There is a community garden on the island where I live, sponsored by an organization called Coastal Harvesters. Last winter, The Grillmaster worked with a group of Master Gardeners and Home Depot to grow cabbage, collards, lettuce, broccoli and other vegetables to donate to our local food pantries to help out folks who were impacted by Hurricane Irene.
On the day the garden was planted, I made lunch for the workers. I included this Chickpea and Raisin Salad just in case there were vegetarians in the crowd. Even the meat-eaters seemed to love it!
Packed with protein and fiber, it makes a great side dish or a light vegetarian lunch. Cook your own chickpeas if you have time – the flavor is so much better than canned. Make a big batch and freeze in quart-sized bags so you can defrost whenever you need them.
Adapted from Real Simple
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups Home-Cooked Chickpeas or 3 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
In a small saucepan, combine raisins, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then immediately remove from heat and let cool.
In a small bowl, combine oil, cumin, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, scallions, raisin mixture and oil mixture. If serving immediately, add cilantro/parsley. If making ahead, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature and add cilantro/parsley just before serving.
Makes 12 servings
Per serving: 236 calories, 8g fat (1g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 108mg sodium, 36g carb, 7g fiber, 13g sugar, 8g protein
Nutritional Analysis: If you want to cut back on the sugar in this recipe, use fewer raisins and/or skip the sugar. Almost all of the carbs, protein and fiber in this dish are coming from the chickpeas. If you are watching sodium, you may want to reduce the amount of Kosher salt.