Easy Marinated Chickpeas: Up Your Lunch Game

October 4, 2016 Comments Off on Easy Marinated Chickpeas: Up Your Lunch Game

I love steak. And chicken. And bacon. Did I mention that I love bacon? You’re probably wondering why someone who has very clear carnivorous obsessions tendencies would be posting about chickpeas. You couldn’t get anything further removed from a steak than this humble legume. But these easy marinated chickpeas have even this meat-itarian coming back for seconds!

easy-marinated-chickpeas

 

As much as I’ve tried throughout my “adult” years to convert to a more vegetarian/reduced-meat diet, I’ve never been able to sustain my efforts for long. I’ve tried the all-salad-all-the-time gig but that didn’t work out very well. I was hungry all the time and felt like I was constantly depriving myself. Yuck.  I made it just long enough with the whole salad thing to feel fabulous in my wedding dress. And before that, my then-boyfriend-now-husband was able to convince me (albeit for a very brief period of time) when we first started living together to partake in a “cleanse” diet of kitchari, a dish made of a mixture of rice, beans, and spices. For. Two. Meals. A Day. Every day. For a LONG. TIME. I’m surprised we made it through that phase of our relationship. You’ve probably gathered that all of these attempts at changing my eating habits were made under certain extenuating circumstances… And I’m pretty sure that’s not a great mindset to be in if you’re trying to implement real, lasting change. 

I know that the whole “Meatless Monday” movement has been going on for a while, but aside from the health benefits of adjusting our diets, the environmental impact of eating meat is registering on my radar more and more. Can you blame me if I want my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to live on a planet that doesn’t resemble the world of Mad Max? I’m pretty sure many others feel the same way I do. I’m not swearing off meat, but I’m working harder to do my part and to find better ways as a consumer to put my dollar toward better practices. Think cutting back on the amount of meat and where we buy our meat from. Think local. Think free range. Think grass fed. It’s the least I can do and I’m still learning more about how to do my part.

I think I may have had some misconceptions around salad and vegetarian food which may have impeded my attempts and efforts. At the aforementioned phases in my life, I thought of salad as flavourless diet food that was high in green stuff and low on satisfaction. And the same went for vegetarian food. Of course, times have changed and so have I. While I can’t say with all honesty that I’m ready to become a vegetarian tomorrow (but the charcuterie!!!), I am much more willing (and happier) to go meatless a few days a week than I used to be. My go-to meatless dishes nowadays are packed with flavour so I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all. One of my all-time favourites (aside from these chickpeas) is a soy-marinated tofu that you could grill or bake, served with a daikon oroshi. You have to try it. And don’t skip the daikon oroshi. Trust me, it makes the dish! I think the key for me, when making meatless dishes, is to marinate the protein stand-in as much as possible. This will go a long way towards creating those bold and delicious flavours that will help to convince others like the old me that going meatless once in a while doesn’t mean you have to forego flavour. With the right combinations and dishes, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. I promise.

This easy marinated chickpeas recipe is something that I will make again and again because it can be transformed into so many different dishes. If you’re low on time or don’t want to be making lunches for work from scratch everyday, then this recipe might be right up your alley! This recipe is one of those things that can sit in your fridge over the course of a week and only gets better with time. The longer they sit in the marinade, the more flavour the little beans will soak up.

Before meeting my husband, I don’t think I even really knew what a chickpea looked like, let alone tasted like. Thanks, honey! And even after our initial introduction, I still didn’t feel too inspired by the little bean. Remember the kitchari story? Yeah. But after some experimenting with adding chickpeas to soups and stews, I’ve come to enjoy my friend the chickpea. I usually buy the canned chickpeas from the store because who’s got the time to soak and cook the beans at home? Not this mama! The girl used to, once upon a time. But not the mama. This mama can barely keep her head screwed on right some days. So thank you, canned chickpeas, for being there whenever I need you and at a moment’s notice. I try my best to get the beans without the weird preservatives or too much salt.

Hummus was probably the easiest way for me to (and the littlest monster) to enjoy chickpeas before coming up with this concoction. While I love hummus, I’ve wondered lately if I could enjoy chickpeas in any way other than in a soup/stew or in dip form. And then along came these chickpeas. Think potluck bean salad without all the extra, dodgy, grey bits and the murky pool of “vinaigrette.”

marinated-chickpeas-jar

In those times where it’s been one of those days and you really can’t muster up the wherewithal to make something satisfying and nutritious for yourself (after making food for the kids that they might actually eat, clean up, feed them, clean up again) these marinated chickpeas make for an easy meal that doesn’t feel like you’re just eating to fill the void. You should enjoy what you’re eating, even if it’s a quick bite.

What I especially love about this recipe is that you can customize it however you wish. Once you’ve got the basic recipe down, you can mix and match and switch it up in whatever way you like! And the transformations are endless in terms of how could you serve these chickpeas. Mixed with some chopped cucumbers, avocadoes, and tomatoes, it makes a chunky and hearty salad that’s perfect with some toast or crackers and cheese. You could also warm them up in a pan with some sliced black olives and halved grape tomatoes before tossing it with a short pasta and a good glug of olive oil. You could also stuff these easy marinated chickpeas into a pita with cubed feta, chopped roma tomatoes, and tzatziki. Or you could eat them straight out of the jar while standing at the kitchen counter. I won’t judge you. They’re that tasty.

Easy Marinated Chickpeas

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

juice and zest of 1 large organic lemon

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 handful flat-leaf parsley, washed and chopped finely

1 large clove of garlic, crushed in a garlic press (or minced very finely)

kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large glass bowl, whisk together everything except the chickpeas. Taste and add kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. You may want to season it with a bit more salt and pepper than your instinct initially tells you, since being in the fridge will mute the flavours a bit.

Add the rinsed and drained chickpeas and toss well. Make sure that the chickpeas are evenly coated with the marinade mixture.

Transfer the contents to a non-reactive (non-metallic) container with a tight-sealing lid. Make sure you get every last bit of marinade into the container. I like to use a clean mason jar for jobs like this. Full disclosure: I may have a “small” mason jar addiction.

Seal the container tightly and give it a couple turns to coat the chickpeas once more in the marinade.

I would let these little babies marinate for at least 4 hours before serving, but overnight is best. I would recommend shaking the container (see why I like the mason jar now?) or give the contents a stir if using a plastic tub, every once in a while to help the flavours of the marinade spread evenly throughout the chickpeas.

Serve as a salad, warm pasta, or stuffed in a pita throughout the week.

Other marinade combinations you could try:

  • olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic,  rosemary
  • olive oil, red wine vinegar, finely chopped shallots, and thyme
  • olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, cumin, coriander, cilantro
  • olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped shallots, fresh dill
  • olive oil, white wine vinegar, finely sliced fennel bulb, pink peppercorns
  • olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed garlic, oregano

If you give these easy marinated chickpeas a try or have other flavour combinations to share, leave a comment below or share with us on Instagram by tagging @pepperwsalt in your photos.

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December 21, 2016

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