I happen to still currently live in the “Gluten Free Capital” of the world (seriously….which also happens to be located smack in the center of the “Napa Valley of (glutinous) Beer” – go figure!), and though I certainly haven’t jumped on the wheat-free bandwagon and shunned all things bready, wheaty, and piled high on a blistered pizza crust (nothankyouverymuch), it has definitely influenced how I look at how much wheat I eat mindlessly on a daily and weekly basis (I do spend my days in a bakery, for Pete’s sake).
I’m not about to go all glu-tard (haywire) on you and announce that I’m shunning my favorite carb, but I do like that this frame of mind has made me search for different meals and side dishes that aren’t sandwiched between two pieces of bread.
Everything in moderation, right?
I love tabbouleh (an incredibly good plum iteration last seen here), but while making fresh hummus a few weeks ago I was struck by how similar in size and texture to bulgur the chickpeas appeared when I had coarsely chopped them in my processor. A quick google search confirmed that I was not the first to think of this, and I mentally cataloged the idea as a great make-ahead-take-along lunch.
Though at Spruce there is a rotating daily stock of three (super tasty) homemade soups simmering away that I can choose from for lunch, the rest of the lot here is not exactly what one might call diet food. Milk might do a body good, but whole milk lattes, nibbles of almond shortbread, and samples of the new experimental savory croissants (black pepper and parmesan palmiers, anyone?) aren’t exactly that kind, and it’s nice to shake things up every now and again, and to go all third-grader and pack a homemade lunch.
Tabbouleh, in it’s unadulterated form, is a salad comprised of bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some finely chopped parsley, mint, onion and garlic. I decided to swap in my chickpea crumbles for the bulgar, omit the cukes and onion, and then pretty much steer the course – lots of lemon juice (and zest!), a clove of garlic, chopped mint and parsley, and a good pinch of kosher salt. A quick drizzle of olive oil helped to marry the flavors and bind everything together just so, and the resulting salad was very light and fresh, yet still packed with a filling wallop of protein from the chickpeas.
It was the perfect midweek lunch, and balanced out those unavoidable bites of this and that that inevitably make it into my mouth during the workweek. Plus, I was able to nosh on my vittles knowing that the hip gluten-free Boulderites would approve – just so long as they didn’t bear witness to the heady local brew I enjoyed later that afternoon.
Chickpea “Tabbouleh” – gluten & grain free, and vegan!
Serves 2 as a side salad or light lunch
Part of this is so fantastic is that it is super fast and easy; I went ahead and used canned chickpeas, but if you think to make this a day ahead of time, by all means soak some dried chickpeas and cook them up fresh.
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pint small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup mint, roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1 clove garlic, grated or very finely minced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Place the chickpeas into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse them until they are in small crumbles – this should take 2-4 pulses. In a large bowl, stir together the chopped chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, and garlic. Add the lemon juice and zest, a good pinch of kosher salt, and the olive oil; stir again to combine. Taste, and adjust salt levels as needed.
Serve right away; salad also keeps a few days, covered and refrigerated.