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Chickpea Salad: Lunch for $2.25

May 28, 2008

I’ve been trying to like chickpeas. I’ve been trying, but I just can’t. There is something about their texture and scent that I just can’t get behind. I tolerate them, but I don’t enjoy them. I want to like them, because not only are they cheap, but they have protein, fiber and are fairly nutritious. The biggest flaw I found is they are a little high in sodium. I wonder if this would be true if I were to purchase dried chickpeas and make them myself? That sounds like a heck of a lot of work.

Anyway, I wouldn’t say that I dislike the chickpea recipes I’ve tried, but I didn’t feel compelled to make them a second time. Too much chickpea flavor, too little other stuff (not a problem if you think chickpeas are tasty).

The other night, chickpeas in hand, I searched for chickpea recipes and found this Chickpea Salad that used ingredients I happened to have on hand. I halved it and used dried parsley (I can’t keep fresh herbs on hand) and pressed the garlic rather than mincing. (There also was a plethora of more fancy chickpea recipes, including chickpea curries and roasted chickpeas and several other salads that could suite anyone’s fancy.)

Yesterday, while collecting my lunch, I saw a container of beautiful berries in the communal fridge. I suffered from momentary lunch envy, but once I tasted my lunch, it evaporated. I really liked it! It wasn’t just okay, it was good. I finally found a chickpea recipe that I can get excited about. The key may be everything but the chickpeas–I love garlic, red onion and tomato, and there was enough flavor to make up for the slightly lackluster chickpeas. I found a new frugal lunch!

Half can of chickpeas: $0.35 I was surprised to find these were much cheaper at Whole Foods ($.79) than at Ralph’s ($1.50, $1.19 on sale). Cheapest yet at Trader Joe’s for .69
1 roma tomato: roughly $1
one quarter red onion: $.15
2 cloves of garlic: Not sure, let’s say $.10
Olive Oil: Negligable, $.20
Lemon Juice: Negligible, $.20
Parsley Flakes: Negligible.
Shredded Parm (optional, but tasty): The bag was $2.50 but I used just a sprinkling. Let’s say $.25.
Total: $2.25

I chose to supplement this lunch with some tomato avocado soup I made several days ago, but I found it quite filling and you might be able to get by just on this if you don’t eat big lunches. Or add some fruit or whatever else you like to eat for lunch. I suppose I don’t need to tell you that. You know how to pack a lunch, right?

As far as groceries go, I’m done for the month. I am $1 over my $145 budget (which isn’t a very small budget in the first place). T suggested cooking some shrimp pineapple curry this weekend, and also some hot spinach artichoke dip. We split the grocery bill for those items, but it really wasn’t in my “meal plan” and shrimp is hardly frugal. It was good and we like cooking together, so I don’t regret it. I certainly can last until next Sunday without spending a dime on food, though I might buy some bread.

I’m need to get in my kitchen and whip up another batch of my chickpea salad for today!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2008 6:31 am

    Do you like hummus? Its not really a “meal”, but sooooo good (if you ask me). Plus its really easy to make.

    Too bad I dont’ like tomatoes, that means this recipe is out of the question for me, lol.

  2. May 28, 2008 7:09 am

    I like hummus ok, but I don’t love it the way some people seem to. Perhaps I’ll try making some next month. I’m all out of grocery money for now, haha

  3. May 28, 2008 8:22 am

    on the sodium in chickpeas: if you are rinsing them well before cooking, you will get rid of some of the sodium. anything canned is still going to be pretty high, but it helps.

  4. May 28, 2008 8:42 am

    This sounds great, I’m going to give it a try. Thanks!

  5. Anna permalink
    May 28, 2008 9:26 am

    I make a variation of this for lunch all the time. I too decided I dont really love chickpeas, but one day, when the grocery store was inexplicably out of them, I had them with small white beans—WAAAAAAAY better. I’ve since tried pink kidney beans, also better. Just as cheap as chickpeas!

    What I do:
    Rinse beans (whichever)
    Add a bit of olive oil and lemon juice (same as you)
    Press in half a clove of garlic (any more and pressing it results in WAAAAAY to much garlic for work)
    Shredded parm (i really like it so i use maybe a quarter cup per can of beans). Once, in the absence of parm I sprinkled in feta and that was pretty wonderful as well and I needed less of it since it’s stronger.

    I then serve this over fresh (baby when available) spinach.

    Super fast, I can do this in the morning is about a minutes and a half.

    Happy lunching!

  6. May 28, 2008 9:31 am

    Rae – I do rinse well, so that might be helping

    Anna – Thanks! I’ll check out some other bean varieties. And I agree on the garlic–today I cut back on it and minced it rather than pressed. I was self conscious all afternoon, and recommend a toothbrush/mouthwash. But I love garlic! I also did more parm this time because that seems to provide the most chickpea flavor cover.

    I might try it over spinach next week to add more veggies, but I think I’ll keep the tomato and red onion

  7. farmwife permalink
    May 28, 2008 10:15 am

    You can buy no-salt canned chickpeas. I have a bunch of them in my pantry right now šŸ™‚

  8. May 30, 2008 5:50 am

    Hm…I’ve never tried to eat chickpeas, but I like hummus. Since they’re so inexpensive, I might have to try it!

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