Simple curried chickpea salad might be inspired by our favorite no tuna salad, but it has its own unique flavor and place among our favorite recipes. Versatile chickpeas, the star of the bowl, get a boost with a few everyday ingredients, Indian spices, lemon juice, mustard and a dash of maple syrup, leaving you with only one major decision – straight out-of-the bowl, wrap, pita or sandwich? We’ll leave that part up to you.
Curried chickpea salad basics
I’m a huge advocate for simple recipes that use familiar ingredients, but when it comes to Indian dishes, it occurs to me that it might seem exotic to have garam masala or turmeric in the cupboard. If this describes your cupboard, now might be the perfect time to add to your spice collection. And if you love Indian food or your hankering to try some new recipes, both are great to have on hand.
What is garam masala?
Garam masala is an aromatic spice blend that is a staple in Indian cooking. For the sake of convenience, I usually buy garam masala off the shelf. Because we have several brands readily available and we use it toward the frequent, it makes sense in my case to just buy it.
There are differences in the number of spices and quantities used, so if you decided to buy it, don’t give up if the first one isn’t quite to your taste. I also had what I consider an unpleasant experience of a rather expensive brand having whole spices such as coriander seeds in it. I found this to be unpleasant (and I’m being nice about it). Sometimes it seems, you don’t get what you pay for.
DIY garam masala
In a pinch, I often whip up my own using ground spices, so you always have that option. Here’s my quick garam masala blend:
- 1 Tbsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 2 tsp. cardamom
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. cloves
- ½ tsp. cayenne
Is garam masala the same as curry powder?
Nope. Curry powder is also a spice blend with one key ingredient being turmeric, and although we associate curry powder with Indian cuisine, in reality, the term isn’t actually recognized in authentic Indian recipes. According to spicography, curry powder is actually a British invention.(). I suppose this makes sense given the amount of curry made and eaten there.
Both garam masala and curry powder blends will vary considerably depending on the regional approaches they take. As with any dry spice, the potency also depends on shelf life. So if you happen to have all the ingredients to make your own garam masala, go for it. You’ll only need ¼ teaspoon for curried chickpea salad, so just store your leftover spices in a sealed (and labeled) container. Or better yet, whip up quick red lentil curry to serve up later over rice noodles.
Chickpeas – appealing
It isn’t a secret that we love chickpeas in our house. We always have them on hand – in cans, dried and flour. Give me some chickpeas and I’ll get a meal on. And although I am not exclusive to my favorite legume and love the kidney beans, black beans and even the peanuts that share their family, I admittedly a bit reliant on chickpeas, or garbanzo beans (their Spanish name).
Beyond the fact that they taste terrific (and who hasn’t tasted a few out of the coliander?), chickpeas are wonderfully versatile. Saute them with spices and they will take on a firm, crunchy quality, blend them with tahini, garlic and lemon juice and make hummus in a flash or add those nuggets to vegetable curry and enjoy to your fullest extent.
If I’m making a chickpea salad, like not tuna or curried and there’s a possibility I’ll be using it for sandwiches or wraps, I always take a potato masher so I can break up the chickpeas without completely pulverizing them as I might do for hummus. Not only does mashing chickpeas allow them to bind other ingredients for fillings for things like chickpea cutlets, but it also creates more distribution of spices and other flavorings.
To peel or not to peel
When you use a masher to break up chickpeas or even when you boil them, some of the chickpea skins will come off. I am by no means going to join the debate about peeling chickpeas. I’ve read the arguments on both sides and I’m not in the market these days for sides. What I will say on the subject is that there is no requirement to peel chickpeas. And as my husband just reminded me, we’ve never seen peeled chickpeas on any store shelf.
Chickpea skins have the nutritional benefit of fiber. And I think we can all agree that this is a good thing. I’ve never experienced a distinctive taste from the skins and they honestly don’t annoy me. And I’ll be honest, I am never looking for extra work, so I don’t peel. However, if it’s something you want to do, you get no argument from me.
More than a pretty dish
There are just three of us living in our flat and given that kitty has her own private cuisine, two of us plan on eating the same main dish at least twice in any given week. And I’m happy to confess that I love having something made up in the fridge that takes no time at all to get on the table. But variety is also a good thing, so I’ll digress back to versatility for a moment with regards to chickpea salad. It makes a mean sandwich and a perfect filler for pita bread, but it’s also wonderful on a plate with yes, baked chips, a simple salad or alongside baked veggie balls.
Make it a sandwich or salad, buy garam masala or make it, peel chickpeas or not. Seems there’s always decisions to be made. These aren’t the biggest decisions you’ll ever need to make and if you stick to your core principles, like ‘eat more plants’, these little decisions sort themselves out and become tiny, forgettable glitches. Peace.Print
Curried chickpea salad – versatile chickpeas get a boost with onions, celery, red pepper, Indian spices, lemon juice, mustard and a dash of maple syrup.
- 2 – 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3 cups)
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- ¼ tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 T prepared mustard
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 medium red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 stalk diced celery, diced small
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- Add the chickpeas to a medium bowl and using a potato masher or large fork, mash the chickpeas. You can leave a few whole if desired.
- Add the curry powder, garam masala, turmeric and cayenne pepper and toss the spices with the chickpeas.
- Next add the mustard, lemon juice and maple syrup and mix well.
- Add the onions, celery and red pepper and mix.
- Taste and adjust the spices, mustard, lemon juice or maple syrup.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- Nutritional information is for the salad, no bread or wraps are included.
- If you want a creamier spread, mash the chickpeas until they are completely broken down. If you use a food processor, only spin it a few times and avoid pureeing them.
- Add ¼ cup of chopped cilantro if desired.
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: curried chickpea salad