Chickpea and artichoke salad (4-6 servings)

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Tonight I went to my first-ever vegan potluck with my vegetarian Meetup group. After days of deliberation (no exaggeration), I finally decided to try out a recipe from Vegan Pandamonium for chickpea and artichoke salad. Even though I'm not vegan, I cook vegan pretty often, but I sometimes have a tough time finding vegan recipes that don't call for speciality ingredients or off-putting dairy replacement items. However, I was intrigued by this author's use of simple, everyday ingredients and the recipe's easy preparation. Besides, it seemed like a good potluck dish, since it could be served at room temperature.

You will need:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 7.5-oz jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained (and quartered, if not done so already)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing:

  • 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • salt and pepper

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a large rimmed skillet over medium-high heat. Once warmed up, add in the drained chickpeas. Allow them to toast for about 10 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until the chickpeas are a nice golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, pour all the dressing ingredients into a jar (I used one of the emptied artichoke jars) and shake well. Set aside.
  3. Once the chickpeas are golden brown, transfer them to a serving dish and set aside. Put the skillet back on the stove at medium high and add in the artichoke hearts, spreading them out in one layer. (There's enough oil in the marinade that you won't need more.) Let them get a little brown and crispy, tossing only once. They get brown quicker than the chickpeas do!
  4. Transfer the artichokes to the serving dish; add in the basil, parsley, and lemon zest. Pour in the dressing and toss everything together gently. Top with toasted almonds and serve warm or at room temperature.

I was so happy with the results of this recipe that I didn't even want to take it to the potluck! I probably could have eaten most of it myself. It was a big hit though! There were only a handful of chickpeas left in the bottom of the dish at the end of the night. One woman described the flavor as "robust," and that was before she even knew I was the cook!

I really liked the combination of textures and the toasty flavors of the chickpeas, almonds, and artichokes. The herbs and lemon brightened up the dish, and the vinaigrette was just zesty enough. This was easy enough that I'd definitely make it again!