It has been quite the steamy summer here in Japan, with record high temperatures in the southern regions. Hot and humid is nothing new for August and neither are low appetites in this sultry season. Which is why salads are wonderful to have at dinner since they are refreshing and nutritious. One of my favorites, is a chickpea and carrot combination with a cumin flavored vinaigrette. I like to add parsley, but didn't have any in the house at the time. But no matter, it was still good. The other nice thing about this salad is that it can be tossed together and dressed well in advance and kept in the refrigerator for hours before its debut on the dining table. Cool!
1 small carrot, julienned or grated
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
1 bay leaf
For the lemon cumin vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Zest of about 1/2 lemon
Juice of about 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or black)
Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
If using dried chickpeas, you will need to soak them overnight in water. The next day, drain the soaked chickpeas and add them to a large pot. Add in a bay leaf. Fill the pot with about double the amount of water as chickpeas and bring to a boil. Skim off any skum and then lower the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Save the chickpea water for soup stock or to make creamy hummus if you have extra cooked chickpeas leftover.
In a large bowl, toss together the chickpeas and carrots and set aside.
To make the lemon cumin vinaigrette, combine all the dressing ingredients in a covered container and shake to emulsify. Or just whisk everything together until fully combined and thickened. Pour over the chickpeas and carrots and toss to coat evenly. Chill until ready to serve.
Makes about 4 servings. Sprinkle chopped flat leaf parsley just before serving, if desired.