Let me tell you, this has been and will continue to be quite the week for me, in more ways than one. Firstly, it’s officially my last week working in corporate fashion. I have just a few days left until this chapter of my life comes to a close. And then, on Friday morning, Matt and I will be jetting off to Costa Rica for a 10 day adventure before I start classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute in September. There are a lot of emotions floating around and a lot of items on my to do list.
First on the to do list was to make easy and healthy lunches for the entire week. With going to Costa Rica and starting school, I’m really trying to be strict with my spending, and that means making my lunch to bring to work, instead of eating out. I actually prefer to bring my lunch because, in addition to being far more economical, it’s much healthier. So while there are some good spots around the office to grab a bite, there’s nothing I haven’t had 100 times over the past 5 years and nothing that compares to a homemade, quality-controlled, easy on the waistline lunch. So I made it a priority to get to the grocery store on Sunday and perfectly plan my meals out for the week. A go-to lunch for me is always Chickpea Salad. You know, like creamy chicken salad but without the chicken. I’m no stranger to a good Chickpea Salad. I make a classic version flavored with tarragon and a little bit of lemon, and I’ve made a Mediterranean version with dill and feta. But today’s version is based on a more contemporary classic, Curry Chicken Salad.
Chickpea salad in any form is a great option for vegetarians. Mashing the canned chickpeas is a lot faster than cooking chicken, and the consistency is similar, making it a great neutral base for adding the usual chicken salad add-ins. Chickpea Salad is yummy on a sandwich, wrap, or, for a low carb option, simply served on fresh lettuce. This curry version uses bright curry powder, apricot fruit spread and fresh lime juice to create a flavor-packed, sweet and spicy base. I then add in sweet grapes, crunchy nuts and scallions for even more flavor and texture. This easy salad comes together in 15 minutes and is packed with protein, fiber, nutrients and flavor, making it a true lunch all-star.
A few things to note before I get to the recipe. I use mostly low-fat Greek yogurt in the sauce with a touch of mayo for richness. In my opinion, it’s worth it to add a bit of organic mayonnaise, but you could definitely omit it to shave off a few calories and couple grams of fat. Either way, I consider this a detox meal, especially if served with lettuce instead of bread. The curry needs a little bit of sweetness to balance it out, and for that I’m using Apricot Fruit Spread (which I like jam or jelly without added sugar, just the fruit). You could also sweeten it with a bit of honey or agave, to taste.
This is a wonderfully tasty, healthy and budget friendly recipe that deserves a spot in the lunchtime repertoire. If you agree, be sure to check out my Classic Tarragon Chickpea Salad and my Mediterranean Chickpea Salad!
Curry Chickpea Salad
Serves: 4 Start to Finish: 15 minutes
1/2 cup organic Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons good quality, organic Mayonnaise (or additional yogurt instead)
1/4 cup Apricot Fruit Spread (or agave/honey/sweetener, to taste)
1 tablespoon Curry Powder (or less depending on desired spice level)
1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice (plus lime wedges for garnish)
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 14-ounce cans Organic Chickpeas
1 cup halved Red Seedless Grapes
1/3 cup chopped Scallions, 2-3 trimmed scallions (plus more for garnish)
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts (or nut of choice)
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for dressing (yogurt through salt). Add salt and curry powder to taste. I used 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon Curry. For a milder curry taste, start with 1 teaspoon. Use 2 teaspoons for a medium spice level. Use a tablespoon for a lot of spice. Set dressing aside.
Drain and rinse chickpeas. In a mixing bowl, mash chickpeas using a fork, potato masher or a pastry cutter. Add grapes, scallions, pecans and dressing. Mix to combine. Use on a salad or on a sandwich. Serve with fresh lettuce, lime wedges, more apricot fruit spread and extra scallions.