Picnic Chickpea Salad

with saffron threads

Another week is over, but Kramer and I are throwing a small party tomorrow, so I feel like I have a million things to do between 5 PM today and 7 PM tomorrow. The cooking part I can do, but the cleaning part is what I really hate. Why don’t self-cleaning surfaces and floors exist yet? Don’t scientists and robotics engineers know how dirty my stove gets after cooking bacon for the fourth night in a row? I did get one of those awesome frying shields, which helps…when I remember to use it. I just need some sort of tiny, silent robot creature to crawl around my apartment mopping, wiping, and vacuuming. To my credit, I did mop my floors last weekend for the first time in a period I am not willing to admit, and they are sparklin’. Growing up, to say that my mom was a clean freak is a vast understatement, so while I do believe I have a pretty tidy apartment, it’s never going to live up to what I knew as a kid. I just don’t have the patience or eagle-eye for dust that my mother does. Maybe this attitude also stems from not owning my apartment. I rent, and I love renting. I have enough responsibility and things to deal with, worrying about a scratch on the wall is nowhere close to being on my list of top priorities.

Picnic Chickpea SaladAt the LIC Flea this past weekend.

Obviously, my priorities are food, work, this blog, and television (as well as other forms of media). That’s where should be, right? Last week, I went to the LIC Flea with Kramer and Morgan, but I was so excited about my new milkshake video that I didn’t get a chance to tell you about it when I posted earlier. The night before, we had gone out to a friend’s party, so I was feeling a bit…under the weather on Sunday morning. However, Kramer has been wanting to go to this flea for a while, so I sucked it up, took a shower, and off we went. The food was definitely worth it, despite the fact that the flea itself was being held in a parking lot. I’ll take what I can get, and what I got was brisket sliders, a sausage and egg sandwich with jalapeno peppers on a housemade English muffin, cucumber-basil lemonade, and some kind of amazing scallion pancake wrap filled with some sort of tender, delicious meat from a Tawainese food stand that I need to find again and camp out at all day the next time I am hungover because it really cured me. After that, we had a hair-of-the-dog beer, then went to see This Is The End. We saw Man of Steel on Friday night, by the way, which I liked a lot more than I thought I would (and god damn, Henry Cavill – that’s all I have to say about that). Anyway, This Is The End was excellent and the actual ending was literally the most amazing, life affirming, I-can’t-believe-they-did-this thing that I’ve ever seen in a movie. I highly recommend it. I do want to see World War Z this weekend, but I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to.

Picnic Chickpea Salad

Speaking of not having a chance to do everything that I want to do (life is so hard), I try to free myself up as much as possible by at least planning my meals in advance, specifically lunch for work. This salad was something I made by throwing together random items in my fridge and pantry, and the result was hearty, tasty, and most importantly, something that kept well all week. I made a giant batch of this salad – some days I ate it chilled over mixed greens, and other days I just heated it up and ate it as is. Kramer and I didn’t get sick of it, even after we had eaten it for four days straight, which I think is the true test of a good make-ahead lunch. You can omit the chicken entirely for a vegetarian or vegan meal, which I’ve done before, too. This is the kind of thing that I am going to be serving at my party this weekend, by the way, because there’s nothing worse than stepping into someone’s apartment during the summer and feeling the heat of the just-turned-off-oven. Dips, chips, and chilled salads for me, thanks!

Picnic Chickpea SaladMorgan enjoying his breakfast sandwich and lemonade.

Picnic Chickpea SaladKramer and I had some Taiwanese scallion pancake wrap that was delicious.

Picnic Chickpea SaladCool dude.

Picnic Chickpea SaladBox o’ stuff.

Picnic Chickpea SaladPuppy.

Picnic Chickpea Salad
So, season your chicken breasts or thighs and cook them for 20 minutes or until no longer pink. Leave all of that good stuff behind in the pan when you remove them.

Picnic Chickpea SaladAdd in your shallots or onions and cook in the leftover juices and spices until softened and caramelized, then add in your chickpeas and any other veggies you’d like to use. I had some leftover carrots from the farmer’s market, so I tossed those in.


Picnic Chickpea Salad

Picnic Chickpea Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
A chilled, curried chickpea salad that's perfect to bring to a summer picnic or have for weekday lunches.
For the Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable stock
For the Salad:
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • pinch of saffron threads (optional)
  • thinly sliced carrots, bell peppers, or any other veggies
  • ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  1. Heat your heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of oil. Season your chicken breasts with the combined spices and add them to the pot, reserving the stock for the time being. Cook the chicken on each side for 5 minutes, until golden, then add in the stock, cover, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool.
  2. Add your shallots to the pan and stir to combine, picking up any browned bits (AKA flavor). Cook for 5-8 minutes, until caramelized, then add in your chickpeas, spices, honey, saffron, vegetables, and chicken stock. Stir to combine, then cook for 5-8 minutes, until most of the stock has evaporated and the vegetables have softened.
  3. While the chickpeas cook, cube your chicken and add it back to the pot. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. You may serve this warm or allow the mixture to come to room temperature, store in an airtight container, and serve chilled over a salad. This will keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week.

5 Responses

  1. Aulia says:

    I made this yesterday, OMG this is so good. Thanks for the post. I have made many of your recipes and they are always yummy. I also enjoy your stories and pictures. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  2. Annie Castellanos says:

    This was a big hit at the Castellanos home! Thanks! First time I’ve tried any of your recipes, it looked easy enough for even me!

  3. Yum, this is really unique. Pinning now.

  4. Mark says:

    Made this tonight. I changed the spices around a bit, but it’s really tasty. Will definitely be sharing the recipe!

  5. omar says:

    This was amazing. I couldnt stop eating it

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