Now I’m not a vegetarian, but I do admire a meatless recipe that has health, color and taste appeal. These summer salads are perfect for cookouts and quick meals. This one with chickpeas and curry replicates chicken salad in texture, if not entirely in taste.
Curried Chickpea Salad
- Two15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
- 2 tsps. finely chopped fresh leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup vegan or standard mayonnaise
- 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Coarsely mash the chickpeas, celery, shallots and parsley together with a potato masher or large fork in a medium bowl. Be careful not to overdo it or the chickpeas will become mushy. Add mayo, vinegar, curry powder, and turmeric and mix well. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. I sometimes add a lemon squeeze and a few yellow raisins. (The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
- Serve as a salad, a dip with chips, or on pita topped with diced, ripe tomatoes and lettuce. (From the Oz Family Kitchen cookbook and slightly adapted by Food52)
Getting Cozy with Couscous
The second recipe, a couscous with colorful dried fruits, sparkles like a bowl of confetti. I preferred to use Israeli couscous in this dish, but I couldn’t get that at the farm. I had to settle for traditional couscous rather than the newer version that’s larger, pearl-shaped, and more distinct in a salad.
Traditional couscous dates from the 9th century, but the Israeli type is relatively new on the gastronomique stage. The pearl-shaped pasta was nicknamed Ben Gurion Rice, because the Israeli prime minister came up with it as a substitute for rice during a shortage in the 50s.
Israeli Couscous: Rice or Pasta?
Both are made with semolina flour, but Israeli couscous is formed into small balls, dried and steamed to give a nutty flavor. Traditional couscous is prepared like rice and absorbs its cooking water. Israeli couscous cooks like pasta and the water drained. (See traditional version in photo above and the ptitim, or Israeli couscous, in dish below.) You can find the Israeli variety in the Kosher section of the grocery.
Both recipes—the Couscous and the Curried Chicken—come together quickly and are not too unlike what you see in the deli section of Whole Foods. These two dishes are headed for my summer recipe arsenal.
Couscous with Pistachios, Apricots and Cranberries
- 2 cups Israeli pearl couscous
- 2 cups dried fruit, such as apricots, cranberries or dried cherries, chopped into bite size pieces
- ¾ cup chopped pistachios
- ¼ cup mint, chopped
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook couscous according to package directions. Fluff couscous and add it to a large bowl with chopped fruit, pistachios and mint.
- In a small jar, add olive oil, shallots, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, and a few pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Shake the dressing well and add more honey, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over couscous mixture and stir to combine.
- The salad can be eaten warm or cold. If cold, allow 1-2 hours up to overnight in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld.