I don’t know about you, but I always associate the word Turkish with good food – even when people bring up Turkish prisons, Turkish Coffee or the Bride from Istanbul. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Turkey, but it’s on the top of my list. I’ll go when the coast is clear of gammas and deltas and when my bank account revives somehow. Mama earth and Papa Universe, I’m leaving it up to you.
About this salad or excellent plant-based main or lunch meal: when you combine sweet vegetables, such as sweet pepper and onion, with acidic vegetables like tomatoes and lemon juice, a good thing happens. Add to that tender chickpeas and sumac, and amazing things happen. The recipe is adapted from Musa Dagdeviren’s brilliant The Turkish Cookbook. This Turkish food encyclopedia always inspires me to cook. It includes many vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Legumes are a great source of protein but I don’t cook them as much as I would like to because my husband isn’t as enthusiastic about them as the rest of our family.
Turkish Chickpea Salad
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 small onion, roughly diced
- 1 green hot chili pepper or jalapeño – optional, sliced
- 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
- 1 heaping tablespoon roasted pepper paste* or tomato paste
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
- Handful parsley, chopped finely
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- ½ lemon
- Warm the oil in a small skillet on medium high heat. Put in the cumin, onion, green chili pepper and salt, and lower the heat to medium, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Put the chickpeas in a medium serving bowl and pour over the skillet content.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, squeeze in the lemon juice and gently toss. Taste to check if it needs more salt or lemon juice.
- *To make the pepper paste: roast 1 red bell pepper or a bunch of sweet multicolored small peppers in the oven at 400F/200C degrees for 20 minutes or until tender. Peel their skin, cut the stems, remove the seeds and discard. Put it in a food processor with a short drizzle of olive oil and process until smooth. Store in a sterilized jar (the best and quickest way is to pour boiling water in it and let it sit 3 minutes).