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The Salad From a Can I'd Eat Every Day

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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.

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Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas
Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas

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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Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas

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Serves 4 (about 3 cups of salad)
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 4 teaspoons best-quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
  • Salt

Tags: chickpeas, beans, garbanzo beans, curry, los angeles, california