Chickpea & Tuna Salad

Open a can of garbanzo beans and close your eyes. You can almost fool yourself into believing you are smelling an open can of tuna. Once you chop up the chickpeas, it will also bear a slight resemblance to tuna. This makes chickpeas the ideal mix-in to tuna salad. Not only does it bulk it up and lessen your does of mercury, but it also adds a nice dose of fiber and nutrients. You also can’t taste the chickpeas. They mellow the tuna flavor a bit, but don’t add a flavor of their own.
For a delicious vegan version, omit the tuna and double the chickpeas.

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chunk light tuna in water
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise/Veganaise
  • 2 tablespoon sweet relish
  • 2 tablespoon yellow or dijon mustard
  • 2 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional mix-ins: sliced almonds, diced raw fennel, chopped egg, sliced almonds, chopped carrot, chopped parsley, capers.

Directions

  1. In a food processor pulse chickpeas into a chunky consistency.  
  2. Drain the tuna and add it to the chickpeas. Mix well to incorporate.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

I love to serve these open face on toasted wheat bread or on Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Norwegian Crispbread.


Mediterranean Farro Salad with Chickpeas

This is a delicious, nutritious, and hearty salad that lasts for days in the fridge.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Farro Tabbouleh with Feta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, halved, seeded, and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if you like parsley, use the entire bunch)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 6 ounces feta, 1/2-inch diced-not crumbled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, drained

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the farro and place it in a large saucepan with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. I highly recommend cooking farro the way it is prepared in Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. 
  3. Drain the farro and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the warm farro to the vegetables and herbs and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Carefully stir in the feta and olives.

*I have found with most beans and grain salads that much less oil is needed in the dressing than typical green salads. Therefor typical oil to acid ratios don’t apply.


Blue Zones Kitchen Black Eyed Pea Salad with Mint & Onions

Adapted from The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound black-eyed peas (or four 15-ounce cans, drained) (pinto or white beans work well too)
  • 3 green onions, tops removed and coarsely chopped (I chop the tops as well)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (I use 2 carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup greens like spinach, baby kale, or sweet dandelion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (at least 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt)
  • Dill (optional for garnish)

The following are ingredients I like to add.

  • Juice of 2 lemon (I don’t think the vinegar adds nearly enough acid so I like to add lemon juice)
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions

  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid, tilting lid slightly to let some steam escape.
  2. Cook for an hour, or until peas are tender.
  3. While peas are still hot, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. If using canned black-eyed peas, just drain, rinse, and heat on a stovetop over medium heat with all other ingredients until warmed through (5-6 minutes). (I usually use canned beans and don’t bother heating them).
  5. Garnish with dill, if using.
  6. Serve warm or cold.

Trader Joe’s Lentil Salad

Made from ready-to-eat items from Trader Joe’s, this is a quick, delicious, and healthy salad that holds up for days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Sauce (refrigerated)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (refrigerated)
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Basil (optional)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine entire packages of lentils and bruschetta sauce.
  2. To serve – lay a bed of baby spinach onto the bottom of a bowl. Top with a scoop of lentils and garnish with feta cheese and torn basil.


Sweet & Spicy Ginger Green Beans

Photo from Milk Street

Ingredients

Recipe by Milk Street. My alterations are always in parenthesis.
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional – I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I use 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved on the bias (I just snap them into smaller pieces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Ground white pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add the beans and cook, without stirring, until beginning to color, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the water and immediately cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the beans are bright green and barely tender, about 2 minutes.
  4. Clear a space in the center of the pan, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil (I don’t add any more oil) to the clearing. Stir in the ginger and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the sugar-fish sauce mixture into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and coats the beans, about 1 minute.
  5. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar.


30 Minute Cardamom-Lime Chicken and White Beans

Photo from Milk Street
Adapted from Milk Street.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch chunks (bone-in would also work, but would need more cooking time)
  • 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 bunches scallions (2 bunches are plenty) thinly sliced, white and green parts used separately
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (I usually omit this or use just a pinch)
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom (I omit this – too strong of a flavor for me)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use 1 teaspoon Better than Bullion with 1 cup water)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (approximately 2 limes)

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high, melt the butter.
  3. Add the chicken and scallion whites, then cook, stirring once or twice, until both the chicken and scallions begin to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, cardamom, turmeric, 1.5 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Add the bean liquid, broth, lime zest and juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until the chicken is opaque when cut into, 5 to 7 minutes (I like to cook this, partially covered, for at least 15 minutes to allow the chicken to get really tender.
  6. Stir in the scallion greens and the beans, then cook until the beans are heated through, another 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the liquid when draining the beans. It adds both body and flavor to the dish. If you do accidentally discard it, simply increase the chicken broth to 2⅓ cups. The braising liquid will be thinner, but the dish will still be tasty.


Black Bean & Corn Salad (low fat)

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans (14 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (rinse in cool water to defrost quickly)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A few basil leaves, julienned or a handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (taste with one tablespoon and add another tablespoon if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Crumbled tortilla chips for serving

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss again and serve with crumbled tortilla sprinkled on top.


3 Bean Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces (canned works too)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 white or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a large bowl of ice water. Add the green beans to the pot and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Drain and plunge the green beans into ice water. Drain again.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
  3. Add the vegetables to the bowl and toss well. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight (the longer it sits the better); and toss again before serving.


Turkey & Black Bean Chili

Adapted from Matt Martinez

One of my favorite one-pot meals. This is a quick and incredibly flavorful turkey chili with vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt (I use 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet white onions
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped green chilies
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes (I drain the tomato juice into the pot and then chop up the tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them to the pot).
  • 2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use one pepper and remove the seeds)
  • 1 cup fresh corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chicken stock (add additional broth or water if using black beans, approximately 3/4 cup, to desired consistency)
  • I like to add 1 can black beans, drained and barely rinsed

Directions

  1. Preferably using a cast-iron skillet, brown the turkey in the oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients, except zucchini and chicken stock; saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and stock; cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.

I like to serve this with fresh baked corn bread crumbled on top

*tip – Since you only need one chipotle pepper, separate the peppers in a ziplock bag and freeze for next time.


Chickpea & Tuna Salad

Open a can of garbanzo beans and close your eyes. You can almost fool yourself into believing you are smelling an open can of tuna. Once you chop up the chickpeas, it will also bear a slight resemblance to tuna. This makes chickpeas the ideal mix-in to tuna salad. Not only does it bulk it up and lesson your does of mercury, but it also adds a nice dose of fiber and nutrients. You also can’t taste the chickpeas. They mellow the tuna flavor a bit, but don’t add a flavor of their own.
For a delicious vegan version, omit the tuna and double the chickpeas.

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chunk light tuna in water
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise/Veganaise
  • 2 tablespoon sweet relish
  • 2 tablespoon yellow or dijon mustard
  • 2 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional mix-ins: sliced almonds, diced raw fennel, chopped egg, sliced almonds, chopped carrot, chopped parsley, capers.

Directions

  1. In a food processor pulse chickpeas into a chunky consistency.  
  2. Drain the tuna and add it to the chickpeas. Mix well to incorporate.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

I love to serve these open face on toasted wheat bread or on Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Norwegian Crispbread.