Summer is here, bring on the salads! Lately, my go-to lunch during the work week has been something I’ve cooked on the weekend on top of a bed of greens. Having a bunch of fresh greens on hand helps stretch my meals and although I admit the combinations can get pretty weird and random, I never get sick of eating salads. I remember when my sister and I were kids we would beg my mom to buy salad dressing at the store. Buying a $4 bottle of vegetable oil, vinegar, thickeners and preservatives wasn’t her thing so she usually made her own. At the time I didn’t appreciate it, but now I can’t remember the last time I bought salad dressing from the store. It’s so easy, fresh and fun to make your own and and you can easily customize and complement your dressing to your dish. Plus, it just tastes amazing!
I got this salad idea from one of my random lunches. I had one little store-bought, vegetarian samosa on top of a big pile of greens. I wanted more samosa flavor (without the fried pocket part) and a cilantro dressing to top it all off. I’m a big cilantro fan, I could eat it as a salad by itself! This salad is so packed with flavor you won’t even notice it’s vegan. The chickpeas are seasoned and baked for a crispy crunch. If you haven’t tried baked chickpeas yet, you should! They are easy to make and fun to eat. The carrots and potatoes are tossed in curry, then roasted – they’re so sweet and flavorful this time of year. Oh and I could go on and on about this lemony-garlic-curry-cilantro-with-a-touch-of-mint-dressing, but that’s me, the cilantro lover talking.
The greens and herbs are from our community garden. Pulling all those weeds is finally paying off with some healthy green. And speaking of freshly picked green, on my drive home from work this week I heard an interesting segment on npr – how circadian rhythms give vegetables a healthy boost. They talked about how the cancer-fighting compounds found in vegetables are at their peak after a day of sunlight and although these compounds start to diminish in transport from farm to shelf they start to build up again with a natural light-dark cycle, it could change the way we harvest and store our vegetables – interesting stuff! Now on to this tasty dish!
Dry chickpeas well, toss with oil and seasonings and bake for about 15 min on 400°.
Toss the carrots in your favorite high heat oil and seasonings and roast for about 15 min on 400.
These little fingerling potatoes are so sweet and good!
Combine the ingredients for the dressing and blend!
Ingredients for the Salad
1 cup of fresh peas
1 bunch of carrots (about 7)
1 pound of fingerling potatoes
Ingredients for the Crispy Chickpeas
1 cup or can of chickpeas
1 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)
salt and pepper generously
high heat oil to coat
Ingredients for the Dressing
1 bunch of cilantro (see pictured)
3 garlic cloves
2 oregano cuttings (see pictured)
2 to 3 mint leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil (or you favorite salad dressing oil)
juice of a whole lemon
1 teaspoon curry
2 pinches cumin seeds
salt and pepper generously, pepper flakes if you like it spicy
Start by rinsing and drying the chickpeas. After they are dry toss with your favorite high heat oil and spices and roast on 400 near the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy. Toss the carrots and potatoes in a little bit of your favorite high heat oil and a dash of curry, salt and pepper and roast along with the chickpeas near the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes. While everything is roasting, make the dressing. Combine ingredients and blend!
Combine salad ingredients: lettuce, peas (if using fresh peas, quickly blanch until bright green in color, then rinse with cold water) and shallots, top with crunchy chickpeas and roasted carrots and potatoes. Top everything with the dressing.
Photography by Paige Alisa