With the Atlanta summer heating up, I’ve been turning back to cool salads for lunch. While in the winter I seem to crave tropical Latin flavors, I’ve been gravitating toward Mediterranean food for my inspiration lately. Looking through a Whole Foods email newsletter, I came upon a “summer salads” feature. As I browsed the recipes, I took note of a “Tangy Bean Salad” made with chickpeas, carrots, and green onions that looked wonderful. While I like to tinker, the changes I made to this recipe were minimal: since I was making it for myself I used only one can of chickpeas, I doubled the amount of tamari called for (soy sauce is fine, too), and substituted cilantro for parsley, since that’s what I had on-hand. I forgot to reduce the amount of dressing, but that worked out fine, too – I made this last night and by lunchtime today the chickpeas had soaked up most of the dressing.
One of the things that intrigued me about the recipe was that it used tahini in the dressing. What a great addition – I’m going to start trying it out with other dressings and sauces. It made the dressing hang together with a creamy texture. The sesame flavor is terrific, and yet with the other ingredients (and thinned out with some water), the dressing isn’t too rich or heavy.
Out of curiosity I ran the recipe through a nutrition calculator. I ate about half of it for lunch (along with some whole-wheat mini pitas from Trader Joe’s). Not counting the bread (which adds about 100 calories and 4 grams of protein), one serving (one-half) of the salad came to only 250 calories, with 8 grams of fat (most from the tahini) and 14 grams of protein. Healthy, delicious, satisfying, and make-ahead. It has everything I’m looking for in a recipe.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl:
- 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar (preferably unfiltered)
- 2 Tbsp. tamari (soy sauce is fine, too – you can use regular or low-sodium; I used regular tamari in this)
- 1 tsp. spicy mustard
- 1 Tbsp. tahini (I keep a tub in my refrigerator – it keeps for months)
- 3 Tbsp. water
After the dressing ingredients are combined, add to the bowl:
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well and drained (about 1.5 cups)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (I used larger spring onions, so I chopped them)
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro, but the recipe calls for parsley)
Stir to combine. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes – overnight is even better.