I was so super inspired by all these ideas that I decided to create this chickpea salad recipe highlighting one of my personal faves: cilantro. Fair warning: If you're one of those people who thinks that cilantro tastes like soap, you're probably going to want to skip this one.
This whole thing came about because I wanted a way to eat guacamole by the spoonful. As in, minus the chips. I'm not saying that this isn't already a thing that I did, because, um, it is. But at least this way I could feel totally cool with calling it a complete meal. Guacamole for lunch? Yes, please!
This quick and easy chickpea salad packs in all the best things about guacamole: the creamy avocado, tart lime juice, spice from the red onion and jalapeño, and the bright grassiness of the cilantro. I'm a cilantro lover, for sure. I will routinely add it to my salads and sandwiches. I'll even stand in my kitchen plucking stems out of the fridge and munching on it they way normal people eat carrot sticks. This recipe packs lots of cilantro flavor with a full bunch puréed into the creamy avocado dressing.
I love recipes like this that can be made in advance. They're perfect for easy lunches throughout the week or for casual weekend brunch or lunch parties. It works on its own as a vegetarian main dish (looking at you, meatless Monday!) or as a side to grilled proteins or fish. I haven't tried dipping tortilla chips in it yet, but I strongly suspect that would also be a good thing. Into other dip-as-lunch ideas? Check out my Deconstructed Hummus Salad. (It's basically the same idea, but with hummus. Yes, I am a genius.)
- For the cilantro avocado dressing:
- 1 large bunch cilantro, tough stems removed (about 2 loosely packed cups)
- 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and quartered
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
- 1/2 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed (optional)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 2 whole limes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- For the salad:
- 3 cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro
- Combine cilantro, avocados, garlic, red pepper, jalapeño, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and black pepper in a food processor or blender and puree until very smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the puree with chickpeas, diced onions, tomatoes, and minced cilantro.
- Toss to coat evenly, then taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Salads, Main Dishes
- 4-6 servings