May is birthday month. In my small surviving family, my dad, my brother and me were all born in May. Now that I’ve joined forces with my husband and his small family, we can add another birthday at the tail-end of April – which is definitely almost May. And that means, a lot of cake baking and a lot of cake eating. I’m not complaining. But as much as you’d love to, you can’t live on cake. Thankfully, there’s this lovely little salad on those non-cake days.
I know, it doesn’t look like much. Chickpeas, carrots, parsley and almonds. Pantry staples if ever there were any. Look in your fridge and cupboards and I’m almost sure you’ll have all the ingredients ready to go. Simple, solid ingredients but the results are pretty noteworthy. I’ve made this salad twice in a very short period of time and I can see myself chowing down on this on the reg’. It’s citrusy, smokey and a little bit spicy – though you can addd more cayenne for more bite. The carrots are fresh and crunchy while the parsley makes this salad feel like you’re doing something good. And the almonds? Well, that’s like icing on the cake, so to speak.
Now that I’m writing this all up, I think some dried cranberries (or raisins) and maybe a sprinkle of feta would be a good addition. Next time. And there will be a next time. Like maybe for lunch.
spiced chickpea & carrot salad with fried almonds
Adapted from Food & Wine magazine.
The original recipe requires a food processor to process half the fried almonds with the dressing, so you get something resembling a paste. It sounds good, but I never feel like pulling out the processor for this. Next time, I tell myself. If you give it a try, let me know how it is. But as it stands, my version is pretty kick ass too. I think I will dry toast the almonds in an oven instead of over the stovetop. I always seem to burn nuts on the stove. It’s a curse. Plus, the dry toast would reduce the oil by a tablespoon which is an added bonus.
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 c sliced or roughly chopped almonds
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t sweet smoked paprika
1 t agave nectar or honey
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 c packed fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
5 medium sized carrots, peeled and shredded
Heat the oil in a skillet and add in the almonds, toasting over medium heat until golden. Stir frequently or you’ll burn your nuts. I’m not kidding. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, honey, cayenne & salt. Taste to adjust seasonings.
In a serving bowl, toss together the chickpeas, parsley, and carrots. Pour in the dressing and toss to combine. Toss with the fried almonds just before serving so that the nuts retain their crunch.