I have been on such a chickpea kick, adding them to my recent salads, that I am starting to wonder whether I should try to make them from dry. I am all for dry beans, as they are infinitely cheaper and probably taste better, too. Lentils are a no brainer as they cook up quickly and don’t need an overnight soak. That overnight soak, ie. advance preparation, is usually not that onerous since I routinely plan my meals days in advance. However, I have not had good luck with cooking dry chickpeas nor black beans, incidentally my two favourite beans – they just don’t seem to work. I remember having a pool of black soup with hard beans when I cooked black beans the first time. Does anyone have suggestions? Other than buy beans from a high-turnover bean store? (Bestwin definitely fits the bill here).
The good news is that canned beans work just as well for this dish! :D
I highly recommend roasting your own red peppers, though. I know you can buy them in a can, but freshly roasted peppers are infinitely juicier, tastier and healthier since they aren’t packed in oil.
When you have a simple salad, such as this one, each ingredient counts. And this salad is delicious: the sweet roasted red peppers are paired with the creamy, nutty pan-fried chickpeas, and they are dressed with a minty red wine vinegar vinaigrette with a sour note from capers. Lovely for picnics as a side salad, or even a main meal as the beans are quite filling. Traditionally this is served as a tapa, or appetizer, in Spanish cuisine.
I originally found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I found that there was a fair bit of oily dressing left over, so I modified the recipe to increase the red peppers and chickpeas. I also pan-fried the chickpeas in some of the oil, since pan-fried chickpeas taste a lot better than chickpeas straight from a can (the lesson I learned while making the utterly delicious warm chickpea and artichoke salad).
Allow the salad to mingle its flavours a few hours before serving and serve at room temperature. Leftovers are equally good, if not better. :)
This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring mint, to Nithu for this month’s Cooking with Whole Foods featuring chickpeas, to this week’s Wellness Weekend,to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays, this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Simona at Briciole, and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays (which also includes salads).
Spanish Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers
(Ensalada de Garbanzos con Pimentones e Alcaparras)
3 large red peppers
4 cups of cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned (about 2 19-ounce cans)
1/4 cup of mint, chopped
3 tablespoons of capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, red wine or sherry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
1. If roasting your own peppers, preheat the oven broiler. Line a small roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place the pepper halves in the pan, cut side down, and place in the oven on the shelf closest to the broiler. Broil until the pepper skins are completely black, about 8-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, wrap the pepper in the foil and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and rub off the skins of the peppers. Set peppers aside.
2. In a large frypan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the chickpeas and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until they are all golden brown (this takes about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool.
3. Cut the peppers into half-inch wide strips and put them in a large bowl together with the pan-fried chickpeas, herbs and the capers.
4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, garlic and oil. Pour over the chickpea mixture and combine.
5. Serve immediately, or refrigerate it for a day to get the flavors to mingle fantastically.