I learned to make this salad in the early '80's when I was managing the Beaches location of the Eat Well Gourmet in Toronto. The owner, Josephine Ingrao, was an administrative dietitian who created a successful take-out and catering business featuring healthy, gourmet foods. I learned a lot from her as she was honest in her feedback and inspirational! I got the job by combing the yellow pages for ads I liked and companies I might want to work for. This is a recipe I go back to time and time again.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, have gone mainstream in Canada largely since the spread hummus became popular. I love hummus and often make it with peanut butter instead of tahini as I don't always have the latter around. Here chickpeas are featured in a marinated salad which keeps well in the fridge up to a week.
The local foods used in my salad are fresh carrots, parsley I had frozen last summer and the mint in the vinegar. I don't know if chickpeas are grown in Ontario or not? My understanding is that they are mainly grown in the prairie provinces. Eating vegetarian meals, like this salad, reduces your carbon footprint.
The rest of my ingredients are organic. In my opinion, organic spices taste a lot better than conventional and if they are certified organic they are free of chemical pesticides and residue. I am not an expert in organic food rules but there is opportunity to add non spice ingredients to spices. Recently I heard of flour being added to a chili powder blend creating problems for people needing to follow a gluten free diet. Buying organic spices and other organic foods also allows you to avoid genetically modified crops.
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INGREDIENTS - all homegrown or organic
Makes 10 x 250 ml (1 cup) portions
6 cups (1.5 L) chickpeas, cooked
2 cups (500 ml) carrots, diced
1 cup (250 ml) parsley, fresh, minced
2 Tbsp (30 ml) paprika, sweet
1 Tbsp (150 ml) fennel seed
1/4 cup (60 ml) XV Olive Oil
1 cup (250 ml) herb or good vinegar*
1 tsp (5 ml) black pepper
*Note: the vinegar I used was organic mint and white wine vinegar I had made back in August when the mint was fresh and plentiful in the garden. Mint goes really well with this salad. Other good choices are plain apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar..... something bold! Black olives aren't part of the original recipe but they would go well. The original Eat Well Gourmet recipe used diced canned artichoke hearts as well.
1. Measure the cooked chickpeas into a good size salad bowl that you can store in the fridge. If you are using canned rinse them under cold running water to remove some of the salt. The equivalent is approximately 2-3 of the 598 ml cans drained.
2. Cut carrots into quarters and slice across. Lightly steam carrot chunks.
3. Toss all together and garnish with minced parsley and a good sprinkle of paprika. I used organic paprika and you might have noticed that it is not garrish red. I suspect much of the mainstream paprika has added red dye. This seems like a lot of vinegar but it gets soaked into the beans. Using more vinegar also allows you to cut back on the higher fat and pricey olive oil. You can adjust it to your taste.
The photo below is of some local parsley I bought at the farmer's market. I freeze it in zip-lock freezer bags. Frozen parsley is a snap to slice and you can take what you want and put the rest back in the freezer for another recipe.
Leave salad to marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.