Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers -- #recipe by @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: We love chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. I suppose if I were an official chef rather than a busy home cook with lots of other stuff going on, I’d buy them dry, soak them, and cook them myself—I hear it can be done in a crockpot—but no. Canned, low-sodium chickpeas work just fine. And when you toss them with fresh herbs and a brightly colored vegetable, you get a terrific side dish that goes with just about anything. 

I adapted this dish from the version on Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen website, which she adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Perelman says red wine or sherry vinegar can be used in place of the lemon juice, but I haven’t tried that yet. I’m always cautious about lemon juice, starting with half and adding more if needed; two tablespoons is just about right, but feel free to adjust for your own taste. 

Like other beans, chickpeas are a great source of protein, which is especially great if you’re trying to eat a more plant-based diet. We love them in tomato soup, or mashed into hummus. In fact, I see that I’ve posted more than half a dozen recipes using chickpeas. A couple of favorites: this easy Smashed Chickpea Salad and and this simple One Pot Chickpea Coconut Curry

Anyone who’s forgotten a container of black or white beans in the fridge knows they don’t take long to go bad. Happily, the humble chickpea has no such bad habits and will easily keep for several days, even up to a week. In fact, the flavors improve as they sit. They make a great addition to a weekday lunch. Scoop a spoonful onto a bed of salad greens—no dressing required to moisten the greens perfectly. 

Roasting the bell peppers may sound daunting, but it’s really not, and it’s much cheaper than buying a jar ready to use, though that’s a workable option, too.

Bon Appetit magazine traces the history of the word “chickpea” to the Latin cicer—the orator Cicero’s family grew them—and the modern French “pois chiche,” which I translate as miserly pea. The English flipped the words and viola, as a friend of mine says! Chickpea! Garbanzo comes from Spanish and before that, Basque, apparently meaning dry seed. 

Whichever word you choose—and they are both fun—enjoy! 

Or should I say, bon appetit!

Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers

2 large red peppers, roasted and peeled (see below) 

2 - 15 ounce cans low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons mint, chopped 

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Raise your oven rack and heat to a low broil. Seed the peppers, removing the stems, and cut them in halves or thirds. Lay them cut-side down on a baking sheet and broil about 10 minutes, checking frequently, until the skin is charred and the flesh, when poked with a fork is tender and cooked.

Alternatively, roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or so, checking frequently. 

While the peppers are roasting, rinse and drain the chickpeas and pour them into your serving bowl. Add the herbs and capers.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, garlic and oil. 

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skins—a small paring knife is ideal. Slice the peppers into half-inch wide strips and add to the chickpeas. Stir to mix, then add the dressing and combine. 

This dish can be served right away or made ahead and allowed to sit, at room temperature, for an hour or so before serving. 

Makes 6-8 servings.  


From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (Crooked Lane Books; available in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and subscribe to her seasonal newsletter, for a chat about the writing life, what she's working on, and  what she's reading -- and a free short story. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. LESLIE: Chickpeas are my fave beans to eat, and like you, low-sodium canned chickpeas are what I use. I also religiously follow Smitten Kitchen recipes so I am sure this adaptation of her recipe will be yummy.

  2. Great combination, Leslie. We will eat this soon!

  3. Chickpeas are pretty wonderful stuff. They adapt to almost anything you care to "throw" at them.
    I enjoy almost all beans/legumes, but chickpeas seem to top the list for versatility.

    1. I think so, too. Plus they and lentils tend to have a little longer refrigerator life than some of the others.

  4. I adore chickpeas! And as you say, they are SO versatile! And yummy!

    1. Yummy in the tummy! I have a bag of dried black chickpeas to try, but haven't been brave enough yet!

    2. Ooo, black chickpeas?! Tell us how they are.

  5. This is going to be in our chickpea-loving household! Thanks, Leslie.