This four-serving meal will cost you between $7 and $10 to make.
Note: If you are cooking the chickpeas from dried, consider doubling or even tripling the batch you are making and store the cooked chickpeas for later use in the fridge or freezer. They store very well, and cooking in big batches is much more efficient since it takes no more time. —Leanne Brown
For the dressing:
peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
sriracha or sambal oelek
limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup of juice)
fish sauce (optional)
soy sauce (optional)
Salt, to taste
Water, as needed
For the salad:
dried chickpeas (or two cans, drained and rinsed)
Cook the chickpeas (skip this step if using canned chickpeas): Rinse the dried chickpeas and let them sit submerged in cold water for a few minutes. Pick out any chickpeas or random bits that rise to the top and discard. Drain the rinsed chickpeas and place into a pot along with the salt and cover with at least 4 inches of water above the line of chickpeas. Bring to a boil on high heat, then turn the heat to low and maintain a gentle simmer. Check on the beans every half hour or so, making sure to keep them covered with water if it boils away. Cook for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and cooked through. To lessen the simmering time, you can soak the chickpeas in water overnight, which can cut down on cooking time by an hour or more. Once chickpeas are cooked, store them in their cooking liquid, but drain them before adding to salad.
In a large bowl whisk together the peanut butter, sriracha or sambal oelek, lime juice, fish sauce (if using), and a sprinkling of salt. If you have it around and think the dressing could use a more salty hit, add a teaspoon or so of soy sauce and taste. At this point, the dressing will still be fairly thick and sticky, so drizzle a bit of water in and whisk. Keep adding water and whisking until you have a pourable dressing. Taste and add more salt, lime juice, or peanut butter to your liking.
In the bowl with the dressing, add the chickpeas, shredded cabbage, and carrots and toss it all together with tongs until everything is coated.
Pile it into bowls and top with scallions, chopped cilantro, and peanuts if desired.