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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.


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