Curried Chickpea Salad

I have so many delicious chicken entrees to share with you, but I just cannot bring myself to write another entry devoted to the phenomenal-ness (phenomenality?) of a spruced up chicken breast. I just need a break. There is a certain pallor that has descended upon Floptimism from all of the photographs of chicken breasts under the guises of various seasonings and sauces, and I just need to pretend, for a moment, that I eat a slightly less monotonous diet.

Enter in this curried chickpea salad: sensationally vibrant in both flavor and aesthetics, rounding out the savory notes of spices with the sweetness of raisins, carrots and bell peppers, this dish is both creamy and light - and yes, you can abandon all guilt and all guttural instincts of hypocrisy when you use those two words together in describing this chickpea salad. My brain knows that the weather is going to take a plunge into chillier temperatures soon, but for right now, my heart is so elated by the sunshine and my arms are so grateful for being momentarily released from the hibernation of winter sweaters, that I just have to tell you how perfect this meal would be in this moment, right now, in this wave of warmer weather before the full approach of Spring. So, carpe diem! And make this salad before the sun is replaced again by clouds and wind, and soup and casseroles and 400 degree ovens are the only thing you want (or maybe that's just me because I've been too stubborn to turn the heat back on ever since the first warm spell of the calendar year proved to be impermanent).

I did very little to change the recipe, aside from to double the dressing because it just didn't look like very much. Retrospectively, I think a 50% increase would have been more appropriate - it definitely needed a little bit more than the original, but in doubling it I lost some of the nuances and fantastic flavors of the ingredients beneath it. What's listed below is the 50% increase, but feel free to double it or follow the original (as always, linked) if you think your tastes are better suited at either extreme.

Curried Chickpea Salad, courtesy of My
Yield: 4-6 servings
(printable recipe)

The Ingredients
1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces plain, fat-free yogurt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups finely shredded carrot
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow or red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
salad greens, for serving (spinach would be excellent here)

The Method
Whisk together the first seven ingredients (stopping just before the carrots) in a small bowl to make the dressing, and set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients, except the salad greens, in a larger bowl. Add in the dressing and toss to mix thoroughly.*

Divide the salad greens amongst the individual plates and top with 1/6-1/4 of the chickpea mixture. Enjoy!

*The directions technically tell you to add just about half of the yogurt dressing to the chickpea mixture and to drizzle about a tablespoon of the remaining dressing over each plate of salad greens before topping with the chickpeas and veggies. If this sounds worthwhile to you, by all means, go for it, but I couldn't imagine it tasting that much different than mixing it all together in the first place (and, in all honesty, I probably forgot this step in my usual non-chalant approach to cooking directions).

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