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A Bunch of Chickpeas, Five Versatile Dinners

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Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever—or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staplesor your seasonal produceevery which way.

Today: Ashley McLaughlin of Edible Perspective shows us just how versatile chickpeas can be.

My favorite food doesn't exactly fit into the "Food People Usually Love" category (I'm thinking pizza, ice cream, anything with melted cheese), but I can always count on it whenever I'm in a kitchen pinch or need a versatile ingredient that will dress up a main dish while pulling its weight in a beautiful veggie side.

I'm talking about chickpeas. I love chickpeas. If I'm feeling adventurous, I'll cook up a fresh batch at home; when I'm pressed for time, I'll just pop open a can.. I am constantly using chickpeas in my kitchen, whether it's to top off a simple salad, to roast for a crunchy snack, or to use in veggie burgers. Here are five of my very favorite chickpea recipes, from fuss-free lunches to breakfast burgers (yes, breakfast burgers):

Cauliflower-Chickpea Purée
If you're a fan of mashed potatoes, this cauliflower-chickpea purée is a must-try. It's silky-smooth and surprisingly similar in flavor to potatoes. The beans add a bit more bulk and protein to the more common cauliflower mash. To make it, steam the cauliflower, then blend it along with the cooked chickpeas, some almond milk, and a few herbs and spices. In just a minute or two, you'll be left with a perfectly creamy purée. For variations, try adding curry or smoked paprika before blending it.


Lemony Millet Salad
This salad is filled with fluffy millet, cooked chickpeas, roasted corn, fresh herbs, and spinach, which are then tossed in a lemon dressing. After cooking the millet, you can either chill it for a cold salad or mix it right away with the rest of the salad fixin's and serve it warm. I love serving this as a side, but it's also great as a main dish. And, it's perfect to eat chilled the next day as an easy Not Sad Desk Lunch.


Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Burgers
You've probably seen chickpeas used in veggie burgers countless times. But have you ever seen chickpeas in a breakfast burger? To make it, mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a hefty amount of peanut butter, as well as oats, walnuts, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a few spices. The burgers cook quickly in a skillet and are awesome topped with peanut butter, jelly, banana slices, and dried coconut. You could even try throwing a few chocolate chips into the burger mix if it's one of those mornings.


Strawberry Spring Salad
Instead of simply topping this strawberry salad with cooked chickpeas, as in the millet salad, roast them first. The crunchy, roasted chickpeas pair perfectly with the juicy strawberries, fresh greens, goat cheese, and almonds. It's all tossed with a bright lemon dressing that's perfect for eating outside when it's warm.


Chickpea and Lentil Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette
I absolutely love this salad because it's full of texture and incredibly satiating. It's light on greens and filled with chickpeas, lentils, feta, olives, and avocado, then tossed with a simple white wine vinaigrette. Serve it as an appetizer or as a light entrée. As a bonus, it also comes together in just minutes and makes for a great lunch the next day.

Serves 2 to 4

For the white wine vinaigrette:

1/4 cup minced shallot
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more as desired
1/2 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the salad:

1 large avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups cooked, rinsed, and drained chickpeas
3/4 cup cooked, rinsed, and drained French lentils
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
3 to 4 ounces sheep's milk feta cheese
2 to 3 handfuls zesty baby greens
Salt and pepper, to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin

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Tags: Chickpea, Weeknight Cooking