Curried Chickpea Salad
A wildly popular salad with Indian flavors that keeps well in the fridge to enjoy anytime.
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder, or more to taste
2 scallions, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coconut milk, or more to taste
4 cups cooked or drained canned chickpeas
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. Combine the lime juice, curry powder, scallions, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the coconut milk.
2. Add the chickpeas, bell pepper, and peas to the bowl and toss gently until everything is coated with dressing, adding more coconut milk 1 tablespoon at a time if the salad seems dry.
3. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to distribute the dressing. (Or refrigerate for up to 5 days.) When you’re ready to eat, stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning and moisture, adding more lime juice, coconut milk, or curry powder if you like. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This salad is good with canned beans but superior with cooked dried chickpeas, which have a more intense flavor. You can also control the texture so the chickpeas are as firm or tender as you like them.
Curried Chickpea Salad with Rice or Grains: Add up to 1 cup cooked rice or other grain in Step 2.
Curried Chickpea Salad with Greens: Toss the chickpeas with 1 to 2 cups lettuce, arugula, or spinach just before serving.
Southwestern Black Bean Salad: Some easy switches yield a totally different result: Substitute chili powder for the curry powder, olive oil for the coconut milk, black beans for the chickpeas, and corn kernels for the peas.
MAKING THE DRESSING
Mix the juice, seasonings, and coconut milk right in the bowl before adding everything else. That’s one less dish to wash.
SUBSTITUTING FATS IN DRESSINGS
Coconut milk makes a super-rich and slightly sweet replacement for oil. You can use the “light” kind, but the dressing won’t be as thick or creamy.
TESTING CHICKPEA DONENESS
For salads, don’t cook them so long that they get mushy or start to fall apart. Test by mashing a couple with a fork; they should look about like this.
The difference in texture between canned chickpeas (on the right) and beans you cook yourself is obvious when you put them side by side and smash them.