Monthly Archives: July 2012

Lunch for a lifetime

Many of us who work outside the house are faced with the perennial problem of deciding what to do about lunch.  Eating out is expensive and often it is not that healthy.  The recipe I want to offer is not really a single recipe.  Rather, it is a framework from which you can make an almost infinite set of variations.  I got started with a recipe from Pacific Food Imports website http://www.Bigjohnspfiseattle.com.  On their home page, they have a link to recipes and on it they call this recipe ‘black chickpea salad’.  It was posted in its original form by  Daniel C. McGlothlen.  Thank you, Daniel, for the great start.

The recipe has several components and each one is open ended, so you can create a different recipe every time you make it and stay within the framework.  Kelly makes a batch of this every week and the amounts given in her recipe will feed three people for at least 5 good lunches each.  It keeps well in the fridge as long as you use plenty of lemon juice in the dressing.  We have literally used this recipe five days a week for the last year, and I am not in the least tired of it.  It is different every batch.

The basic structure is a combination of beans and grains to get the protein and carbohydrates.  Then we add nuts and seeds for texture and more protein.  The next component is the fresh vegetables and Kelly picks from the list she shows.  We like it spicy, so we add pepperoncini and green olives.  Finally, we make a dressing, and again this is a variable combination.  We like ours a little more picante, so we add more ginger and garlic, but the important components are lemon juice and olive oil plus salt and pepper.

Black Chick Pea Salad.

 The first time we made this salad, it took us several hours.  So, we bought a food processor, which really cut the prep time.  Also, consider purchasing a large (15”diameter) steel mixing bowl.  I got mine at Cash & Carry. 

2 cups dried black or green chickpeas.  (These tiny chickpeas can be found in any Asian or Indian grocery.) Soak overnight.  Cooks in 35 minutes in a pressure cooker.  Rinse & drain.  (OK to use other beans such as black beans or canned beans.)

2 Cups cooked:  of orzo, or Israeli Couscous, or bulgar, or brown rice, or quinoa, or a  combination of all.)  Follow cooking directions.

(Cooking & refrigerating the chickpeas and couscous the day before is fine.) 

1 packed cup coarsely chopped fresh Mint..

1 packed cup of fresh whole Italian Parsley leaves  (optional)

Other Ingredients:  (These you add according to your taste and availability.)

Veggies:  (Whatever you like and/or have available) Bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, radishes, celery, green onion, cherry tomatoes, peas, corn, blueberries, celery..

(To speed things up, I cut the veggies into long thin strips and then feed the strips through the food processor using the slicing disc.

Nuts and dried fruits: 1/4 – 1/3 cup each of sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios,  golden raisins, Craisins.  I’ve added chopped dried apricot, dates, and prunes.  I’ve added grated unsweetened coconut. All good.

Other Options:   Olives (green or black), Peperoncini, even sweet pickles..

 Dressing:Blend

2 T olive oil  & 1 Tablespoon sesame oil (optional)

3/4 Cup lemon or lime juice (real lemons are nice, but bottled is just as fine)

zest of the limes or lemons (this can be zested directly into the salad)

2 T chopped ginger,

3 cloves garlie,

Salt and pepper to taste.

2 T honey and 1 Tablespoon Mae Ploy Sweet Chili sauce or 3 T Sweet Chili sauce.

1 tsp cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper.   Blend ingredients.