Spicy chickpeas, asparagus and black rice salad

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It’s spicy, with a tinge of Indian flavourings and seasonings, and all tossed together along with a handful of fresh baby salad greens and kale. I would call it a complete meal by itself, a one pot salad wonder with the goodness of fresh greens, necessary carbs, power packed proteins and fiber. Wholesome and healthy, gluten free and a delight for vegetarian lovers and otherwise!

I love chickpeas or garbanzo beans, our very own ‘chanas’, they are so versatile, be it in a hummus, the very popular Chana masala :-), pilafs, and in this case, salads. I tossed it with some cumin, green chilies, ginger and garlic, along with Indian spices and integrated the kale, asparagus and black rice. Black rice, yes, packed with fiber, nutrients and one of the highest levels of antioxidants found in any food. It’s tasty, with a mild nutty flavour, blackish brown in color but turns a deep purplish when cooked.

And to add some color away from the brown, black and purple hues in this salad, let’s add some green. Asparagus, abundantly available every where this time of year in Spring, a plethora of it, be it the farmers market or the local grocery store. Fresh salad greens, like arugula, baby spinach, any mix of greens which floats your boat that day. Plus, good ‘ol kale to pack some punch. All brought together and married with a simple vinaigrette of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil.

This delicious, wholesome and nutritious salad can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Servings 6

Ingredients :

10-12 fresh asparagus spears, chopped. I used thin spears, so thus used more.

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4 large handfuls of fresh baby salad mix, say baby arugula, spinach, red and green lettuce, radicchio. Any fresh salad leaves one can get a hold of

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3 cups fresh kale, chopped

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1 cup black rice

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2 cups water

3 cups boiled chickpeas or canned chickpeas

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2 tsp. finely chopped garlic

1 tsp. finely chopped ginger

1 tsp. garam masala powder. Use store bought, or home made, if you have the spices.

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1 tsp. roasted cumin powder. Roast cumin seeds in a small pan for a few minutes, till toasty and a nice aroma emanates. Crush with a mortar pestle or in a spice grinder.

1 tsp.finely chopped green chillies

1/2 tsp. paprika

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

a squeeze of lemon juice

For the vinaigrette :

Apple cider vinegar – 2 tsp.

Extra virgin olive oil – 4 tsp.

Dijon mustard – 1 tsp.

salt and pepper, to taste

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Whisk the ingredients for the simple vinaigrette and set aside.

To cook the black rice – In a saucepan, bring the rice and water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Cover, and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. Set aside.

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In a sauté pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté on medium high heat for half a minute. Add the chickpeas. Add the spices – paprika, garam masala powder and cumin powder. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the asparagus. Sauté for 5 minutes or so. Toss in the kale and sauté for a couple of minutes.

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Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the salad – In a large salad bowl, add the chickpeas, asparagus and kale mixture.

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Add the cooked black rice and stir together till combined. Just before serving, add the fresh salad greens and the vinaigrette.

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Toss well and serve!

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