Spiced Chickpeas with fresh vegetables

Today's recipe of Spiced Chickpeas with fresh vegetables will highlight the third and final side dish served at Sue's 50th birthday party last week.  As with the other two recipes (Beans with hazelnut and orange and Spinach Salad with Dates),  this was found in Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.  I hope your passport is up to date, because when making this salad the smell of warmed spices will transport you to another region.  

The authors of Jerusalem Cookbook divided this salad onto 4 plates, layering the cold veggies, then warmed chickpeas, and finally topping with Labneh (or Greek yogurt).  Since I made this for 30 people, I tossed the warm spiced chickpeas just prior to serving and had the Labneh available on the side.  

To me, this salad seems to capture the essence of Summer.  It explodes with ripe vegetables that are juicy and sweet, contains the unmistakable bright scent of parsley and cilantro, and the spark of fresh lemon zest and juice.  Can you say "refreshing"?  What could top that?  Well, actually, the Middle Eastern spices like cardamom, allspice, and cumin.  

I hope you are enticed to try Middle Eastern food and make something from Jerusalem: A Cookbook.   I loved learning more about this cuisine and look forward to branching out even more.  

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  

Serves 8-12 (small plates about 1/3 cup each).  Original recipe slightly changed; I used canned vs. dried chickpeas and omitted radishes. 

Ingredients for Spiced Chickpeas with Fresh Vegetables

  • 1 can of chickpeas (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2 small cucumbers, de-seeded and diced 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 large tomatoes (1 pound), diced 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 bell peppers (red or yellow), de-seeded and diced 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, diced 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, rough chop
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 lemon, zested + 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions for Spiced Chickpeas with Fresh Vegetables

  1. In a large strainer, drain and rinse chickpeas.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions.  Add in the cilantro and parsley, mix together.  Keep cool.
  3. In a mason jar or resealable container, mix 5 tbsp of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, garlic, and sugar.  Mix well to form a dressing.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  4. On a plate, mix together cardamom, allspice, cumin, and 1/4 tsp of salt.  Pat dry chickpeas, then in small batches, coat chickpeas in the spice mixture.  
  5. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Lightly fry chickpeas for 2-3 minutes.  Shake pan gently to loosen chickpeas and cook evenly.  Keep warm.
  6. Prior to serving, add dressing to chopped chilled vegetables.  Spoon warm chickpeas over vegetables.  Drizzle with Greek yogurt or Labneh.