Here is a speedy lunch/dinner idea that packs a whole heap of flavour! The star of the dish is the cheap-as-chips chickpea aka garbanzo bean, which is a wonderfully nutrient-dense legume with a powerful satiety punch thanks to its combination of plant-based protein, dietary fibre and slow-burning complex carbohydrates. Together this trio will help keep you fuller for longer after eating, by helping to balance your blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling fuelled and energised. The chickpeas are also packed with micronutrients (otherwise known as vitamins and minerals, which are very tiny nutrients in food which help keep us healthy), particularly folate and iron, which aid red blood cell production in the body, and phosphorus, which helps filter out waste in the kidneys. You can use either dried or canned chickpeas - I usually use canned to save cooking time.
I've used plenty of fresh herbs in this salad, including mint and parsley (straight from the garden - if you haven't already, try setting up a few pots of fresh herbs either indoor/outdoor - they are so much more economical then buying a small bag at the supermarket!), which pair together perfectly with the chickpeas. Make sure to give the salad a good drizzle lemon juice - the acidity of the vitamin-c rich lemon will help aid digestion in the stomach, as well as tie all the flavours together nicely!
Spiced Chickpea and Mint Salad
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling
2 tins of chickpeas, drained
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 large carrot, grated
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 handful of parsley, chopped finely
1 big handful of mint, chopped finely
6 medjool dates, pitted
1 handful of almonds, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: add in some crumbly feta cheese for something a little extra special!
1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add the chickpeas and cook for a few minutes. Add the cumin, paprika and coriander and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the juice of half the lemon and mix until evaporated.
2. Add the chickpeas to a large mixing bowl. Add baby spinach, grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, parsley, mint, medjool dates and almonds. Mix well.
3. Drizzle extra olive oil over the salad (don't be shy!) and the other half of the lemon juice. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, pile the salad on a large plate and garnish with extra herbs and chopped almonds.