I Didn’t Forget

February 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

First, an apology. A few of my loved ones expressed concern for my well-being after “Unsettled” went live. I want to reassure them that I’m in a much better place now. I pride myself on writing honestly. It didn’t feel right at the time to write up a light, breezy post about how amazing it is here in Portland. I’ve been in Portland for a month, and I admit that I still don’t have much of a life here. No job, no home, no BFFs. Well, not yet. All of that will take time. I can’t say how much. There are days when that fact frustrates me, but generally I’m in a good mood.

I spend most of my days exploring, researching, and networking whenever the opportunity presents itself. When I’m not doing one of these three things, I’m either drinking local coffee (and beer on the weekends) and learning how to cook on a budget. Which, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, means eating a lot of beans. It’s a good thing that I really love beans.

Which brings me to this recipe. Since beans are the most affordable form of protein for me, I eat them more days than not. So I have to find creative ways to use them. I attended a potluck meet-up for young alums of my alma mater, Smith College, last week. I brought this chickpea salad. I created this salad based on a recipe for roasted chickpeas featured on My New Roots. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to this blog. It never fails to inspire me.

I wanted a good balance of flavors and textures in this salad. The chickpeas are crunchy and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and have a rich, layered flavor profile. I used fluffy bulghur wheat, raw Tuscan kale, toasted sunflower seeds, and plenty of lemon juice to round things out. The results? Good enough to share.

It didn’t cost more than $10.00 to make, and I had a lot of leftovers after the potluck. I’ve learned quickly that eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean a steady diet of spaghetti with marinara sauce. That was never my style anyway.

Roasted Chickpea Salad (adapted from My New Roots)

“Kickin” Chickpeas  ( Note: I made a few tweaks to the original. I didn’t use black pepper, and I switched out olive oil for melted coconut oil. I didn’t add the dried thyme until after the chickpeas had finished roasting. I substituted sunflower seeds for pistachios, which I toasted separately and added later on.)

3 cups cooked chickpeas

4-6 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more if you want it spicer)

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 small bunch Tuscan kale, rinsed well and chopped into small, bite-sized pieces

~1 cup coarsely ground bulghur wheat

1 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Juice of 4 lemons

–You have the option of either cooking chickpeas from scratch or buying them canned from the supermarket. I always prefer to cook beans from scratch. Either way, drain, rinse, and dry the chickpeas. I find that a few spins in the salad spinner helps dry the chickpeas out. You want the chickpeas to be as dry as possible, or else they’ll steam in the oven. Spread the chickpeas out on a clean dish towel until you’re ready to use them.

–Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chickpeas in a single layer on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Melt the coconut oil and pour over the chickpeas. Use your hands to toss the chickpeas in the oil, making sure they’re all thoroughly coated. Do the same with the spices, save for the thyme.

–Allow the chickpeas to roast for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven to cool completely. Add the dried thyme and toss before assembling the salad.

–In the meantime, make the bulghur. Place the bulghur into a small bowl, and pour boiling hot water over it, until you’ve reached just below the surface. Cover with foil and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature.

–Once the chickpeas and bulghur have cooled, toss them together in a large serving bowl, along with the kale, sunflower seeds and lemon juice. Add extra salt if necessary. Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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§ One Response to I Didn’t Forget

  • awrams says:

    So delicious! I had to substitute quinoa for bulghur to accommodate a gluten-free guest, but it still tasted amazing. I also used a combination of baby greens – kale, spinach and collards. It was a big hit and will be a ‘go to’ recipe for future parties.

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