Thursday 14 May 2015

Sprouted Chickpea and Pear Salad

This is a play on a salad that I've had from the vegetarian deli counter of an organic food market on my street. I've been focusing on seasonal spring produce lately. Depending on the variety of pear, they're peak season lies between late summer and early winter. Never the less, it is really good in this salad. The star of this dish however are the sprouted chickpeas. I was able to find mine, but if you have a few days then you can sprout your own chickpeas. This method works very well with dried lentils, which could also be used in this recipe.

If you can't find sprouted chickpeas then all you need to do is the following:

Rinse 1.5 cups of dried chickpeas and place in a container with a wide mouth (a large jar or glass bowl is perfect). Cover the chickpeas with plenty of water. Cover the container with some cheese cloth or paper towel secured with a rubber band. Let soak for 24 hours at room temperature out of sunlight.

The next day, the chickpeas will have absorbed some of the water and plumped up. Drain and rinse the chickpeas before placing them back in the jar. Secure the jar with the cheese cloth or paper towel again and keep them at room temperature out of sunlight. Repeat the rinsing and storing in these conditions every 8-12 hours. Within a day they should start to sprout little, white tails. The tails will grow over time. Repeat this process for 36 to 48 hours. 

When they're ready, give them a final rinse and then let them air dry on paper towel. Once they're dry they're ready to use in your salad. 1.5 cups dried should yield about 5 cups of sprouted chickpeas. Just check the source of your dried chickpeas. Some establishments use a heat dry method which kills the legume and they will never sprout. 

So what are the benefits of eating sprouted legumes? Spring is all about new flowers and sprouting plants so it makes a great ingredient to use in a spring themed dish. Also, sprouted legumes are eaten because when a plant is in its sprouting process it is dense in energy and nutrition. So it's incredibly healthy for you. In terms of flavour and texture, they're very crisp and refreshing, similar to bean sprouts. They're fantastic in salads. 

Another interesting thing about this salad is that it uses fresh thyme. Thyme is a woody, earthy herb that you usually cook or garnish a hot dish with. It might seem out of place at first but it's the perfect element to contrast the bright, refreshing flavours of the sprouts and the pear. The addition of romaine lettuce, red onion and walnuts complete the salad along with a zingy, lemon vinaigrette. It makes a great first course or side. 


5 cups sprouted chickpeas
1 pear
1 heart of romaine lettuce
1/2 red onion
1 cup crushed walnuts
2 lemons
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
12-15 sprigs fresh thyme 

Slice the end from the romaine lettuce and chop in 1.5 cm ribbons. Then run the knife through the pile of lettuce a few times for good measure. Your lettuce should look like so. Then rinse clean and spin dry. 

Slice 1/2 red onion into 1/8" thickness. 

Cut the pear into quarters. 

Use a paring knife to remove the seeds. 

Slice the pear the same thickness as the red onion. Roll one of the lemons against a smooth, hard surface to loosen its juice. Slice in half and squeeze over the slices of pear and lightly toss. This will prevent browning from oxidization. 

Combine the romaine lettuce, sprouted chickpeas, red onion, walnuts, pear and fresh thyme. 

For the dressing, roll the other lemon in the same way to loosen the juice. Combine the juice of the while lemon with the remaining half lemon and whisk in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately. Add the dressing in increments in case you feel like you may prefer less. 

That's it! This is a super simple, super quick salad to put together. It's basically just chopping and whisking. There is just enough going on to make it a complete salad bit you could use this as a base for other additions. Tomato, cucumber and bell pepper would all go well with this salad. Feta or goat cheese would be nice as well. If you wanted to make it a little heavier you could add hard boiled eggs, crispy bacon/prosciutto or a chicken breast.  

This salad also pairs well with a creamy dressing. You could whisk in some mayonnaise or yogurt into the dressing and maybe some mustard, anchovy paste or fresh grated garlic for a punch of flavour. 

Be sure to give this salad and sprouting a try. One of these days I'll do a proper sprouting post you can refer to. I hope this helps in the meantime. 

Thanks for visiting!


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