Ah, summertime, when life is nought but Will Smith jams and over dressed lettuces. A pesto drizzled heap of rocket is all well and good but a girl (or a boy, crikey) cannot live on feathery greens alone. A girl/boy/fraggle doesn’t always want to cook loads in the hotter days either and this is when some kind of chunky salad comes into play. I’m a lover of the warm salad, as it feels like more of a meal sometimes than a cold bowl of crunchy stuff and let’s face it hot and cold is a great contrast in a dish. Slightly warming, rather than totally cooking, some vegetables can really change the flavour to them too, as this does with the last minute warm through of the celery. You can refrigerate obviously but this salad is great to serve at room temperature as either a hearty vegan meal or a tasty side to your bbq or cold cuts or whatever. The ‘very warm’ comes from the green chilli.
Yes, it’s Monday, it’s a vegan one, I finally got a legit #meatfreemonday to blog!
Boomboom Very Warm Chickpea Salad
Serves 2 as a main meal or 4/5 as a side
1 can cooked chickpeas
1 green chilli
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
250g chestnut mushrooms
250g button mushrooms
5 vine ripened tomatoes
1 stick celery
The dressing: 1Tbspn extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbspn cider vinegar, 1 Tbspn pomegranate molasses, squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
You need a heavy bottomed non-stick frying pan for this. Start by rinsing your chickpeas and setting them aside in a large mixing bowl.
Cut the onion and chilli very finely- I discard half the seeds but hot heads may wish to keep them! Remove them altogether if you don’t like it spicy. Fry the onion and chilli in no more than 1 Tbspn of rapseed oil, moving well until the onions begin go translucent. Add the crushed garlic now and cook for another minute, try not to let the garlic catch/brown.
Add chilli-onion mix to your chickpeas now, scraping as much of the oil out of the pan too so that it is more or less dry before returning to the heat. It’s a mild faff but you now need to dry fry your sliced mushrooms in small batches, keeping plenty of space in the pan so that any moisture can cook off quickly and they don’t start to poach. You want to cook them until they just starting to crisp on the edges- keep the slices quite chunky when you are prepping so you have a nice contrast of the crisp edges and the more meaty middle.
As your batches of shrooms are done add them to the chickpeas and onions etc. Chop the celery now and add to the dry pan, turning the head down and moving the celery constantly for about 90 seconds. You literally just want to warm it through to soften slightly and bring out the flavour, don’t be tempted to cook it through or brown it at all. Add these now, then add your chopped vine tomatoes. Whizz the dressing ingredients together, dress and season and you’re ready to go. I think this is best served straight away but it will keep in the fridge for several days too (it’s good for packed lunches!).