Chickpea Bacon Balls aka Smoky Chickpeas
My latest post on One Green Planet is a recipe for Smoky Chickpea and Watercress Salad with Mango and Avocado. I strongly urge you to click on the link for the salad recipe. You’ll be glad you did and, I can tell you that although you may go for the salad — you’ll stay for those smoky chickpeas. They’re that good. So good, in fact, that I just had to tell you more about them.
As I mention on OGP, I’ve had a thing for roasted chickpeas since my grandmother introduced me to them when I was a kid. I couldn’t help but think that roasted chickpeas might be an ideal vehicle for the smoky flavors contained in the marinade I use to make vegan bacon. I thought about calling them “chickpea bacon balls” but decided “smoky chickpeas” was the better choice.
The inspiration for the smoky chickpeas came as I was thinking about the best spinach salad I ever had at a restaurant in my hometown. It was garnished with crumbled bacon and topped with a creamy dijon dressing. For my own part, I tend to make mustard dressing only when I have an almost empty mustard jar (so I don’t waste any), which happened to coincide with my spinach salad memory and my acquiring some lovely watercress which I wanted to pair with mango and avocado.
Suddenly the stars were aligning as I imagined how wonderful a smoky bacon flavor and a creamy mustard dressing would complement the watercress, mango, and avocado. I’ve been making vegan bacon out of everything but the kitchen sink these days, from the usual tempeh and tofu, to kale, and sliced mushrooms. Why not chickpeas? After all, I add chickpeas to virtually all my salads anyway, but giving them a smoky-bacony flavor would really take them over the top.
Instead of a regular creamy mustard dressing I wanted to play up the flavors of the mango as well as the smoky chickpeas, so I added a bit of liquid smoke to the dressing along with some mango. Oh yeah.
I predict that I will be making smoky chickpeas often. They’d be great tossed with cooked grains and greens, or even on their own as a snack. And I know for sure, they’re going to grace my salads from now on!
Are you going to try them? (If you do, let me know what you think of them!)