I have recently received my first order from Country Life Natural Foods, and I’m so happy! Who knew bulk ordering could be so exciting? 🙂 I did a lot of research and I was on the fence for awhile – plus, I went back and forth between Country Life Natural Foods and one of its competitors, unsure which one to pick. Ultimately, the many unknowns regarding their competitor made me decide to go with Country Life Natural Foods, and I’m so glad I did! The items in my order arrived in perfect shape, and were all fresh and delicious. There was one small problem, but a quick phone call straightened it out, and the product arrived a few days later without a problem.
This was the first time I ordered wholewheat flour, corn grits and oats in big bags (25lb and 50lb, respectively). Seeing the big bags in my pantry felt like an accomplishment, and added to my feelings of security and burgeoning independence from the “big name” grocery stores.
Organic chickpeas/garbanzo beans were another item I ordered in bulk. We eat quite a lot of chickpeas, mainly in hummus, vegetarian salads, and vegan stew. We love them both for their flavor and for the impressive nutritional benefits. Below is one of our all-time favorite salads, which I look forward to making over and over again with chickpeas from my new big bag. I just love to make things from scratch 🙂
Chickpeas are rather easy to prepare. You start off by soaking dried chickpeas in water overnight. As they soak, the chickpeas will get bigger and will absorb a lot of water, so placing them in plenty of water to begin with is a very good idea, imo. In the morning, take the chickpeas, rinse well, and place in a good-sized saucepan. Cover with fresh water. Bring to boil and cook for about 1 hour or until soft, adding extra water when/if needed.
Once they’re done cooking, you can use chickpeas in salads for complex nutrition and a delicious nutty flavor. In this recipe, I mix chickpeas with a variety of Mediterranean inspired tastes: olives, marinated artichokes (I use the marinated artichokes sold in jars at Aldi), peppers roasted in-house, cilantro and feta cheese, all swimming in a delightfully light, citrusy vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature as an appetizer, or mildly warm as a main meal, with fresh crusty bread.
This salad is vibrant, satisfying and delicious, and it provides healthy plant-based protein immersed in goodness from the other veggies and fruitiness from the vinaigrette. Far from being “yet another salad,” this bowl of yum satisfies the belly and makes the soul happy – or at least this is what I have discovered. During a time when every detail matters and can make a difference, I find myself continuously moved and inspired by the beauty of this salad, its gorgeous colors, its fully fleshed flavors. I have been trying to find comfort in the smallest of things – this salad talks to me not in the smallest, but in the loudest, most ambitious of voices. I hope you like it too.
How do you cook chickpeas? Any favorite recipes you’d like to share and to recommend? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Vegetarian chickpea salad
- 2 cups organic dried chickpeas
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup marinated artichokes, cut into medium-size pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into medium-size pieces
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak chickpeas in water overnight. As they soak, the chickpeas will get bigger and will absorb a lot of water, so placing them in plenty of water to begin with is a very good idea. In the morning, take the chickpeas, rinse well, and place in a good-sized saucepan. Cover with fresh water. Bring to boil and cook for about 1 hour or until soft, adding extra water when/if needed.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, make the vinaigrette in a small Pyrex cup/bowl by mixing oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place cooked chickpeas in a large mixing bowl. Add olives, artichokes, roasted peppers, and feta cheese. Pour the vinaigrette on top, and mix until well combined. Taste and add salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Lastly, add cilantro, and mix a couple of times. Chill the salad in the fridge until serving time. Serve at room temperature as an appetizer, or mildly warm as a main meal, with fresh crusty bread.