Today I’ve made a quick, versatile and tasty vegetarian carrot and chickpea salad that you can easily play around with and add your own ingredients if you want to experiment. Made with carrots, chickpeas, red onion and parsley, it’s a simple base that gets flavoured up with sumac, yoghurt, lemon juice and tahini so that there’s no chance of your taste buds left wanting. It makes a great side dish or just fill your bowl and have it as a main course!
The Holy Grail of Lunches.
I’ve done it! Finally I’ve devised the holy grail of lunches. I’ve created a salad that’s ridiculously easy to make, filling, healthy and tastes amazing.
There are some things you might not know about me. Such as I work from home, desperately trying to carve a new niche career out of whatever I can do. I spend every day of my ‘working life’, a term which defines somewhere between 5 and 7 days a week currently, at my desk in my flat (or occasionally out, teaching at Blogger Skills Academy). I sit here and battle with all sorts of things, first and most tricky of which is my own mind.
It has an awful habit of not wanting to do the things that need to be done. It has a propensity to drift into things that don’t really need to be done, such as looking for a new frying pan, putting forwards an incredibly convincing argument for doing so in the process. Meanwhile my lists of paid and personal work such as this blog sit weeping into their coffee, slowly developing rejection issues due to the lack of attention they’re receiving compared to a frying pan which I’m not even going to buy.
A Fast Salad for a Fast Lunch.
The point of this shaggy dog story is that I have the luxury of making lunch at home in my own kitchen, having full access my cupboards of, err, stuff. I share my lunch break with Bernard the poodle, because despite his protests I feel that he should always have a canter around the neighbourhood at lunchtime. The poor thing looks at me with borderline distain, then averts his gaze when I pick up his lead at lunchtime, I’ve never understood why he dislikes lunchtime walks so much, he’s more than happy to indulge morning and evening. Maybe he can’t understand the point of it, after all, there’s little reason for it.
Hence my lunch hour (yes, I try and do it all in an hour) involves making lunch for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days, eating it then walking the dog. The demand for easy lunches has extended back to the dawn of time, from the first time someone ever did something for money and realised that making lunch was a prerequisite that got in the way of making more money, or in the case of packed lunches, got in the way of relaxing.
Put Your own Twist on it.
This carrot and chickpea salad is incredibly easy to whip up, especially if you take a few shortcuts along the way. Yes, I’m suggesting that you look at the recipe below, my own loving work and then disregard it slightly. The principles here are carrot, parsley, red onion, chickpea, yoghurt, sumac. The details beyond that are culinary semantics, it’s all about how you interpret it. There’s no need to roast the chickpeas, but it’s an extra twirl of colour and texture that you can perform. A food processor makes short work of the carrots when I make a few day’s worth, as long as I’ve balanced the time and stress of cleaning the bloody thing afterwards with the time saved grating. I don’t bother peeling the carrots either, as long as they’re clean, there’s no harm.
The result is a colourful plateful of carrot and chickpea salad with some lovely flavours. I’ve topped it with a few different options, from poached eggs to feta cheese. It would probably love a handful of walnuts, some chopped dried apricots or goji berries sprinkled on top. I bet a tin of tuna would stir through nicely. Caraway seeds might even work, heated in a little oil and then tossed through the grated carrots. It’s my little gift to you, make the basic salad then add whatever you desire. Enjoy.
Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Sumac Yoghurt
By Gavin Wren
Uses a grater
600g carrots, washed and grated
400g tin chickpeas
0.5 tablespoons olive oil
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Half a red onion, finely chopped
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon tahini
0.5 lemon, juice only
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water (if needed to loosen the dressing)
Salt and pepper to season
1 poached or boiled egg
50g crumbled feta
Meanwhile, grate the carrots into a large bowl. Add the red onion and parsley (I opt for generous amounts of parsley). Add the chickpeas once cooked.
In a bowl, mix all of the dressing ingredients, adding a little water if it’s too thick. It should be just pourable, like thick cream.
Add any other ingredients such as feta, egg, tuna, dried apricots or goji berries to the salad and serve with the dressing drizzled over the top.