With nutty roasted chickpeas, cauliflower, mint and preserved lemon this salad bowl is simple to make with just enough spice to make it a little special and exotic.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are,” ( E.E. Cummings).
Since our beautiful friend visited us for a week and left to continue her solo journey around the country in a campervan, her dogs in tow, my mind has been filled with notions of courage.
Of course I think my friend is brave for embarking on such a huge solo journey, but her inner journey is the one I most admire. Armed with just enough self-love to give herself permission, she is taking a time-out from her regular life to get to know herself better, to make friends with herself. She’s pushing the pause button on the din and making an investment in herself on her own terms.
My friend is in a position to take a time-out while some of us are not, but I don’t think that means each of us can’t find our little piece of brave and let it breath. Being brave means something different for each of us. For me, it means owning what I really want and putting it out in to the universe for all to see. I have a neat trick of saying something meaningful but then watermarking the statement with a disclaimer. It goes something like, ” I want a castle…but I would be more than happy with a shed.” To be clear, I don’t actually want a castle, too much cleaning, but if I was exercising my brave muscles I would lay claim to the castle and see what the universe provides.
So, today, in honour of finding my brave I will say that in 2017 I will find a literary agent, put a cookbook proposal together and submit it to publishers. I will take time out for myself to improve my photography and source more work from it. And finally, I am going to stop beating myself up for wanting things. My daughter is happy and healthy, my husband is doing fine and the Dane gets walked twice a day. While it isn’t always easy or pretty, we are doing OK and I play a large role in that. It’s OK for me to want something for myself. And it’s OK for you too.
And now I want some dang chickpeas with preserved lemon!
I made this roast chickpea cauliflower bowl with preserved lemon and mint at Christmas and it was a hit. The many times I have made it since, I have made little tweaks to the spice balance to get it just right. Just right for me, that is. The beauty of this salad is that the measures can be tweaked to suit your taste. I love preserved lemon and would add it by spoonful if left unchecked but not everyone loves its sour, saltiness – if that’s the case you could simply add a little lemon zest to the salad and perhaps a scattering of capers.
Clean and simple, this salad contains only chickpeas, cauliflower, mint and red onion (again if you don’t like the onion, leave it out) but those ingredients are brought together with a beautifully balance, slightly spiced cumin and sumac vinaigrette. I am not going to lie, I eat this salad straight from the mixing bowl, sometimes it makes it to the table, sometimes not.
While you can use canned chickpeas, I have to say it does make a noticeable difference to the taste compared to prepared dried chickpeas. In a pinch, canned chickpeas will do to save time but if you get a chance to prepare them from scratch, I totally recommend it. It’s super easy and the result is so good.
And finally, a word on mint. This salad loves mint so forget the less is more mantra; go hard with the mint, you won’t regret it.
This roast chickpea cauliflower bowl with preserved lemon and mint makes my tastebuds sing. When I create dishes that make me smile or have the family going back for more I feel a little brave flame fluttering. People eat my food and…sometimes they really like it. Maybe enough to buy the book. If I don’t put it out there, it has no chance of ever happening. So, it’s out there.
Don’t leave me hanging out here alone.
Be brave and enjoy, xx.
Roast Chickpea Cauliflower Bowl with Preserved Lemon and Mint
Yield 6 serves
This roast chickpea and cauliflower bowl with preserved lemon and mint is a super simple vegan salad packed with exotic flavours.
- 1.5 (225 grams) cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight.
- 1 small to medium cauliflower, cut in to florets and roughly chopped
- 1 cup mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 2 pieces of preserved lemon (approximate .25 lemon)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (20ml) apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) good quality olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon rapadura or coconut sugar (or any unprocessed sugar)
- a good pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) sumac
- Rinse and check the dried chickpeas, discarding any discoloured ones, and soak them overnight.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas before putting them in a pot covered with water two inches higher than the chickpeas.
- Add a good pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil before reducing the heat to a simmer and cooking for around 1.25 hours. Test the chickpeas, they should be soft enough to eat but still have bite.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
- Drain the cooked chickpeas and pat with an absorbent towel to remove some water.
- Combine the chickpeas and the chopped cauliflower in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season well with sea salt.
- Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cauliflower is beginning to caramelise. Remove from the oven.
- In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ground cumin, sumac and sea salt. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil in a stream.
- Finely chop one piece of preserved lemon and add to the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Combine the roast chickpeas, cauliflower, onion and mint in a large bowl. Before serving, dress with the vinaigrette. Finely chop the other piece of preserved lemon and sprinkle over the top to serve.
You can use canned chickpeas for this recipe but you will need to drain and dry well before roasting.