Chickpea Salad for Nancy and Dan

There is no greater joy than standing beside a loved one as they marry their soul mate.

Meet Nancy and Dan, great partners who are dearly beloved by us Choosy Beggars folks.  Over the last week you might have heard the creaking of crickets as our site loaded, and it’s because we abandoned ship and went gallivanting off to Northern Ontario, specifically the beautiful and bohemian Thunder Bay area, to celebrate the wedding of two of our besties.

Together, we shared five days of laughter and song. From the late night campfires that were always accompanied by the soulful strumming of a guitar (or three) to jokes with old friends and new, we’ll be keeping these memories close to our hearts for a very long time.

Nancy and I met about 14 years ago when we were both working at a resort in Muskoka, and the friendship was fast and built to last.  We’ve had slumber parties with whispered confessions in cities across Canada, from Montreal, Quebec to Jasper, Alberta. She’s one of the most caring, creative and dichotic people that I’ve ever met, and I count myself blessed to have her friendship.  When Nancy started dating Dan a few years ago, obviously I ran the poor guy over hot coals, poking at him to see if I could find some buttons to press.  After all, Nancy’s my girl and she deserves nothing but the best.

Note:  She got it.

Dan is like some mythical Captain Canuck, the wilderness hero with a kindness and moral purity that never ceases to astound me.  There are times when Mike just shakes his head, muttering, “Goddamned Dan. He’s just so…so… DECENT.”  Indeed, just being around Dan seems to dampen some of my natural vitriol, and if it’s possible to become a better person by osmosis, well, he’s the guy that will make it happen.

The love that Nancy and Dan share is touching and exquisite, and I could not imagine a better lover and companion for my girl.  They are partners in the truest sense.

As for the wedding itself, it was perfect.  The day was sunny with a gentle breeze, and the lapping waves of Lake Shebandowan gurgled a harmony of best wishes for the happy couple.  The bride was stunning in a vintage gown from the 1930’s, and the personal touches during the ceremony and reception were a reflection of the couple and their values.  From the father of the bride’s rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Nancy (With The Laughing Face)”, which had me weeping like a silly goose, to the first dance, sung by the best man and I, it was a night of music, love and laughter.

Congratulations again to our good friends! It was a wonderful weekend.

Now then, on to the meat of this post. Or, in this case, the vegan salad.  The Friday night of Nancy and Dan’s wedding weekend was a big meet-and-greet style potluck at the camp.  The groom’s delightful father supplied enough ribs to keep our Alberta pig farms in business for another 10 years or so, and everyone brought their favorite massive salad or side dish.  There were some classics, like the father of the bride’s creamy potato salad, or “Jinny’s Famously Good Peas” (which were creamy, full of bacon, and decidedly worthy of their title).  It won’t surprise you that a grazer like me adores a good potluck and all the variety that entails, and I’m still licking remembered rib-sauce of my lips with pleasure.

On behalf of the bridal party, our contribution to the night was mammoth roasting pan full of sweet and tangy spice rich Moroccan chickpea and raisin salad.  The dressing had a touch too much cumin for my taste (which can be easily attributed to drinking a bottle of gin before whipping it together at 2am the previous night), but that has been corrected in the recipe below.  Enjoy!

Moroccan Chickpea and Raisin Salad

  • 2 cans ( 19 oz each) chickpeas
  • 2 red peppers
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • small bunch cilantro (1/3 cup finely chopped)
  • handful parsley (1/4 cup finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 large lemon (1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 large lime (2.5 tbsp juice)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

Press the garlic or mince and pound it into a paste.  Put this in a smallish bowl along with the spices and salt.  Squeeze in the lemon and lime juice and whisk in the honey.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until the dressing is emulsified.

This salad is fairly quick and easy, but does require a fair bit of chopping.  Dice the celery and red pepper into small (1/4″) squares. Finely chop the whole green onions, both white and green parts.

Add the chopped vegetables to a fairly large mixing bowl along with the cup of raisins and the two cans (drained and rinsed) of chickpeas.  Pour the dressing over top.

Finely mince the leaves of the cilantro and parsley and stir the herbs into the salad.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as you see fit.

The recipe is easily doubled for a potluck dish that can serve a crowd, but the best thing about this salad, in my opinion, is that it just gets better with time.  Leftovers are a lucky blessing.  Given a day in the fridge, the raisins will absorb the dressing and plump up and the flavors will mellow and marry.  Aw, marriage.  See? I do come back to my theme eventually.

Healthy and balanced, a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, this salad is an awful lot like our friends Nancy and Dan and we just can’t get enough.

  • Kulsum@JourneyKitchen

    Awww! The couple is so beautiful! Wedding your best friend away is a very difficult thing to do indeed. And even though I’m not the emotional types, wedding does TEARY things to me. Specially when you know two people are made for each other!

    And I have come to accept that you love chickpeas as much as I do. Lovely colorful Salad. And glad that you use garam masala instead of fancy expensive Moroccan spice (which I think I can’t afford)

  • Nanco

    I’m finishing the salad today, yum! Unlike the salad, our gratitude will never deplete. We love you both.

  • Jason

    Thanks for the recipe! I made Merguez beef sausage Sunday with hummus and pita, which surprised me by going over with my daughters. If you two decide to have kids, nothing beats having a 7 and 10 year old both tell you it’s the ‘best dinner ever!’, especially when it’s something you actually cooked (e.g. not a hot dog + ketchup). The only missing component was the addition of a good veggie side salad and this fits the bill… everything on the ingredient list even fits within my girls’ approved list of edible food 🙂

  • Karen

    Great post Tina. Can’t wait to see more of the photos. And I wonder if Nancy has any more left overs. I’m getting a bit tired of the pea salad (as great as it is). Day six is a bit ridiculous!

  • Stewart

    Coincidentally, I’m just finishing the leftovers from my latest batch of your tomato, chickpea and bocconcini salad for lunch today. I can’t wait to try this one!

    (By the way, you left the volume of the cans of chickpeas unfinished in the ingredient list.)

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  • Sally Jackson

    This is a great salad, possibly the best bean salad I have ver eaten. A definite keeper.

    • Tina

      Sally – you absolutely just made my day! Thank you kindly for the warm comments, and we’re so glad that you enjoyed it!!

  • Marcie

    I made this salad yesterday, and it is divine. Definitely a keeper. Thanks so much for posting it!

    • Tina

      Marcie, thank you so much for your comment!! I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe, and we appreciate that you took the time to let us know.

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  • Mel

    Ha! I just googled morrocan chickpea salad and this post came up! Hey Tina…what a great blog and such a lovely story to open to! xo mel