Chickpea Salad

Cheap and easy: that’s my new motto (and reputation), especially at lunch. Yes–times are hard, even for your friendly Amateur Gourmet. “But you just went to Momofuku Ko,” you might say and I’d say back, “Yes, and wiped myself clean!” Especially now that I’ve done my taxes: to quote my rabbi, “Oy!”

No more lunches out, then: from now on it’s sandwiches and leftovers. And the occasional chickpea salad like the one you see above.

“But Adam,” you say kindly. “That chickpea salad looks kind of boring.”

“Boring!” I say and pretend to smack you. “It’s anything but. I packed it with flavor.”

“How’d you do that?”

Here’s what I did, written in the 2nd person so it’s more instructional.

Cheap & Easy Chickpea Salad

Open a can of chickpeas.

Drain them.

Put them in a bowl and add, to taste:

2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

Juice from one lemon (maybe even the zest, if you like it zesty)

A splash or two of olive oil



and, here’s the kicker, some Tabasco sauce.

What is this really? Why it’s the Barefoot Contessa’s hummus, deconstructed. It’s not blended but with all those flavors, it makes a mighty, mighty impact.

Stir it all around and eat. Cheap and easy!

Now if you’d like to fancy it up a bit you could add:

– some chopped red onion

– some chopped parsley

I served it on leftover Arborio rice salad. A satisfying lunch, and maybe even a healthy one too. And cheap–very cheap.

What are your favorite cheap and easy lunches? I have a feeling many out there (including me) would love to know.

21 thoughts on “Chickpea Salad”

  1. I just cooked a big whack of chickpeas yesterday to eat through the week, and I am now sad I used up my last lemon in a Tom Collins last night. This sounds great!

    Cheap lunch… Make a big pot of dal with cumin, garlic, ginger, dried chilis and cayenne over the weekend and reheat with rice for lunch. It’s healthy and awfully filling, too.

  2. Baked potatoes! I often make a big pot of bean soup or chili on the weekends and a baked potato topped with a half cup of soup or chili and maybe some sour cream is an awesome weekday lunch.

  3. I have been known to cook up a bit of pasta, let it cool, and throw in some leftovers (usually some vegetables and a bit of cheese) to make pasta salad. I usually just use olive oil mixed with spicy brown or grainy mustard or Italian dressing to bring it all together. It travels well in a container in my backpack. Pasta is cheap and using up leftovers is smart. It works for a college student!

  4. I think it’s important to add different textures and color to veggie dishes to “jazz ’em up” a little bit. To this chickpea salad I would add some chopped red peppers, maybe a few black olives and definitely some fresh parm. Interested to see what other cheap lunches people have in their brown bags.

  5. Barefoot Contessa makes hummus without tahini?

    Looks delicious though, anyway, and it reminds me of a recipe that Orangette posted recently which I’ve made for lunch a few times.

  6. My chickpea salad goes like this:

    1 can chickpeas

    1/2-1 diced red pepper

    mini can sliced black olives

    ground pepper to taste

    dijon vinagrette

    Super easy, colorful and tasty.

  7. I make a similar chickpea salad but with lots of veggies: chopped bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, and — this is key — SCALLIONS. (Olives and artichokes are also good, but all of these at once is a little too much.) And sometimes red wine vinegar instead of or in addition to the lemon juice.

  8. For cheap lunches, I used to combine a can of baked beans with some pasta.. mmm. Well, a bit stodgy and nasty, so not recommended.

    What’s much better is a bowl of noodles boiled with brocolli, mixed with olive oil, soy sauce and a little black pepper (bambalam!)

  9. My chickpea salad is almost the same as yours, but I add about a tablespoon (metric) of roasted sesame seeds and about a teaspoon each of roasted cumin and corriander (cilantro) seeds. If I am in the mood I might smash it up with either a fork or a mortar and pestle and pop it on toast or I might just eat it as a salad. Oh and sometimes I use a whole chilli or chilli paste instead of tabasco… makes it a little less vinegar-y but keeps the kick

  10. I have a pot of spicy chickpeas simmering on the stove right now! It’s a recipe I’m trying for a series of posts I want to do on Recession Busting Dinners. Desperate times call for chickpeas. I will be trying this salad soon!

  11. My favorite fast cheap lunch is cribbed from the Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper:

    I saute garlic and rosemary (or whatever fresh herb you have around) in a good schluk of olive oil, toss in a can of white beans (Great Northern) and gently toss them until heated through. Then I top them with fresh grated parm and sea salt. Sometimes I add lemon zest. Yum. I crave them unreasonably.

  12. My new favorite lunch that was born out of the ingredients in my fridge I didnt want to spoil before leaving for a weekend. All measurements are approximate:

    – 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved

    – 1/3 cup fresh feta cheese (the kind that stays in its brine)

    – 1/4 cup diced onion

    – juice of 1 lemon

    – few pinches dried oregano

    – salt and pepper to taste

    I ate this with a few random crackers in my cupboard (to finish off the box) and the rest plain. I imagine it would be tasty on a bed of greens to make a fuller salad, but just like this was good… Yum!

  13. Soup. I make puréed vegetable soups in large batches with a little less liquid than ideal — cuts down on storage space in the fridge or freezer (refrigerators in English flats are TINY), and it’s easy to stir in a little extra water when reheating. Sometimes I eat it in its slightly concentrated state, making it more stew-like. I’m currently obsessed with a red curry carrot soup I’ve been experimenting with (one recipe at my blog).

    With dark whole-grain toast or sautéed potatoes (with onions and parsley and rosemary).

  14. One of my favorite lunches is a can of black-eyed peas, a small amount of shallot chopped fine (onion would work), some olive oil, salt and pepper, and tarragon, which may not be the absolute cheapest, but really makes the whole salad. When I’m feeling like this needs some protein, a can of tuna, dry, works pretty well. I could eat that straight for a week.

  15. I don’t have a specific cheap lunch, but I almost always eat leftovers. I rarely plan dinner to feed just my husband and I for a single meal… there is usually at least one extra “lunch serving” planned into how much I cook! I’m usually to scattered in the morning to make a sandwich, and if I don’t have leftovers I end up taking a frozen meal for lunch, which I always regret!

  16. I made this for dinner last night with drained chickpeas, really good olive oil (I sound like Ina too!), lots of parmesan, and some sea salt. It’s also good with roasted garlic, roasted bell peppers, freshly cracked pepper, and red wine vinegar.

    But the parmesan/salt/olive oil trifect is my favorite.

    Make sure to drain the chikpeas well, otherwise the olive oil doesn’t adhere.

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