Indian-Spiced Chickpeas and Chard Salad (gluten free, vegan)



My summer has been hectic.  I am working full-time, as usual, but have added an accelerated online summer chemistry and biology classes to my life.  I need these courses to fulfill prerequisite requirements for the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, where I plan to apply for the 2010 school year.  I didn't take bio or chem in undergrad - I took anatomy and astronomy - so I need to do the work now.  Taking the classes online has required massive amounts of self-discipline.  The first half of summer was chemistry, which I passed with flying colors (A+!).  I am now in a biology class, which is much more intense than I imagined.  It is truly fascinating, but the workload is large, and the deadlines come far too often for my liking. 
Between work and school, I have hardly had a minute to breath.  My apartment is a disaster, my bedroom looks like a tornado went through it, and my body is achy from spending too much time sitting at a computer.   One good thing is that I've had to come up with quick ways to make nourishing and delicious meals, like this salad!  Hey, if I was able to fit in making it during this last week, I think anyone can.  Truly, I've hardly had a free moment, and I feel it. I haven't had time to go to yoga, have been staying up too late doing homework, and feel the stress in my digestive system. 
So, today I took the entire for myself, and only did what I wanted to do.  I got a haircut, gardened, went to the farmer's market, made pickles, baked some very tasty zucchini bread, went to yoga, went for a refreshing post-yoga swim at one of Minneapolis' lovely inner-city lakes, then came home and ate a simple, lovely dinner of the last leftovers of this salad.    It was even better after sitting the in fridge for a few days.  I extended the leftovers with a few additional fresh peas and baby chard I picked from my garden this morning.   I spent an hour and half in my modest plot of land, weeding and doting on my plants,  sprinkling water and blessings on the lives I'm nurturing.  That garden has provided sanity for me this summer.  I escape there between work and homework, and lose myself in the land.  

Today has been a blessing.  I'm happy to have time to write this blog, and share this recipe.  And later tonight, I will finish the jewelry project I started last night and feed my creative spirit.  After seeing the earrings I made for us bridesmaids in my friend Lauren's wedding, her mom wanted me to make her jewelry for her big wedding day outfit.  I'm combining topaz and amber colored Austrian crystals, pearls, and gold accent beads, and they will be elegant and beautiful.  
I hope you enjoy this salad, and can enjoy it in a moment of peace.
And by the way, the zucchini bread was delicious.  I want to make a couple tweaks, then I'll share.  It was moist and rich, just a little sweet, and wonderfully spiced.  Thankfully, my zucchini plant isn't slowing down anytime soon, so I'll have plenty to work with.  More to come!

serves 4

1 15-oz can cooked chickpeas
5-6 large leaves chard, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, chopped
2 handfuls pea pods or snap peas
about 1/2 c red onion, finely chopped
1 T dry cilantr0 or 1/4 c fresh, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
1-2 T sunflower oil or high heat oil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground mustard
dash salt
1/2 T chickpea miso (or soy miso if tolerated)
1 T flax oil or olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
possible garnishes:
coconut chips/grated coconut
crushed cassava root chips (I love these things!!!)
  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables: Thinly slice chard, removing rib if very firm (save rib for another dish later!).  Dice onion.  Chop pea pods/snap peas - if using snap peas, feel free to shell and throw in the fresh shelled peas for fun texture!   Dice cucumber - if your cucumber is large and the skin is tough, peel and remove seeds before chopping.  If using fresh cilantro, finely chop.
  2. Drain and rinse beans and place in a large bowl.  Add vegetables and cilantro and toss to mix.
  3. In a small fry pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp sunflower or other high heat oil to the smoking point, then add cumin seeds and turmeric and stir to coat with oil.  Turn down heat to medium and heat until seeds start to pop.  Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together miso paste, olive/flax oil, apple cider vinegar, and other spices.  
  5. Pour miso mixture over salad, then pour cumin/turmeric oil over salad as well.  Stir to mix evenly and coat salad.
  6. Serve immediately, or for best flavor, let sit for an hour or two in fridge before serving.For a fun twist, garnish with coconut chips or grated coconut, more cilantro, or crushed cassava chips. Enjoy!