Friday, February 22, 2013

Cilantro-Lime Chickpea Salad

Fresh, tangy, and oh-so-tasty!
I don’t know what it is about cilantro but I’ve been obsessed with it lately. Its pungent, savory flavor is amazing—especially when combined with citrus—and I keep finding excuses to make recipes that call for this tasty herb.

Not everyone feels the same way. In fact, it’s quite a polarizing issue. People either love or hate cilantro...there doesn’t seem to be much in-between. My dad told me that cilantro actually tastes different to some people. Since he’s a rocket scientist (I’m not joking) I’ll defer to him on this one.
Anyhoo, when I ran across this salad that called for another of my favorites (chickpeas) along with fresh veggies all tossed in a yummy cilantro-lime vinaigrette, I knew I had to tweak it to make it my own.

I left out the corn and salt, decreased the amount of olive oil, added a little apple cider vinegar, and changed the portion of veggies a bit. Here’s what I came up with.

Cilantro-Lime Chickpea Salad

Serves 4
I (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
½ cup red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 limes, juiced (about 1 tablespoon lime juice)
2 garlic cloves
½-1 cup cilantro (I used 1 full cup)


In a medium bowl combine chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onion.

Place olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, and cilantro in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

Pour cilantro-lime vinaigrette over chickpea/vegetable mixture and stir well to combine. Place in the refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes. Stir well just prior to serving.

I was surprised at how tangy—almost spicy—this salad turned out. The combo of red onion, bell pepper, and garlic gave it quite the punch. The acidity of the lime juice and apple cider vinegar kicked it up a notch as well.

The hubs said he enjoyed it but would have liked a little feta cheese. I’m sure that cheese would be a delightful addition (and I’ll probably try it at some point) but I kind of like the way this vegan/healthy dish turned out. It’s one of those things that not only tastes great but is good for you too.

I was eating leftovers for lunch the day after I made this and my 16-month-old son surprised the heck out of me by eating the cucumbers covered in the spicy cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Granted he is the adventurous eater (my three-year-old daughter is MUCH pickier) but I was I was thrilled that he seemed to like this salad as much as his mommy.  

The only thing I might do differently next time is to use an orange or yellow bell pepper instead of a green one. And the only reason would be to add another pop of color. Our foods should be as colorful and diverse as we can make them—it helps ensure we ingest a wider range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Bottom line: If you love cilantro even half as much as I do, give this tasty salad a try.
Until next time,

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