Chickpea, Carrot and Parsley Salad

chickpea salad photo 300x225You know how when you’re cooking something, you start to get a gut feeling about whether it’s going to be any good or not, even without having tasted any of it?  This sixth sense is remarkably accurate; usually when I tell Erin “I don’t have high hopes for this one,” it does indeed pretty much suck.  I think this sense uses lots of small clues that we don’t consciously think about, like the source of the recipe, the way the recipe is written, and of course, the ingredients and how they look and smell in the dish.

Well this is one time when the sense betrayed me.  As I was making this salad, lots of factors started to pile up to make me think it would be just another bland, boring salad.  The name of this recipe doesn’t sound overly exciting.  Uncooked chickpeas just don’t sound appealing to me, as much as I like them cooked.  The dressing is nothing but oil, lemon juice, and coriander.  And what kind of salad doesn’t have any leafy greens in it except parsley?

When I told Erin as I set this dish on the table that I didn’t think it would be any good, she reminded me that Fine Cooking recipes are always good (here’s the recipe, by the way).  My sixth sense had overlooked the source, probably because I was using a printed-out recipe rather than the magazine!  After one bite, it was clear that this salad was a keeper.  The dressing was bright and fresh, and the toasted pine nuts and feta just brought everything together in glorious summery harmony.  My other fear, that the salad wouldn’t be filling at all, was completely off base as well.  Half the chickpeas are mashed up and mixed with the vegetables, giving the salad some serious oomph (and protein) in a small package.

Perhaps best of all, this thing was SIMPLE to make.  Chop a few vegetables, toast the pine nuts, mash some chickpeas, whisk the dressing, and you’re done.  Twenty minutes, max.

We had the salad with some grilled honey wheat bread from the farmers market.  The recipe suggests toasted pita; that would have been good as well.  My only problem with this recipe is the amount that it yielded.  It claims to serve “four to six as a vegetarian main dish,” but we got only three moderate-sized portions from it.  And of course, being the wonderful husband I am, I gave Erin the third to take for lunch today.  Grape Nuts for lunch, anyone?  If you’re going to make this one, definitely consider doubling it.

Has your sixth cooking sense ever betrayed you?

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I’m feeling great after yesterday’s 13-miler, considering that I didn’t feel so good during the run because of not bringing water.  I’m not sore anywhere, not even in my quads or calves.  I really can’t help thinking that Boston is going to happen this year!  Of course, I think that every year… Injury is still my biggest fear, but more and more I’m beginning to think that my body will hold up through this training and I’ll be able to go low at Wineglass.  Less than 15 weeks left!

Today is an easy run and foam rolling day.  And with any luck, I’ll find some lemongrass at the store and be able to make a Thai soup I’ve been craving ever since I tasted it in a restaurant a few weeks back.  Look for that one tomorrow!

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Comments

  1. I’m always so impressed with the meals you guys eat, and this one looks fabulous as well. :D Love all the flavor combos going on in there…yum!
    .-= Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)´s last blog ..Goin’ Green? =-.

  2. Hi,

    I just found your site, and I love it! I’m a marathoner as well, and I’m vegetarian-almost-vegan (thus the blog). You’re right in line with a lot of my philosophies, and your writing is impeccable as well; props to you for that. Mind if I add you to my blogroll? :]

    • Hi Amber, I’d love it if you added me to your blogroll! Your blog is great, I love the step by step photos. I’m much too lazy to do all that :) Definitely very similar food philosophies. I’ll add you to my blogroll as well.

  3. I love chickpea salads. This looks great!

    I live in Portugal, currently, and a very common chickpea dish I’ll share consists of:

    can of chickpeas, drained
    chopped parsley
    chopped onion
    sliced hard boiled egg
    salt and pepper to taste
    white wine vinegar and olive oil drizzled over to taste
    shredded fish (cod or tuna – but, obviously, you’d leave that out).
    I often added in diced cucumber

    This is a very common dish at restaurants, gatherings, etc and it’s so healthy!

    • Thanks for the recipe Natalie! That somehow sounds very European, like what I ate in Spain when I used to go there for school exchange programs. So maybe it sounds Iberian :)

  4. That is a yummy little salad you threw together. My favorite dishes are ususally the ones I just make up on the fly with leftover fridge ingredients….they always end up tasting the best! Congrats on the loooooonnnnggg run. I’m impressed ;)

  5. It sounds good to me! A great summer salad on a hot and humid day.

  6. I love chickpeas. I eat them raw every day :D
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Life Lessons: The motivation to run begins with a smile =-.

  7. I found dry lemongrass at Superfresh and also in bulk at David’s Natural Market. I also got it canned once, which was weird, at Giant. My old roommate used to get it frozen from the Asian H mart.

  8. That looks delicious! (I’m sure I say that every day…) I haven’t had any kitchen disasters lately, but have been pleasantly surprised by a few new recipes. I just love trying new things!
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..I’ll Show You! =-.

  9. Hey — Foam rolling…I’ve heard about this but am skeptical. How do you truly feel about it?
    .-= Annabel´s last blog ..You Look Funny…But I Like You =-.

  10. the salad looks delish – do you have a chart of what runs you do every week?
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Carbonation City =-.

    • I don’t have a chart on my blog, but I do log them all at DailyMile.com (where the “Last Run” widget is from). You should join and be my 4th friend on there! Do you have a chart on your blog?

  11. i LOVE being overwhelmed by a dish that you don’t have high expectations for :) so much fun!

    great run, too!

    i haven’t made my own pasta yet (except for pierogis), but it’s on my list of things to do!!

  12. That salad looks sooooo good! I love pine nuts, toasted, raw, yummmmmmm. I will have to try this, fo sho! And yeah, my gut feeling has let me down a few times too. That’s why it is so important to be willing to try new things! That’s also why I enjoy reading your blog, I feel like you are constantly trying new things and exploring your limits and boundaries…awesomeness.

  13. I can’t stop reading your blog! I love it. I’ve been vegetarian and eating only whole foods (no ‘meat analogs’ for me!) for over a year, and am currently training for my 3rd marathon and 4th triathlon. I used to get frustrated when uninformed people would tell me it’s ‘dangerous’ to be an endurance athlete and be vegetarian. If I have to hear another person warn me about not getting enough protein, I may have to throttle them! I believe if you’re smart about it, vegetarianism offers an advantage to an athlete. Just look at Scott Jurek (ultramarathoner) or Brendan Frazier (pro-triathlete), both vegan, to name a few. It’s great to find other like-minded people like you and Erin… sometimes I feel like I’m all alone in my lifestyle! Thank you! BTW, are you selling your t-shirt?

    • Hey Clare, great to meet another vegetarian endurance junkie. 4 triathlons is awesome! One day…
      I think you’re definitely right about the advantages if you do it right; I’ve noticed tremendous improvements in only 3 months! I hate that protein talk too; I really think the beef and dairy lobbyists have helped to brainwash us. The Brendan Brazier stuff is interesting, I’m waiting for his book to come in the mail along with some of his smoothies to review on the blog. It’s funny that almost all the well-known vegetarian athletes are actually vegan! As for shirts, I’m in the process of getting some made to sell at or near cost just to get my blog name out there. The problem is that I need a small batch (like you said, there aren’t too many of us veggie athletes) and that makes it expensive, so I’m still working on getting the cost down.

      • I’m toying w/ being vegan, but life without ice cream or real cheese seems tough. All of the substitutes seem like extremely processed soy-based frankenfood. Really, how much soy do you want in your diet? The real thing seems healthier. However, I did make the vegan eggplant spinach lasagne…it was great! (Difficult as it was, I overcame the temptation to throw sliced mozzarella on it!) Brendan Frazier is great because he gives healthy alternatives for sports drinks and gels. Good luck w. the t-shirts!

  14. I swapped the cheese for some avocado, tasted great!

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