Friday, June 26, 2009

Curried Chickpea Lettuce Wraps with Avocado Yogurt

This is actually a two-recipe post, but I wanted to draw you in with the recipe that had the more glamourous name.

I should've named the post "A Tale of Two Chickpeas," because the other post features chickpeas prominently, also. I'm always raving about the nutritional superiority of chickpeas. Well, I often run my mouth about things I know almost nothing about, so to make sure I was right, I Googled it. Turns out, I knew what I was talking about: one cup of chickpeas (a very filling portion) contains a mere 264 calories, but packs 15g of protein and 12g of fiber. They are one of nature's greatest triumphs.

And one of India's greatest triumphs, curry, makes chickpeas even better: they're a natural and delicious combination. I was inspired to make this recipe after having a delicious curried chickpea salad at Whole Foods. A quick internet search confirmed that it was simple to make, and of course I added a few twists of my own.

This is a great summer meal for several reasons: a.) it's light - no bikini regrets about this one; b.) I ate it chilled, so it was cool; and c.) it requires minimal cooking (read: heating your already sweltering apartment with stovetop fumes). It's also a very recession-friendly recipe.


1 can chickpeas, well drained and rinsed
1 small sweet onion
1/2 c. roasted red peppers, chopped
1 red chile pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2-ish T. olive oil
1/3 c. fresh chopped cilantro
1 T. curry powder
salt and pepper
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated and kept whole

1/2 avocado
2 big spoonfuls Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
fresh cilantro, chopped finely


Heat half the olive oil in a pan. Cook the onion and chile pepper over medium heat until the onion is translucent, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Add the roasted red pepper, season a bit more, stir and cook a few more minutes. Add the chickpeas and the curry powder and the rest of the oil.


Allow to cook for a few minutes, tasting and adjusting seasoning as neccessary. Remove from the heat and put in the fridge, covered, to cool.


Meanwhile, remove the leaves of the lettuce and set aside. Also, make the yogurt sauce: mix together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside, covered and refrigerated, until you're ready to eat. Spoon a little chickpea mixture into each lettuce leaf and top with a dollop of the yogurt sauce. Enjoy!

This next chickpea recipe is also best served chilled or room temperature, but it hails more from the Mediterranean than the Middle East. Like the other salad, it's light, heathy, refreshing, and simple to make.

I packed it as part of a picnic for myself and my friend Emily to eat in the park. It traveled beautifully, and was divine with a few slices of baguette, although it would be lovely stuffed into, or piled on top of, a whole wheat pita or naan bread as well. If you wanted to make it more of a full meal, I think it would be good with some regular old tuna or chunks of chicken stirred in for a wholesome lunch.



1 can chickpeas, drained and well rinsed
1/2 large cucumber, skin removed, cut into smallish chunks
1 c. cooked bulgur at room temperature
juice of one lemon
couple big spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
handful fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of all-purpose seasoning


Place the chickpeas, cucumber, and bulgur into one large bowl.


In a smaller bowl, mix all the rest of the ingredients with a whisk. Stir into the chickpea mixture, careful not to break up the chickpeas. Enjoy room temperature or chilled.

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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