Roasted Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

We all have those jobs we cannot stand but have to do as they're part of being a grown up. Some are common, like chores. I mean, I despise dusting. Ugh. Right? And what's up with paying car registration? Then there's those irritations that are a bit more...unique. Things that are less predictably annoying but for some reason you find them difficult or dull or draining.

As part of my job as a dietitian, I need to keep on top of nutrition science. That's cool, except for the fact that I hate, HATE (!) reading journal articles. The content is interesting, but the format makes me zzzzzz. I just cannot keep my eyes open long enough to get past the abstract. I was clearly never destined to be a research dietitian.

So whenever I can I get Ben to read me scientific journals. And it's hilarious, as he fumbles over words like "anaerobic" and adds such expression into the methodology section. It's fantastic! Long drives become super educational and enjoyable. And in return for this narration, I do boring tasks and pack away the tupperware containers that, if left to Ben's attention, would sit on the bench. For days. Dude hates putting away tupperware. This is our exchange.

Another way I say "thanks for teaching me about gut microbiota and extra virgin olive oil" is with food. Fancy salads are particular appreciated. And would you look at that, this preparation contains both fermented soybeans and extra virgin olive oil.

Vegetables make me feel bright. I adore them. They are such an important part of my diet. Creating meals using my weekly vegetable box from Transition Farm makes me feel connected and whole. And this habit of using vegetables as the base, nay, star, is a practice I can only encourage. Look to Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall, Debra Madison and Yottam Ottolenghi for inspiration in this realm. Maybe try this recipe too.

Following my flavour preference I tend to find myself roasting vegetables more often than not. While I am also partial to the steaming method (especially potatoes with a sherry vinegar, black pepper and olive oil dressing), I really cannot go past a big tray of roasted sweet potato, cauliflower or cabbage. Roasted veg hold up so fantastically in the fridge for easy, elevated salads all week long. And while these chickpeas are best eaten the day of roasting, I am beyond thrilled to find a new way to fancy-up salads.

I made this version a couple of months ago, so I must apologise for not sharing it sooner. It sat in my drafts while I became distractedbyrhubarb. Making a dressing for salad a couple of days ago prompted me to post the recipe, and to share my love for roasted chickpeas, miso tahini dressing and my husband's inability to pronounce "metabolites".

carrot chickpea baked.jpg

Roasted Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

Serves 2

4 medium Carrots
1 x 400g can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small clove Garlic, skin on
2 big handfuls baby Spinach (or other salad green, go for the dark ones)
1 handful Snow Peas (or alternative vegetable – diced capsicum, peas, etc)
½ tablespoon diced Red Onion
2 tablespoons Pepitas
1 handful fresh Coriander leaves
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

Optional: ½ - 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds To bulk this meal out, add 1 cup of cooked wild rice or quinoa to the salad assembly, along with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

For the dressing:
1 heaped teaspoon Miso paste
1 tablespoon hulled Tahini
1/2 teaspoon Tamari
1/4 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated Ginger (depending on your taste)
1 clove Roasted Garlic (from roasting the carrots and chickpeas in the salad above)
1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Slice the carrot in half lengthways, then chop into 4cm chunks. Place in the baking tray and season with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and optional cumin seeds. Add the skin on garlic clove.
3. Place the drained and rinsed chickpeas on a large sheet of paper towel, then pat them down with another pie of paper towel, trying to dry them as best you can. Add the chickpeas to the baking tray then drizzle the olive oil over the top. Mix well using your hands or a large spoon, then shake the pan so the carrots and chickpeas are in an even layer. Bake in the oven for ~25-30 minutes until the chickpeas and carrot pieces are golden, removing the pan from the oven halfway through to remove the garlic clove and stir the carrots and chickpeas.
4. Meanwhile, toast the pepitas in a small pan over low heat until golden (~2 minutes).
5. Make your dressing by combining the miso paste, tahini, vinegar, tamari and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl, stirring well. Add the grated ginger and, when out of the oven and cooled, the roasted garlic clove (remove the skin first). Mash the garlic into the mixture and then add the water as required to get a desired consistency (you want it not too runny but certainly not a thick paste. Add a little more or less water as you wish). Taste and adjust for seasoning as desired.
6. Assemble your salads by placing the spinach leaves in the bowls, then top with the chopped snow peas, roasted carrots and chickpeas, red onion and coriander. Drizzle over the dressing and then the toasted pepitas.

Heidi xo