Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chickpeas and Avocado Salad

We bonded over blogs online, and vicinity brought us together, but it was because of their dispositions that I enjoyed being with them, meeting after meeting. I am referring to a group of immensely talented, strong, independent women, who are also really fun to hang out with, and who I am happy to now call friends.

Food isn't always the focus of our conversations, but it is certainly wonderful to be able to discuss a certain cookbook, or a variation on a grandmother's recipe, or the source for an arcane ingredient.

So when I had them over for a casual lunch, the pressure was on. While on one hand I know they will politely eat anything I offer, I definitely wanted to make something that will win their approval.

As I mentally planned the menu, considering what was abundant in the market then and their dietary restrictions, one thing that I was very eager for them to try was this simple chickpeas and avocado salad. It was inspired by a side dish I ate at a lovely urban restaurant a long time ago. It was an explosion of flavors and textures, and it was one of those things that makes me wonder how something so simple can taste so voluptuous.

I tried to recreate it at home, and loved it as much as I had enjoyed it in the restaurant, and it quickly made its way into my regular repertoire. Of course I didn't have a recipe for it to begin with, so I had to go based on the quick analysis I had done of the main flavors - a bit of onion, lemon-oil vinaigrette, some finely chopped herbs, most likely parsley. The restaurant is firmly focused on seasonal, organic and local produce, and a few first rate ingredients had made all the difference.

The recipe is flexible, so adjust to suit your taste.

Chickpeas and Avocado Salad

Chickpeas and Avocado Salad

Ingredients

1/3 cup of dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 firm ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8th teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
salt to taste
2-3 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro (or parsley)
a bit of bold paprika (optional)

Method

Soak the garbanzo beans for 6-10 hours in plenty of water. Drain the soaking water and cook the beans until tender. (I use about 4 times water by volume, and cook the beans in a pressure cooker with my usual 3 whistle regulation.) Drain the beans completely and let them cool.

To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice and oil till they emulsify. Add the salt, chili powder, and whisk some more. Add the cilantro.

Chop the avocado into small bite size pieces.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the chickpeas, avocado, onion, and the dressing. Sprinkle a bit of paprika on top.


Here is an amped up version with mangoes and bell peppers.

15 comments:

Supriya said...

That's a simple and yummy recipe!

प्रिया said...

Give me avocado anyday, with anything :) I have been planning to make this salad since I saw it on Mints' blog but never got to making it. Since it's too late for mangoes, your version sounds more do-able now.

On a side note, I made avocado-spinach parathas today... yum, yum and a great way to eat avocadoes, try it sometime :)

TheCooker said...

Telepathy I tell ya.
I was looking for an addition to our Tksgiving meal.

What is the do-aheadibility quotient?

Cristy said...

great recipe and kudos to you for soaking your beans! i love that the avocado is cut up to match the size of the chickpeas. you're my pick for blogger of the week on the Avocados from Mexico website, check it out: www.avocadofiesta.com

just click on blogger of the week and that's you 'til next Monday!

evolvingtastes said...

Supriya, it is indeed. Thanks, and hello!

प्रिया, I have made avocado parathas before, and adding spinach is a great idea. Will _have_ to try it sometime!

tc, "do-aheadability" is not bad. The chickpeas and dressing can be definitely made ahead. Only the avocadoes should be diced as close to serving as possible because of oxidation (about an hour ahead is ok) and should be coated with sufficient lemon juice.

Cristy, thanks a lot for letting me know! That is wonderful. You are spot on about the avocado being cut to match the size of the chickpeas. Looks good and easier to eat too.

Mints! said...

This is a lovely combo for sure. Thanks for the linky love ;)

DEESHA said...

never thought of combining chickpeas with avocado. Great salad

evolvingtastes said...

Mints, glad you enjoy it too. And you're welcome!

DEESHA, it is a surprisingly wonderful combination, better than the sum of the parts.

A_and_N said...

I don't do anything but guac with avocado! This is a good change from the usual.

And welcome back :)

PJ said...

what a nice idea to mix avocados with chickpeas.. I made a similar chickpea salad with same ingredients but adding tomatoes and basil. Got to try avocados in this salad soon :)

evolvingtastes said...

A_and_N, hello! If you like avocado, and chickpeas, try this. MUCH better than the sum of the parts.

PJ, welcome here. Your salad sounds great too.

Usha said...

Loved the idea of chickpeas and avocado together, the salad looks very inviting :-)

evolvingtastes said...

Usha, thanks, and welcome here!

Claire said...

That's an interesting combination of ingredients, and looks really tasty. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Melissa said...

I've been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here: http://www.foodista.com/blogbook/submit

Cheers,
Melissa

melissa@foodista.com
Editor and Community Developer
Foodista.com -- The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

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