Eating in Season: Chickpea Salad Three Ways
September 15, 2023
By Sherry Mowbray, R.H.N. (sherrymowbray.net)
Almost everyone loves to eat outside in the summer. Am I right? If you’re like me you’d take any chance to enjoy a patio or picnic on a crisp fall day or bright spring day too.
Earlier this year, when my sons and I picked a patio at a local restaurant we may have just pushed the weather limits a little bit. Everything was dripping wet from a spring rain that had just passed. I huddled in under the umbrella in case it started up again and but the boys hardly seemed to notice and we enjoyed a scrummy meal at lighthouse971. I was a little chilly since dressing for the weather tends to be hit or miss for me, but we had a fun time connecting over a meal in one of our first chances to eat outside this year.
Connections are so important throughout our lives. Connections to ourselves and to each other, as well as connections to our cycles, and the cycles around us. A diet that incorporates seasonal choices is a great way to connect with the natural world around us. Nourishing body, mind and spirit for overall healthy balance.
Choosing one favourite recipe and then modifying it to incorporate foods available in each season is an easy way to introduce the ‘how’ part of a seasonal diet. It’s also a great tool to encourage trying new foods and combinations. Choosing new foods to try out in an already favourite recipe lends control and confidence in making dietary choices for those just learning about how foods in season support changing needs from the cleansing and hydration of spring and summer to the nourishing and sustaining foods of fall and winter.
Since it’s always great to have an example I’m including a Chickpea Salad three ways. Which brings me to my most recent patio experience, with a certain chickpea salad.
Just a few days ago I had dinner on a cute raised patio with an overhanging tree and some perfect jazz music, it was so refreshing and such a treat for some time alone with me. The first thing listed on the sidewalk menu was a chickpea salad that sealed the deal and I grabbed a seat.
In my repertoire chickpea salad feels like kind of a fixture although I don’t make it as often as I used to. Thing is, I always included chickpeas whole, and I always used hummus as the base for the dressing that was tossed with whatever combination of vegetables made an appearance.
So this cute patio chickpea salad came on a wide plate with a mound of hummus, at least a cup, topping everything off in the center. I was blown away by having such a large serving of hummus to myself! It seemed deliciously indulgent and had me thinking of endless variations of a chickpea salad and what a great example that could be for seasonal eating. Here I am including fall, winter and spring. That leaves a winter variation up to your creative design!
Note: These are recipe guidelines for one serving, scale up to share!
Spring – ½ cup chickpeas, 2 cups Asparagus (raw, in ribbons), 1 cup strawberries (in big chunks), red or sweet onion (sliced in thin rings), 1-2 cups baby spinach, combine in a bowl and toss with rhubarb vinaigrette topped (recipe follows) top with goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
*Rhubarb vinaigrette – 1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp Dijon, ¼ cup olive oil – simmer rhubarb with syrup, vinegar and water (add water if needed), whisk in mustard and olive oil.
Summer – 2 cups torn Romaine lettuce, 2 cups mixed broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower florets (blanched), toss with fermented hummus dressing, top with ½ cup chickpeas bashed with ½ cup of tuna (moisten with dressing as needed), garnish with toasted sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds.
*If you can plan ahead for fermenting, make a batch of hummus two days prior using some kefir whey (or yogurt or other) for a probiotic boost. Thin with olive oil and lemon juice (and water if needed) to toss with salad.
Fall – Place a soft, warm pita cut into quarters on a wide plate, top with 2-3 cups mixed baby greens tossed in a Dijon and oregano vinaigrette, scatter with 1 cup roasted sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes, spoon 1 cup of lemon hummus into the center and garnish with feta and black olives.