Garlicky Chickpea and Arugula Salad

Rob is out of town for the week, back in Massachusetts visiting his mom for her birthday (happy birthday, Moe!), which means it’s just me and the pets. Which means lots of funny little meals made up of things I just feel like eating, okay? And chickpea salads. Because I’m crazy about chickpeas and Rob is not.

So my solo week started with soaking a cup of dry chickpeas overnight and cooking them in the slow-cooker for a few hours. (WOOO! PARTY!) In the end they were soft but not mushy and ready to soak up a garlicky lemon vinaigrette.

This week I also joined a super-local CSA, Silver Lake Farms, so I mixed the chickpeas with a few handfuls of arugula leaves from my box, but this salad actually works with any type of green, cooked or uncooked. I’ve made it with spinach, kale, chard and even purple mustard leaves.

The original recipe was published a couple years ago in the excellent Recipes for Health column in The New York Times. I made it after a marathon baking session I did for a friend, and after a weekend of tasting cookies, brownies and caramel corn, it was just what I needed: nourishing, garlicky and bright with lemon and herbs.

The important takeaway from that first time making it was that chickpeas were made for a garlicky lemon vinaigrette. From there, you’re free to go in any direction you like, mixing it with whatever herbs and cheese you like. Or don’t use cheese and make it vegan. It’s your solo chickpea party*, go crazy!

* You don’t actually have to eat this alone; it makes at least two servings. But I actually preferred eating it as a dinner for one because there was enough left over to eat the next day over brown rice with a fried egg on top. (WOOO! TWO-DAY PARTY!)


Garlicky Chickpea and Arugula Salad

Yield: 2 large servings

{ Ingredients }

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mint
1/4 cup parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2 large handfuls arugula
2 tablespoons feta cheese (optional)

{ Directions }

Place the lemon juice, garlic clove and salt in the bowl of a mini food processor or chopper. Pulse a few times to combine and dissolve the salt. Add the mint and parsley. While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue processing until the herbs and garlic are finely minced and the dressing is thoroughly combined.

(If you don't have a mini food processor or chopper, finely mince the garlic and herbs. Combine them with the lemon juice and salt in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil.)

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and stir, coating the chickpeas evenly. Add the arugula and a few grinds of fresh pepper and mix thoroughly. Crumble the optional feta on top before serving.

Additional Notes:
• Almost any green leafy vegetable can be used in place of the arugula. Tough or bitter greens can be steamed, blanched or sauteed before being mixed in.

• This salad is good warm or cold, and tastes even better the next day, after the chickpeas have had time to soak up the dressing.

Inspired by The New York Times