janet @ the taste space

Spanish Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers

In Appetizers, Favourites, Salads, Sides on August 21, 2010 at 6:17 AM

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! 😀

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.

Serves 6-8.

  1. I only use dry or fresh beans. The key to cooking dry beans is the soak (at least a few hours if not overnight). Cook the beans in fresh water. You want the water to be about 3 inches or so above the beans. After the water comes to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and simmer for about 1 hour. I prefer slightly crunchy, rather than mushy, chickpeas so after about 45 minutes or so I start to test them. Drain, rinse, done!

  2. Love the sound of this dish, looks fantastic.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kalynskitchen and rebeccasubbiah, rebeccasubbiah. rebeccasubbiah said: RT @kalynskitchen: Chickpea Salad with Capers, yum! https://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/spanish-chickpea-salad-with-capers-and-r … […]

  4. This sounds like a truly fantastic way to showcase mint in a salad. And I bet you’re right–it’s just the kind of dish that would be even better the next day, once flavors mingle a bit! This is on my definite “to try” list. Thanks for yet another stellar submisison to the SOS Challenge! 🙂

    • Thanks Ricki! Your last two SOS challenges have picked up on ingredients that I am using seasonally, so it works out beautifully. I find mint substitutes very well for parsley – and I hate parsley. 🙂

  5. I made this as a part of dinner tonight. We were super impatient and ate it right away. We both really enjoyed it, but the chickpeas turned into mush. I didn’t use a non-stick pan and I wasn’t stirring the chickpeas enough… oops! Still really delicious, just not very pretty!

    I used to have trouble cooking dried beans, too. I would boil them in a covered pot and at medium to high temperatures and they would just turn into mush. Now I just bring the water to a very gentle boil and simmer uncovered for about an hour, do a taste test, and keep testing every 10 minutes until done.

    • Hey Rose, Glad to hear you had tasty food even if unphotogenic.. As well, thanks for the tips re: chickpeas. I think the simmering is what is important – because I like my beans now too mushy! I think Ill pick up a bag this week and see how it goes.

  6. I prepare dry chickpeas using Madison’s recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. You also get a tasty leftover broth to add to soups. I will definitely try this salad. Thanks!

  7. I love chickpeas–the canned are great in a pinch and the dry ones even better. Thanks for sending your salad into Souper Sundays. 😉

  8. I love chickpea in Indian, Middle eastern recipe! I had not tried these spanish chickpea version, but looks so yummy, healthy and easy to make, I am going to make some for lunch tomorrow! Yeah! Thank you for the lunch idea.

  9. […] how wonderful pan-roasted chickpeas are, creamy, nutty and flavourful. They always add extra oomph to a salad and did not disappoint […]

  10. I have all those ingredients on hand. I have to give it a try for dinner! Thanks!

  11. […] Spanish Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers […]

  12. […] kinds of meats for guests, whereas I typical reign in the salad department. I have revisited some of my old favourites, and of course, tried out a few new ones that will be shared shortly, […]

  13. […] dressing. It had been a while since I’ve had pan-roasted chickpeas, which were a favourite of mine 2 years ago, so I decided to break them out with this creamy lemon-dill dressing from Angela. She […]

  14. I love roasted peppers…they make everything so great!

    Thanks for linking up to HVF!

  15. You rock and always have clearly 😉 Once again, thanks for linking up to HVF!

  16. […] undertones, sweetness from the red peppers and lightness from the lemon juice. It reminded me of my Spanish Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers (without the salty capers) and the addition of the spinach reminded me of Andalusian Chickpeas and […]

  17. […] Mahi-Mahi with Lemon and Capers, here;  Spanish Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Peppers, here; and Espinacas a la Catalana, […]

  18. […] salad off the top of my head. I don’t like chickpeas with vinaigrettes, preferring them pan-roasted or smothered in thick sauces. However, as soon as we tasted this salad, both Rob and I were […]

  19. sounds really delicious, marking to try when peppers are in season

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