When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lemony chickpeas, two ways

Today I was in the mood for something different for lunch.  I realized that I am suddenly feeling weary of the heavier comfort foods that I was craving throughout the winter months, and that these days, I'm wishing instead for something lighter and fresher to enjoy.   Because I would also really like to incorporate more legumes into my diet on a regular basis (and rely less on meat for protein), I decided this afternoon that I would start with some chickpeas and see where they took me.

The chickpeas led me to the fridge, where there were some lovely yellow lemons, some Canadian garlic, and a fresh bunch of green parsley.   I made a simple and quick lemon vinaigrette that I tossed with the chickpeas, and then this flavourful mixture became the star of two different lunch options: one a wrap, one a salad, both of them healthy and really delicious.  Which one will you enjoy most?

Chickpeas with a Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

1 540mL can of chickpeas

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
the juice and zest of half a lemon
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp raw honey
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste

Pour chickpeas from the can into a sieve and rinse them under cold running water.  Drain them well, and then place them into a medium-sized bowl.

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake vigorously to combine.   Pour the vinaigrette over the chickpeas. (I only used about 2/3 of the dressing, and reserved some for a later use.)  Toss until the chickpeas are well-coated with the vinaigrette.

Lemony Chickpea Wrap with Fresh Veggies (can be made gluten-free)

1 whole grain tortilla (I used a Food for Life gluten-free brown rice one)
a few large spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture above
a handful of mixed salad greens
some grated carrot
some cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
some thinly sliced sweet red pepper
(and/or any other veggies you might like!)

If you're using a gluten-free tortilla, I would recommend warming it first to make it easier to work with.  I wrap mine in aluminum foil and place it in a preheated 375F oven for about five minutes, and then I remove it and use it immediately.

Place a few large spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture in a separate bowl and mash it with a fork.  Lay the tortilla on a flat work surface, and spread the chickpea mixture down the centre of the tortilla.  Top with mixed greens, carrot, cucumber, red pepper, and/or any other veggies you like.  Take the bottom of the tortilla and fold it one third of the way up over the fillings, then fold each side over towards the centre and place a toothpick through the whole thing to hold it in place.  Serve and enjoy.

Lemony Chickpea and Spinach Salad
(instructions are for a single-sized serving)

a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves
a few large spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture above
some diced sweet red pepper
a sprinkling of thinly sliced red onion
extra lemon vinaigrette and some lemon zest, to taste

Gently toss together all of the salad ingredients with a little of the extra lemon vinaigrette you reserved earlier.  Serve with a bit of extra lemon zest sprinkled on top. 

Winter may still be hanging around for a bit longer outside, but these zingy lemon and garlic chickpeas served either of these two ways, with crisp greens and fresh veggies, will make your tastebuds sing as if it's spring.  :)  I hope those of you who are on March Break this week are having a wonderful time!

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

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