Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Southwestern Chickpea Salad

I love chickpeas.  They're one of my most favorite things in the world.  Hummus! Falafel! Chana masala! But they're also great in salads - either as a salad base, or as just one ingredient.  Here's something I threw together:

3 cups raw chickpeas (you can use canned if necessary, but freshly-cooked chickpeas are so much better.)
1 lb. tomatoes
1/2 lb. poblano chiles, or other mild chile pepper.
1 red onion
garlic to taste
fresh cilantro to taste
1 tsp. cumin seed - whole or ground
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar and/or lime juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste

Soak the chickpeas overnight (sort through them first!) Drain, put in a large pot and cover with fresh water.  Cook for about two hours, until soft.

Meanwhile, roast the chile peppers in oven or broiler, until they are soft and the skin is blistered all over.  Let cool, then peel and chop.  Mince the onions and place in a large bowl.  (Hold off on chopping the chiles and other vegetables for now.)

Optional: if using whole cumin seeds, roast them first by heating 2 tbl. oil in a small skillet and adding the seeds.  Let cool - and deglaze the pan with vinegar.

When chickpeas are done, drain them and pour them over the onions, while still hot.  Let them cool a bit, then add all other ingredients.  Mix well, cover, and let marinate overnight.  Serve with tortilla chips or pita bread.

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