So, this salad evolved from staring into the abyss of my pantry and thinking to myself, “What the hell am I going to make for lunch today?” I had a random box of mixed grains and a can of chickpeas. In the veggie drawer, I spied carrots needing to be consumed soon. And there you have it. The grains, chickpeas, and carrots crawled into bed together (cue the kinky music), and behold, a salad was born.
Filling, full of flavor, quick, easy, and nutritious. This salad checks all the boxes. The spices give it a great depth of flavor, the pumpkin seeds give a crunch, and the chickpeas give satiety and a punch of protein.
Oh, it’s a flexible salad too. Don’t have chickpeas? Use black beans. Don’t like pumpkin seeds? You’re crazy, but okay, you can use sunflower seeds instead. Make it work for you. xox
Carrot, Chickpea, and Mixed Grains Salad
Serves 4 as a side, or 2 hearty main meals
- 1/2 cup whole grain blend*
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
- 5 dates, pitted and chopped (golden raisins would be delish too)
- 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- salt and pepper to your taste
*The whole grain blend I found at my grocery store included brown rice, quinoa, red rice, and wild rice. Use whatever blend of grains you like, or just stick to one such as quinoa.
- Cook your grains according to the packaging. For this whole grain blend, I measured 1/2 cup of grains into a pot, added plenty of water to about an inch above the grains. I then added a pinch of salt and brought the mixture to a boil. I then turned the heat down to a low simmer, popped a lid on, and cooked for 15 minutes.
- Once your grains have cooked but still have a nice, firm bite, drain any excess water, and let sit and cool while you get on with the rest.
- In a large bowl add your shredded carrots, chickpeas, cilantro or parsley, chopped dates, and pumpkin seeds. Note: If you are making this dish ahead, leave out the pumpkin seeds until you are ready to serve to maintain a nice crunch.
- Once your grains have cooled a bit, add them to the bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add this dressing to your salad.
- Toss everything together and adjust any seasoning to your liking, perhaps adding more salt and pepper or lemon juice. And there you have it- a beautiful, satisfying, delicious salad.