Red Bell Pepper Chickpeas

Happy National French Fry day, people!  Unfortunately, I do not come bearing French Fries…  I don’t do French Fries–well, I don’t do deep-frying.  Period.  To me, it seems like such a waste.  All of that oil…  And its messy and greasy and way too hot.  If I really want fries, then I’ll go and buy some Alexia’s.  But!  If you do want to make some fries, then you should head over to Joy the Baker (http://joythebaker.com/2012/07/homemade-french-fries/).

So, today I come bearing a delightful chickpea salad that is lightly dressed in a thick, subtly sweet roasted red bell pepper dressing.  Not French Fries, I know, but still oh so yummy!  This salad is also super quick, so that makes up for the extra effort of roasting the red bell peppers yourself.  If you are very short on time, then you can, of course, use jarred; but the flavor is still nowhere near as incredible as freshly roasted.

And here is a bit of R-Man cuteness as we roll into the weekend.  He’s always such a good helper, and he’s also been quite the playful little monster lately.

Red Bell Pepper Chickpeas

Inspired by Sarah Britton (http://www.mynewroots.blogspot.com/2012/07/meatless-mondays-with-martha-stewart_3.html)

Dressing:

2 red bell peppers

olive oil, for brushing

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or raw agave nectar

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

3 cups cooked chickpeas

4 scallions, finely sliced

1 bunch baby spinach or watercress

Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.  Slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds.  Lightly brush the outsides with olive oil and place in a ovenproof dish.  Roast for approximately 45 minutes, until the skin is blistered and slightly blackened.  Remove peppers from pan while hot and put inside of a brown bag and seal shut.  Allow the peppers to steam in the bag for 10 minutes (this will allow the skin and fruit to easily separate).  Remove from the bag and discard the skins.

In a blender or food processor add the remaining dressing ingredients along with the bell peppers.  Blend on high until smooth.  If you wish, thin with additional water or oil until the desired consistency is achieved.

In a medium bowl, toss together the chickpeas, scallions, and two-thirds of the dressing.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Serve on a bed of the greens with additional dressing, if desired.

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a side

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