Chickpea Fennel Red Pepper Salad
I know, I know, it's been quite a while. It's been so long since I posted a savory recipe. But this is a dessert blog, and I'm a baker; I haven't created or discovered enough savory recipes to be able to share a new one with you every week.
So I guess just take every non-dessert type recipe that I post as a bonus that probably is only going to occur once every six weeks or so. You've been warned.
But anyway, this salad. This chickpea fennel red pepper salad. It's so simple and so quick and so easy that I almost wasn't going to post it.
But then I figured that the people like simple and quick and easy. And they might not necessarily think of combining these specific vegetables with this specific dressing to be able to come up with a salad such as this one on their own.
So I'm sharing it.
I just hope you like fennel. I'm personally not the biggest fan. Don't get me wrong - I'll eat it. I eat fennel, and I most certainly eat this salad (very frequently and in abundance). But I just find that fennel tastes so minty. Which again, don't get me wrong, is not a flavor I dislike. I like mint - a lot - just not so much in my salads.
But combining the fennel with chickpeas, which have a sort of meaty flavor (I know, meaty? But it was the only adjective I could come up with, and c'mon, it kind of makes sense), along with sweet peppers and a tasty olive oil-cumin dressing and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese balances out that mint flavor of the fennel and makes for an unexpected, yet delicious combination.
So, we mentioned the minty fennel. And the meaty (hehe) chickpeas. And the sweet red peppers. But there's also scallions, which add a nice, sharp kick to the salad.
And then comes my favorite part: cheeeeeeeeese. In life, if the cheese fits, put it in. (That'll be $50 for that lesson.) And boy does the cheese fit in this salad. Ahhhh, Parmesan - salty, flavor-packed, and awesome tossed into this fennel chickpea salad.
Now, the dressing. It's a super simple one. Olive oil with some salt and pepper. And some parsley flakes, for a pretty garnish and nice bit of flavor. I considered using fresh parsley, but I don't really like fresh parsley. And I can't exactly promote a salad that I don't like, right? Right. So dried parsley it was.
And last, but most certainly not least, cumin. Yes, cumin. In a light, fresh vegetable salad. Weird and unexpected, because cumin is usually found in hot, heavy dishes, like stews and chilis. But I love cumin - it tastes like MSG, which tastes amazing.
And I don't see why people don't put it in their salads (and fish and chicken and meat and roasted vegetables and rice and quinoa and every other side dish) more often.
All you gotta do is drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, dice the fennel, dice the pepper, slice the scallions, grate the Parmesan cheese, and whisk together the dressing. Then dump the salad ingredients into a serving bowl, toss them in the dressing, sprinkle some more parsley flakes and Parmesan over the salad, and serve.
Five minutes, and you've got lunch and a dinner salad. And then leftovers for lunch the next day. Because, trust me, this salad definitely doesn't get worse when it sits in that cumin dressing overnight.
chickpea fennel red pepper salad
Yield: medium serving bowl
16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 small bulbs fennel, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
2 stalks scallions, sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional, but highly recommended)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Parsley flakes, to taste
Place salad ingredients into a medium-sized serving bowl.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss.
Top with more parsley flakes and Parmesan cheese if desired.