Fennel chickpea salad

Fennel chickpea salad

fennel chickpea salad

Fennel chickpea salad

In the summer when the fennel comes into season, it’s good to have a couple of recipes for different ways of preparing it. This recipe for fennel chickpea salad uses raw fennel which is dressed with lemon and olive oil. The secret is shred the fennel very finely so that it is softened, almost cooked, by the lemon juice.

Fennel has a distinctive slightly sweet taste reminiscent of aniseed. It has a number of  health benefits and is an excellent source of Vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium.

Fennel is low in calories and has a high amount of fibre, very little fat and no cholesterol.

To prepare the fennel bulb, strip off the outer, tougher leaves. You can use the whole bulb including the delicate fronds which can be chopped and added to a salad or used to makevegetable stock.

There are a number of ways of cooking fennel and you can eat it raw, boiled or roast. To boil the fennel, cut the bulb into quarters or wedges and cook in boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes. If you prefer, you can roast it in the oven and it will take about 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.

As well as in salads, fennel can be used in soups, as a vegetable in its own right or in dishes such as fennel risotto.

INGREDIENTS:
fennel bulbs
juice of one lemon
400g cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper
olive oil

METHOD:
Quarter or halve the fennel bulbs, depending on how large they are and shred very finely, either by hand of using a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the chickpeas and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, dress with some olive oil and mix well.

Spicy chickpea stew

Spicy chickpea stew

spicy chickpea stew

Spicy chickpea stew

This spicy chickpea stew can be made with spinach, kale or chard. The idea is to cut all the vegetables to the size of chickpeas or 1cm cubes. This stew is meant to be spicy so add as much or as little chilli powder as you like.

INGREDIENTS:
400g cooked chickpeas
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
300g spinach, chard or kale
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 vegetable stock cubes
olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the other vegetables and continue to fry for another 5 or so minutes. Add the spices and mix well. Pour in the tomatoes, chickpeas and one can of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. If you are using kale or chard, chop and add to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. If you are using spinach, add it now onto the top of the tomato/chickpea mixture and cover so that the heat wilts the spinach. Stir the spinach through.

This is good served with fried eggs and garlic mayonnaise.

Chana masala – chickpea curry

curry2INGREDIENTS:
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
2 400g jars cooked chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/2 lemon (juiced)
sunflower oil

Heat some oil in a heavy sauce pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown.

Add all the spices except the garam masala and stir for a couple of seconds.

Add the tomatoes and fry for another 5 minutes or so, mashing down the tomatoes with the back of the spoon.

Add the chickpeas and a cup of water and bring to the boil.

Season with salt, add the lemon juice, garam masala, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and evaporate the excess liquid if the curry is too wet.

Serve.