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Friday, June 28, 2013

Spicy Chick Pea Salad

A healthy dish of legumes makes a dinner appearance at least once a week and since Lentil and Bean soup have already been on the menu in the past couple of weeks, it’s time to give chick peas a turn. 

The fact that they are a great source of protein, quite versatile and tasty, makes me seriously consider becoming vegetarian.

At my mother’s table chick peas were always served as a main course mixed with rice or some form of short pasta then drizzled with a good quality, extra virgin, olive oil.  One thing was sure however, they were always cooked from scratch and never came from a can.

After such a hearty dish and the fact that the protein intake for the day had been accounted for, a fresh, crisp salad was all that was needed to complete the meal.  Even without all the “healthy food” information available today we instinctively ate very well!

I am somewhat still following in her footsteps, no canned chick peas in my house.  A large pot of dry chickpeas soaking in water can be found on my kitchen counter the night before cooking them. This is a good time to have a pressure cooker on hand as the cooking time reduces considerably and a tender, uniform texture is most often the result.

This week I prepared chick peas and pasta for dinner just as my mother taught me.  However, feeling  a little adventurous I used some leftover chick peas to make a  salad for lunch the following day, something my mother had never made for us.

Among the recipe choices I came across, this one added the least ingredients leaving the chick peas as the main attraction.  Good simple choice to start, perhaps I will add a few more ingredients suggested in other recipes to my next salad.

I’m going to run this recipe by my mother sometime soon…her reaction will, to say the least, be unpredictable!

Spicy Chick Pea Salad

I’m posting the recipe in its original form using canned chick peas which work very well if you don’t have any prepared from scratch.

one 19 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained well
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic finely minced or pressed through garlic press
fresh lemon juice to taste
crushed dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  1. In a bowl stir together chick peas, oil, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley.
  2. Add salt, to taste.
  3. Chill salad, covered for about 30 minutes.
Cooking Your Own Chick Peas
  1. Soak chick peas overnight in a large pot filled with cold water.
  2. Drain water and refill with cold, fresh water covering chick peas by 3 to 4 inches.
  3. Add 2 to 3 bay leaves, 2 stalks of celery, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic and salt to taste.
  4. If using pressure cooker, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for about 45 minutes.
  5. If cooking in a regular pot, bring up to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender. (this method may take double the time that it takes to cook them in the pressure cooker.)
  6. To use as a main, cook some rice or short pasta like tiny shells or snap linguini into 1 inch pieces and mix in, drizzle with good quality olive oil. 


Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • If you are preparing the chick peas from scratch the longer soaked in water the shorter the cooking time will be.  Overnight is best.
  • Cook the entire bag of chick peas and eat for many times.  Place the extra amount in serving size portions and freeze.  They will certainly come in handy on those days when deciding what to make for dinner eludes you!


  1. Thanks Domenica...I love chick peas, although I confess that I buy them in cans. I tried your recipe and I like the spicy bite of the red pepper flakes. I normally add finely chopped red peppers and red onions (and olive oil) to the chick peas.

    I even add chick peas to green or yellow pea soup because they stand out prominently and I like the firm texture.

    1. Hello Paul,
      Thanks for commenting.
      Peppers and sweet onion will be added to my next chick pea salad. Sounds very yummy and I will continue to add the red pepper flakes as I also enjoy that spicy bite.

      And here's to chick peas in a can...easily available and ready in a pinch for a delicious salad!