The almighty crispy chickpea is one of those things that I always thought sounded damn good but I never actually got around to making. Well, I'm glad I finally came around and got off my butt to make them because they. Are. Amazing! Seriously easy, crispy chickpeas make for an awesome salad topper or just a quick and yummy snack (trust me, it's hard not to eat them all in one sitting). Chickpeas are a fantastic vegan/vegetarian/plant based source of protein. Combined with quinoa, they give a complete protein, which is very important when eating a vegetarian or vegan meal. The crispy chickpeas make this salad so, so delicious. It can make either a great side dish or a complete meal. I've made this to pop into the fridge for the next 2-3 days of lunches for my husband and I.
Crispy Chickpea Versatility
If you end up using this recipe just for the crispy chickpea component, you could really get creative with different flavourings. I've gone for a Mexican style flavour using paprika, turmeric, cumin and onion and garlic powder. But you could go have a more Moroccan feel and just use cumin and garlic powder or maybe even salt, pepper and lemon zest.
The world is your oyster.
Complete Plant Based Protein
I mentioned before that this salad provides a complete protein. This is important as it means that a good balance of all of the essential amino acids are provided in this dish. If you're vegan or vegetarian, it is so important to make sure all of your meals provide a complete protein.
This means combining two of the three plant sources of protein. See below for examples of this.
Legumes + Grains
Grains + Nuts & Seeds
Nuts & Seeds + Legumes
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is required for many processes throughout the body. Individual amino acids are required for all sorts of different pathways throughout the body. These include neurotransmitter production (mental health), immunoglobulin product (immune health), collagen production (skin health) and many more. They are involved in detoxification pathways as well, meaning that they aid the liver in clearing toxins from the body.
Essential amino acids are the kind that our body can't make itself. This means we must get these from our food. For non-vegans/vegetarians, this is quite easy as animal proteins provide all of the essential amino acids. But for vegans and vegetarians it is important to combine our proteins as detailed above to get all of the essential amino acids that we need for good health.
Nutrient Low Down
So you know this salad has a great amount of protein and that's great. Protein is important but it needs to be in balance with the other two macronutrients as well. This salad is high in complex carbohydrates thanks to the chickpeas and quinoa (hellooooo fibre). Plus it has the added benefit of essential fatty acids that are found in the extra virgin olive oil.
I've taken recently to adding a big salad to our Sunday meal prep. They usually last for 2-3 days worth of lunches for my husband and I and make our life just that little bit easier during the week. This quinoa and crispy chickpea salad makes for an awesome addition to any meal prep/food prep menu.
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- 2 tins organic chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- pinch sea salt
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoon hulled tahini
- 1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup if vegan
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers diced
- 1 cup mint roughly chopped
- 2 cups sunflower sprouts
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Remove skins from chickpeas by gently pinching one end up pushing the chickpea out of the skin. This step is optional, however it does result in more crispy chickpeas.
- Spread chickpeas out over a baking tray and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Add a few pinches of sea salt and toss to coat evenly.
- Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa by first placing quinoa into a sieve and rinsing under cold water. This helps to remove the saponins. Rinse under water until the water runs clear. Place rinsed quinoa into a small saucepan and add enough water so that it reaches the first knuckle when finger is placed gently atop the quinoa. Place lid on saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer until quinoa is cooked and tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once chickpeas have roasted for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside while making spice mix.
- Make spice mix by adding cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric and paprika into a small bowl, mixing to combine.
- Place roasted chickpeas into a bowl and pour in spice mix, stirring to combine.
- Make salad by adding quinoa, chickpeas, sunflower sprouts, cucumber, mint and dressing into a bowl and tossing to combine, so that dressing coats salad evenly.