curried chickpea salad

When I wrote the title of this post, I thought “it’s taken me over three years to post my recipe for curried chickpea salad?!” In spite of the fact that I’ve never shared it, this was one of the first vegan lunch recipes I concocted on my own. I loved it then, I loved it now. And since my Mom is a great fan of curried chicken salad, and we’re eating some vegan food together over this holiday, I thought I’d share my recipe with her.

This recipe differs from curried chickpea salad in one obvious way (chickpeas, not chicken) and one less obvious way (no mayo). I use a tahini based dressing instead, which I truly love (and sometimes thin out just slightly as a salad dressing—yum!). To imitate many curried chicken salad recipes, I add some finely grated carrot, and I also throw in some raisins, which complement the slight sweetness of the dressing nicely. The dish is packed with protein, fiber, and folate from the legumes, and it’s also got a nice helping of healthy fat from the tahini. Best of all, it’s 100% plant-based and animal friendly.

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I often like to serve these chickpeas in a nutrient dense salad: they add flavor and texture! But they also make a good side dish or party appetizer. It goes without saying that you can stay true to the idea of this being a vegan response to curried chicken salad, and serve it between two slices of Ezekiel bread—curried chickpea salad sandwich! And finally, this little dish makes a lovely snack. There are days when I want something to nosh on that’s far more grounding and solid than a snack bar or a smoothie or a veggies + hummus; on these days, munching on chickpeas really hits the spot.

A little odd? Maybe. But deliciously odd.

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Gena’s Favorite Curried Chickpea Salad (vegan, gluten free)

Serves 3-4

For the salad:

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 large carrot, grated finely (use the smallest size on a box grater, if that’s what you’re using)
1/3 cup raisins

For the dressing:

2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp tamari or Bragg’s or shoyu
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp curry powder

1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together.

2. Dress the salad ingredients with the dressing to your liking: I tend to use most of the dressing, but not quite all. You can thin down any leftover dressing slightly with some water, and use it over a salad (it’s slightly too thick for dressing greens as is, but again, use your kitchen intuition!).

3. Munch.

curried chickpea salad

What a tasty bowl to dig into with a spoon. Seriously. So satisfying! And I love the slight contrast of the raisins and beans.

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curried chickpea salad

Sometimes, we bloggers have foods we eat so regularly and make with so automatically that we just forget to blog about them. You guys have seen most of my regulars, but there are still some time honored snacks and dishes that I tend to dismiss because I think they’re not noteworthy enough for CR. I bet I’m wrong. And I hope you like the salad.

So, since you all have been kindly cheering me on through a hard few weeks with school, I wanted to give you all an update on how it turned out. I did, thankfully, pass Orgo. Phew!! I’m so happy that I managed to squeeze by. That said, my academic profile is still not where I need and want it to be for applications, so I hope that I’ll be able to improve it with my remaining classes (which won’t be quite the conceptual beasts that orgo was). I’m also very aware that pressure to “redeem oneself” academically can be unproductive, so I’m also trying to be gentle with myself. It’s a fine balance.

I’ve got classes through the summer, and one class in the fall, and after that my post-bacc will be essentially complete and other things (applications, glide year) enter the picture. I had hoped, when I started, to finish sooner, but a tough first semester forced me to drop a class, and then the whole delicate schedule got pushed back.

It’s no secret to any of you that I have struggled a lot through this process. In response to my Superhero Smoothie post, a friend of mine asked if I was setting the stage to possibly tell you all at some point that I was changing directions. I wasn’t, but it’s a good question. I think what I was trying to share was the reality that the post-bacc has never been the same thing as guaranteed admission to med school. Sometimes, when you say you’re pre-med, people assume that you’re automatically on a straight path to a lab coat! But it always was, and still is, a journey: I’m figuring out if this is the path for me. That’s what I set out to do when I left publishing, and I always knew it would be hard. It just turned out to be much harder than I anticipated.

If any of you are wondering whether I’ve had a profound change of heart about this decision: no, not at all. I still want to devote my life to the healing arts, as it were, and I particularly hope to do so by becoming a doctor. I didn’t blog about my hospital volunteer experiences this year for the sake of the privacy of the children I met, but I spent nearly 100 hours volunteering in pediatric oncology, and in spite of how hard it sometimes was, I loved it. It was always the best part of my week, and it was a constant reminder of why I set out to do this in the first place.

As many of you have insightfully reminded me, if med school doesn’t work out, there are a ton of avenues I can consider in health care: DO programs (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, which is the same as med school); nursing, which most of you are probably familiar with; PA programs (Physician’s assistant—many of my readers are PAs, and love their jobs); RD (Registered Dietician, which would love, and I have always kept in mind as a future option!); and psychology, which would be a shift of direction, but very germane to my interest in mental health and eating disorders. These are only a few, and if I were to ultimately change courses from the MD, I’d take some time and consider which of them would let me use my strengths most effectively to help people. In the end, helping people is what this is all about.

Anyway: this is all my typically verbose way of saying that I’ve still got my heart set on practicing as a doctor, but that I’m also prepared to explore other directions, when and if the time should come. I’ve never been very good at change or uncertainty, but both are part of post-bacc life, and in some ways, it has been an awesomely humbling experience. Again, I’m so grateful to you all for being supportive and insightful as I make my way through it.

And now, I’m taking time off from that humbling experience for two more weeks! I look forward putting a little mental distance between me and school, and to enjoying time with my friends, hanging out with my mom, and savoring a lot of unfettered time in the kitchen.

Happy Friday, everyone!

xo

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