My most popular post, as assessed by page views, is for my Mexican Salad with a Creamy Avocado Dressing. It is a big leafy salad with black beans, tomatoes, tortilla chips smothered in a creamy avocado-based dressing. Since today is Cinco de Mayo, it has seen some extra hits recently. Cinco de Mayo: a celebration of Mexican culture (with lots of great Mexican dishes). Who needs an excuse to get together with friends over guacamole?
This weekend, I will be attending a Cinco de Mayo party. The twist: the party is in Kitchener. Weather-permitting, I plan to commute from Toronto by bike. I am not joking. It will be over 120km each way. Never fear, I plan to sleep over on Saturday before heading home.
Suffice it to say, I try to pack light while cycling. This means, not only do I plan to wear my pyjamas at the party, but sadly, I won’t be bringing a dish for everyone to eat. If I were to share a dish, I would likely make this chickpea salad with a Mexican mango dressing (the rehearsal was a success!). I adapted it from My New Roots, where chickpeas are tossed with crispy carrots, crunchy red bell pepper, hidden slivered spinach and fresh cilantro in a creamy, zippy dressing made from pureed mango and lime juice. Similar to my previous Mexican salad with a fruit-based dressing, this one tastes best fresh. The zing from the chili flakes is most pronounced the day it is made and it mellows as it sits as leftovers. I simmered my chickpeas with a few cinnamon sticks and really found that cinnamon complemented the salad well. Feel free to use any assortment of crunchy vegetables and your favourite green for the salad. Don’t skip the cilantro, though.
Chickpea Salad with Mexican Mango Dressing
Adapted from My New Roots
1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 3 cups cooked, about 2x15oz cans)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 carrots, chopped (I used yellow and purple heirloom carrots which made it very colourful)
1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 large, ripe mango
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 large green onions, with tops
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, to taste, or your favourite chili
(if using canned beans, consider adding a touch of cinnamon)
sliced avocado, lime wedges, sprouts, pumpkin seeds, etc – for garnish (optional)
1. Drain chickpeas in a colander. Place chickpeas in a large stockpot with cinnamon sticks and cover with fresh water to at least 3 inches above beans. Bring beans to a boil on the stove, then turn down heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are thoroughly cooked but not mushy, about one hour. Remove cinnamon sticks. Drain and set aside.
2. Peel mango and place in a blender with lime juice, green onions, olive oil, sat and chili flakes. Blend on high until uniform and creamy. Season to taste.
3. In a large bowl, pour dressing over garbanzo beans and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad filling.
4. As you chop up the vegetables for the salad, add them as you go and stir to get an idea on how much more you need. Stop when the salad is well-dressed but not super gloopy.
5. Serve with sliced avocado and lime wedges on the side. Garnish with more cilantro, sprouts, pumpkin seeds, or whatever you have on hand.