin-stuffed bolani from East & West Gourmet, ready to go into the oven.

Option 4A: Fry an egg, season it with your favorite seasonings (e.g. basil, chili flakes, etc) and slide it over top of your “chickpeazza” when it comes out of the oven.

The "chickpizza" post-oven, with a fried egg on top. chickpeas Chickpeas: Two Fast Favorites 20160212 132000

The “chickpeazza” post-oven, with a fried egg on top.

Of course, these are just a few of the myriad possible combinations. Regardless of what you choose, chickpeas are a great basis for all kinds of healthy and tasty meal possibilities.

For the salad:
Chickpeas (1 serving)
Radishes (approx 2 medium radishes)
1 Satsuma mandarin orange divided into 8 pieces
Arugula (a handful), ripped into bite-sized pieces
Cumin vinaigrette (1-2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice, 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cumin)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the smashed chickpeas:
Chickpeas (2 servings), smashed but not pureed
Red onion (2 slices, chopped finely)
Greek yogurt (1 TB)
Meyer lemon juice (2 tsp)
Extra virgin olive oil (2 TB)
Harissa (several generous shakes)
Salt and pepper to taste

Happy eating!

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