I love vegan food.
Aside from my mildly-endearing-bordering-on-unhealthy dependence on cheese I could totally do the vegan thing, especially since I really started paying attention to making my diet as nutrient-dense and sustainably sourced as possible because eating a largely plant based diet = nutrients (I know, I'm as shocked as you are).
And for me, the easiest way of bamming a whole heap of nutrition into my day is in the form of a salad. Not your run of the mill, iceberg lettuce based snoozefest, but a salad that actually looks, smells and tastes amazing - enough to make me excited about eating it (which, let's face it, doesn't happen too often when salad is involved).
It's a twist on your classic middle eastern staple - tabbouleh. With its zingy lemon juice and olive oil dressing and explosion of flavour from fresh mint and parsley it's easy to see why tabbouleh is a much loved salad around the world. While it normally has cracked wheat here I've replaced wheat with chickpeas. And not just any chickpeas - spice-roasted chickpeas. I think the textural element of crunchy chickpeas is a really nice addition to what is already a pretty rockin salad, even better that each pea is coated in a mixture of cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper.
Chickpeas, known internationally as garbanzo beans, are a great source of high quality protein boasting 15g per 1 cup of cooked beans. They are also rich in soluble fibre (12.5g per 1 cup) for digestive health and blood sugar regulation, manganese for energy production and folate for healthy cell development.
Replacing the cracked wheat with chickpeas makes it gluten free and puts tabbouleh back on the menu for coeliac sufferers; it also keeps well in the fridge for a few days and is delicious served on it's own or with roast chicken for the dedicated carnivores out there ( *cough* my husband..). It's a salad that might just win friends after all.
Roasted Chickpea Tabbouleh
400g can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 continental cucumber
3 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 medium red onion
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 bunch of fresh mint
Juice of 1 small lemon
Olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly cracked pepper
1) Dry the chickpeas well using absorbent paper. Leave uncovered on the bench top for a few hours for the best results.
2) Preheat oven to 200 C.
3) Combine the chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Leave to cool.
4) Finely dice cucumber, tomatoes and onion and chop the parsley and mint.
5) Combine the cooled chickpeas with the other salad ingredients. Pour over the lemon juice, any remaining oil from the roasted chickpeas and extra olive oil as needed.
6) Season generously with cracked pepper and serve.
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