We all know that pulses are good for us and that we should be eating more of them. Especially vegetarians and vegans should, because pulses are a great source of protein. The trouble is, pulses require a bit of planning: you have to soak them overnight, and then they take quite a bit of time to cook. I get around this problem by not planning – I just cook them whenever I think of it, without any specific dish in mind. One evening I will soak a bag of beans or chickpeas, the next day when I am in the kitchen cooking something else I will cook them, and after they have cooled store them in the fridge. They will keep for at least 3 days, so whenever during the week I’ll run out of time, they ‘ll be there waiting – dinner half ready.
Since the cooked beans and peas keep rather well, I think cooking less than the whole 1 pound (500 g) bag is a waste of energy. It does not take any longer to cook 500 grams than it takes to cook 100 grams! You can turn half into a salad, and then add the rest to a soup or make humus later in the week.
In fact, because this salad will only be better the next day, I give you a recipe for 500 g chickpeas. If you don’t eat it in one go (our family of four did), it will make a great lunch the next day.
p.s This is what my windowsill looks like: tomatoes, tomatillos and eggplants – the dinners of tomorrow
Chickpea salad with roasted peppers and black olives
Once your beans are cooked, the salad comes together in minutes. If you forget to soak your beans, you can use canned, but freshly cooked really do taste better. You can also roast your peppers, if they are in season.
500 g (1 pound) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of sage or rosemary (optional)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
1 jar of roasted red peppers, cut in strips
1 handful of roughly chopped black olives
1 bunch of chives (or parsley or cilantro), finely chopped
salt and pepper
Drain the chickpeas and place in a large pan. Cover generously with water, add the herbs and bring to a boil. Skim off the gray scum as necessary. Boil for about 50 to 60 minutes, until tender.
If using immediately: drain the beans and add oil and vinegar – they will soak up the flavours best when still hot.
If using later: let cool in the liquid and refrigerate until needed.
Add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste. If you eat the salad later, you might find it needs a bit more vinegar or lemon juice to keep the flavor lively.