Chickpea + Parmesan Salad

I believe it was Molly who first introduced me to the idea of combining chickpeas and parmesan to make a simple salad preparation. Chickpeas, parmesan and fresh parsley with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt - when you're low on produce, this ensemble makes for a perfectly easy and satisfying meal. A couple of weekends ago, while Ben and Joan were napping, I prepared this very salad for lunch. Feeling rather ravenous, I added a few more ingredients, including some canned, oil-packed fish and toasted pinenuts. While waiting for my loves I tidied the kitchen (stealing shavings of parmesan as I worked), and when they woke we headed outside to eat our lunch in the garden.

Legumes are a staple in our diet. They're tasty, filling and cheap, and wonderfully nutritious. All three of us will happily eat them all week long in various ways. Joan's favourite legume is perhaps the black bean, while Ben gravitates towards lentils. Mine would have to be chickpeas. For years I reached for canned (BPA free) ones, however lately I have been in the habit of soaking dried chickpeas overnight and cooking them the following day (after soaking I rinse them, then boil in water for an hour or so until tender). I keep the cooked chickpeas in a container in the fridge and we'll eat them over the following days as meals or snacks. Aside from the satisfaction that comes with cooking food from scratch, saving money & reducing your waste, soaked + cooked chickpeas are SO much easier to digest. I had expected this to be the case, but was surprised as to how much of a difference it made. Yes, I’m quite pleased to be entering into the new year with this new habit.

My pantry is looking quite bare, so today (if we can bring ourselves to leave our house in this heat) or next week (if we can’t) Joan and I will head to the city to stock up on legumes, grains and seeds. She's an excellent shopping partner, able to browse the aisles and restrain herself from pulling down everything that takes her fancy. At the checkout she gets to buy herself a carob bear and always ensures her Mum and Dad get one, too. Coconut for her, mint for Ben and plain for me. 

Chickpea and Parmesan Salad

Note: this recipe makes 3 small bowls. Most of the quantities are listed as handfuls, which allows you to add more of less of what you fancy. The main point is, chickpeas + parmesan + parsley = great.

2 & 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
A handful of shaved parmesan cheese (I use a vegetable peeler to get fine shavings)
A big handful of chopped parsley
As much diced red onion as you like
To dress your salad: freshly squeezed lemon juice & sea salt to taste, plus a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Optional: canned, oil-packed fish, a handful of rocket or other leafy green, a handful of toasted seeds or nuts (pine nuts or pepitas would be especially good)

Method: combine all the ingredients in a big bowl. Drizzle over the dressing & use your hands to mix everything together, then serve it up!