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Much like my reaction to Christmas music on the radio on December 24th, I’m having a mild backlash against pumpkin-everything year. The next person who offers me a pumpkin muffin, latte, snickerdoodle, risotto, soup, or lasanga is likely to get the stink-eye. (Actually, I might just try making a dairy-free version of the last recipe.)

Instead, I’d like to focus on a different fall food – one that doesn’t get as much attention, because it’s usually relegated to the supporting condiment role. I’m talking about cranberries! I love the sweet-tangy flair they add to foods, don’t you?

dried cranberries

In this recipe, I’ve paired them with walnuts, celery, and chickpeas for a satisfying salad. Serve it on a sandwich, on a bed of lettuce, or simply eat it out of the bowl with a spoon. A bit of chopped avocado on top is also a nice splurge.

Cranberry-Walnut-Chickpea Salad

3 cups cooked or 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries (chopped fresh would be great too)
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup scallions (green onions), thinly sliced, white & green parts
6 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

In a medium to large bowl, add the garbanzo beans, celery, cranberries, nuts, scallions, and stir to combine.

In a small bowl combine tahini, vinegar, water and maple syrup. (This can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Add a tad more water, or vinegar if you’re a vinegar lover, to thin out dressing as desired.) Toss dressing with garbanzo mixture.

Serve at room temp or let chill in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.

Notes:

Change up the walnuts, using pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc. If using sunflower seeds, use half the amount called for.

If you are planning on eating this on a sandwich, mash the chickpeas slightly before adding the remaining ingredients. This will make it easier to assemble and eat.

Photo: Mad Manchegan

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