Le Cracker Lunch: Chickpea Salad

Maybe I'm late to the game but for the past few months, my favorite summer lunch has involved  chickpeas. No sooner had I whipped up and fallen in love with this tasty concoction of curried chickpea salad than I noticed it on the blogs and websites of every foodie I follow. Oh well, better late than never.

If you're watching your meat consumption or just craving something as satisfying as it is healthy, legumes like chickpeas might be the answer. Hummus is always a great choice. My past obsession with achieving a super smooth and creamy hummus inspired me to seek out the ideal brand of canned chickpeas (Goya, apparently), attempt peeling them (ugh!), cook my own (inexpensive but involves too much planning, is rather time consuming and not as creamy). But this smashed chickpea salad has me returning full circle to the chunkier side of things.

The texture comes from mashing about half of the chickpeas with a fork, leaving a few whole. This version is flavored it up with sweet curry powder, (my favorite is from Penzey's), fresh cilantro, cashews and a handful of currants. But it could go any number of other directions with whatever spices and fresh herbs you have on hand. Dill and tarragon, would be nice choices. Instead of currants you could go with a handful of sliced grapes and chopped walnuts for an oh-so-eighties Waldorf Salad version. Or just substitute the chickpeas for you favorite chicken salad recipe and there you go. The variations are truly endless.

Of course, chickpea salad tastes great on a Le Cracker. You can also serve it up as a dip with veggies, on top of a few salad greens, or on a sandwich. It's also perfect, fork in hand, eaten straight from the mixing bowl.

Curried Chickpea Salad

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2-3 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
2 T mayonaise, plain yogurt or combination of both
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 t sweet curry powder (or to taste)
a handful of cashews
a handful of currants
lemon juice to taste
salt to taste

Add chickpeas to a medium-sized mixing bowl and smash about half the chickpeas with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. That's it!