Chickpea Salad

Jul 242016

Saffron Couscous and Chickpea Salad


‘Saffron Couscous and Chickpea Salad’ is a great summertime salad to bring to a picnic. It is packed with flavour, delicious at room temperature, and doesn’t get soggy. By steaming the couscous in saffron-infused stock (chicken or vegetable), all the delicious flavours are imbued directly into the grains so there is no need to make a separate dressing.





(Serves 4)




200g dried coucous

250ml hot stock (vegetable or chicken)

½ tsp loosely packed saffron strands

1 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp EVOO + 3 Tbsp EVOO

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

240g drained tinned chickpeas

8 cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into bite-size pieces

6 radishes, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

1 small or ½ large cucumber, quartered and chopped

2 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped


Optional garnish (pomegranate seeds, chopped nuts, sumac)




  1. Prepare hot stock and add the saffron strands, 1 tsp coarse sea salt and 2 Tbsp EVOO into it. Allow the mixture to infuse for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the dried couscous into a saucepan (with a lid) and pour the seasoned stock on top. Mix quickly and then cover and let sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. Allow to cool. Once the couscous is cool, add 3 Tbsp EVOO and 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Toss well.
  3. While the couscous is cooling, drain and rinse the tinned chickpeas.
  4. Prepare all your vegetables by chopping your cucumber, tomatoes and radishes into bite-size pieces and roughly chopping your coriander leaves and mint leaves.
  5. In a large bowl, add the cooled couscous, drained chickpeas, and all the vegetables and herbs. Toss well.
  6. Refrigerate for upto 3 days .
  7. Before serving, scatter pomegranate seeds, chopped nuts and a good sprinkle of sumac over the salad (optional).


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Nov 212015

Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Kale Salad


Autumn is all about roasted vegetable salads for me. Most vegetables can be roasted successfully at 200°C/400°F tossed with olive oil and sea salt. You can really grab any vegetable and roast it – carrots, turnips, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, radishes, and the list goes on. The roasting time will depend on a variety of factors including the type of vegetable you use and the size it is cut, and can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour.


Since they are all cooked at the same temperature, you can put several dishes of different vegetables in the oven at the same time so that in one go you have enough roasted vegetables to make several different salads. I find most roasted vegetables last well in the refrigerator for three days. And if you by the end of three days you find that you haven’t used up all your roasted vegetables, simply blend whatever is left over with some hot stock to make a delicious roasted vegetable soup.


Join the conversation: What’s your favourite autumn vegetable to roast?


Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Kale Salad


Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Kale Salad



5 Tbsp EVOO

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt



600g / 21 0z carrots (orange or rainbow coloured), cut into batons

200g / 7 oz red onion

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp EVOO

1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds

1/2 tsp ground or whole cumin seeds

1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust according to taste)

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt


Rest of Salad:

2 cups / 50g / 1.7 oz massaged kale (weight without stalks)

1 tin chickpeas (240g drained weight of chickpeas)

1 cup chopped cilantro/coriander leaves (40g / 1.4 oz with stalks or 20g / 0.4 oz without stalks)

100g / 3.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled



  1. To make the salad dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a jar, shake well and set aside.
  2. To make the carrots: Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Wash and peel your carrots. Cut them into batons, about 3-4 inches long. In an oven-proof dish, toss the carrot batons with the rest of the ingredients listed under carrots (above). Cut a red onion into bite-size wedges and toss with the carrots and spices in the oven-proof dish. Roast in the oven until caramelised, around 20-30 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. To make  the rest of the salad, put 2 cups of washed and chopped kale in a bowl and massage it by squeezing it in your hands for 3-4 minutes until it is slightly wilted. This releases more flavour from the kale and makes it softer to eat raw. Add the chickpeas and chopped cilantro/coriander leaves. Add the dressing and toss well.
  4. Add the roasted carrots and onions to the salad and toss evenly.
  5. Add the crumbled feta and toss lightly.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within 3 days.


Join the conversation: What’s your favourite autumn vegetable to roast?




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Jan 292015


Spicy Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Salad



Salads are evolving. The idea of a salad as a diet food of tasteless leaves seasoned with a low-fat tangy dressing to hide the fact that it is just so boring is starting to be replaced by a completely new concept. Now, salads are seen as nutrient-dense meals packed with a variety of colors, flavors and textures. A salad dressing is no longer a cloak to hide the mediocrity of a salad, but an exciting way to experiment with flavors from different cultures. If you feel like Mediterranean flavors, whip up a lemon and olive oil dressing. Want to make it North African? Add some cinnamon and red chilli. Make it Mexican with cumin, lime and jalapenos. The possibilities are endless.


Despite this trend in salads, friends still tell me that although they love salads they just don’t find them filling enough. And I suspect the reason is because they are not eating salads with enough protein in them. You see, the secret to making a really filling salad which won’t leave you hungry after an hour is to include some form of protein. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it should be there in some capacity.

  • Cheese is an easy and fast one to add – a few shavings of parmesan, some cubes of cheddar or a crumble of salty feta can really take a salad to new heights
  • Beans, tinned or freshly cooked, also work well to make your salad more substantial
  • Good quality animal protein like seafood, chicken or beef works well. Whether you use leftovers or cook it especially for the salad, make sure you go for quality over quantity (you only really need to use 2 steaks or 2 chicken breasts for a chopped salad for 4-6 people so it’s worth buying the best quality you can afford)


My ‘Spicy Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Salad’ doubles up on protein by including both feta cheese and chickpeas. It’s a delicious and filling salad to eat on its own but it also works well as a side salad for roasted lamb.


What’s your favorite quick-fix protein to add into your salad? Leave your comments below.



Spicy Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Salad

(Serves 4 as a side dish)



300g / 10 oz aubergine (eggplant), cut into 2-inch pieces

150g / 5 oz red onion, peeled and cut into wedges (2-inches at the widest part of the wedge)

360g / 12 oz bell peppers (capsicums) – any color, deseeded and cut into 2-inch chunks

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne powder (or more, if you prefer)

1 tsp sea salt

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

90g / 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

4 Tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice



  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Prepare your vegetables for roasting. Cut the aubergines into 2-inch chunks with the skin on. Deseed the bell peppers and cut them into 2-inch chunks. Peel the red onions and cut into wedges (which are 2-inches at the widest part).
  3. In an oven-proof dish, mix 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp red chilli powder. Toss the aubergines, bell peppers and red onions in the oven-proof dish with the oil and spices until evenly coated.
  4. Place the oven-proof dish with the vegetables into the oven and roast for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through for even cooking.
  5. Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, drain and rinse your tinned chickpeas. Set aside.
  7. Wash some mint leaves and roughly chop so that you have 4 Tbsp. Set aside.
  8. Squeeze 2 Tbsp of lemon juice. Set aside
  9. Crumble the feta cheese. Put it in the fridge until ready to use.
  10. Once the vegetables are at room temperature, add the chickpeas, mint leaves, lemon juice and feta cheese. Fold gently until evenly combined.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve for upto 48 hours. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.



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Apr 272013

Channa Chaat (Spicy Chickpea Salad)



Chaat (which means ‘lick‘ in Hindi) lives upto its name. It is a spicy-sweet-sour Pakistani/North Indian salad which makes you want to lick your plate clean. In my family, a birthday tea party is not complete without a bowl of chaat served alongside hot milky tea, birthday cake and some good gossip.


There are many versions of Chaat, which can include any of the following: channa (chickpeas), boiled potatoes, aloo tiki (fried potato cakes), sev (dried chickpea noodles), or papri (crisp fried dough).


Here, I’ve put together a quick and easy version of Channa Chaat which requires no cooking. Instead of buying pre-blended Chaat Masala (which is a combination of several spices), I prefer to use a few spices which I always have in my kitchen: cumin powder, chilli powder and salt. Tamarind paste, which is an integral ingredient in most Chaats, can be bought in most large supermarkets or ethnic grocery stores, and has a good shelf-life in the refrigerator.




(Serves 4-6)



Spicy Tamarind Dressing Ingredients:

2 Tbsp smooth tamarind paste (from a jar)

4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp brown sugar

1/4-1/2 tsp fine table salt

1/4-1/2 tsp hot chilli power (add more or less according to your taste, or omit entirely) (optional)

2 tsp freshly boiled water



Salad Ingredients:

500g cooked chickpeas (either drain 2 tins of chickpeas, or boil 250g dried chickpeas)

8oz / 200g cucumber, quartered and sliced horizontally

8oz / 100g tomatoes, deseeded and diced (roughly the same size as the cucumber pieces, or quartered if using cherry tomatoes)

4 Tbsp / 4oz / 80g red onion, peeled and finely diced

4 Tbsp tightly packed cilantro/coriander leaves, roughly chopped

1-2 sliced green chillies, finely sliced (deseeded if you want less spice, or omit entirely) (optional)




  1. Prepare the Spicy Tamarind Dressing by combining all ingredients together and whisking well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remember that it is better to start with less chilli powder and add more if necessary. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For the chickpeas, lightly rinse and drain good quality tinned chickpeas (you want around 500g after draining out all the liquid). If you prefer to cook your own chickpeas, this can be done by soaking 250g dried chickpeas in room temperature water for 8-24 hours. Discard the saoking water and then boil in fresh water for 30-45 minutes (uncovered). When the chickpeas are tender, drain them and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  3. Chop the cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro/coriander leaves, red onion and green chillies (optional), and toss them together with the room temperature chickpeas.
  4. Add the Spicy Tamarind Dressing and toss well until the salad is evenly coated.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cold. If it is too spicy, mix some plain yogurt with a small amount of cold water to thin it out, and drizzle it over the Channa Chaat.
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