The Salad From a Can I'd Eat Every Day

January  7, 2016

When you come across a dish you find to be the ultimate, how can you say it so without it sinking into the pool of "perfect," "best," "best ever" recipes? Let’s try reason:

-A perfect recipe would be be totally unfussy. One pan. Few minutes.
-It’d be made from the pantry. And adaptable to what isn’t there.
-Not only would it keep well, but it’d get better with age.
-It’d be flexible: Filling as a whole meal, kindly part of a whole. Hot, cold, room temp.
-It'd be hearty and hardy: Commutes aren't gentle to to-go lunches.
-There will be protein. And FLAVOR flavor.

This curried chickpea dish from Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles checks all those boxes. Truly. But you’re probably thinking you’ve had curried chickpeas before and they were fine. So let’s try emotion, hyperbole. Of the chickpeas, Sarah said:

“Would I gladly eat this every day for the rest of my life? Why yes, yes I would.”

And when I was in high school, working across the street from Joan’s on Third (think Dean and Deluca but more about the prepared food and decorative pigs), I did.

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This isn’t a blasé pile of beans from a can (yes, a can is okay!). They’re nurtured by a cover of sautéed onions and toasty spices, shaken awake from the heat of a pan, and then ready for the day when cilantro and lemon come to meet them. “Have a good day!” the beans will say to you, smiling from their to-go container, maybe after a day or two in the fridge, maybe nestled with leaves or roasted vegetables or hard-boiled eggs. And indeed you will.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Caroline L. February 3, 2016
just gonna say again that i LOVE these chickpeas.
Charly K. January 14, 2016
Lovely & tasty recipe, but I try to avoid tins. Chickpeas do come in cartons as well.
Sherry P. January 13, 2016
No actual curry powder used? This recipe sounds relish:)
chris January 13, 2016
"Curry powder" is simply a blend of spices, pre-mixed for our convenience. The main ingredients in curry powder are usually coriander, cumin and turmeric ... so the recipe has that covered.
chris January 8, 2016
I make a black eyed pea dish for New Year's Day, which has all these same spices, plus a can of coconut milk and a half cup of chopped tomatoes. It's served hot, and is delicious. I'm going to love this chick pea salad!
mickey January 8, 2016
chef june, that bean water is called aquafaba and is a truly amazing egg replacer. google it!
instead of draining your next can of beans into the sink, save it and pass it along to a vegan -- they'll love you for it!
Ali S. January 8, 2016
We had some fun with aquafaba, and were honestly amazed at how good it was:
Kristen M. January 7, 2016
Thank you for the Joan's on Third flashback (meatloaf sandwich, right? and meringue cake?) and this recipe.
laurenlocally January 7, 2016
I am so excited to try this and love they way you wrote this piece, Ali.
ChefJune January 7, 2016
oops. meant to say I'm down with the curried part, tho. :)
ChefJune January 7, 2016
I know I could sub another herb for the cilantro, but I can't wrap my head around canned chickpeas. That jelly-like substance that surrounds every can of chickpeas I've ever encountered skeeves me out. I'd much rather either make my own, or nowadays buy Melissa's fresh chickpeas.
Ali S. January 8, 2016
You could totally use dried chickpeas here. What herb would you sub in?
Mike G. February 20, 2016
If you go with a good quality organic canned garbanzo beans, as I did, you'll probably find they are packed in water only. Check the label.