(Note: this post was originally published on June 28, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Now that we're well into picnic season, I'm excited to share one of my most commonly-made picnic dishes. This chick pea salad is absurdly fast to throw together, super versatile, and designed to be packed up and transported. It's the perfect picnic dish!
Packing for a picnic is sometimes a bit of a puzzle. Some things get wilty or smooshed during transport, and other things are annoyingly large or fragile. For that reason, I often gravitate toward packing robust salads made of grains, beans, or corn, rather than ones made of more delicate veggies. Dave and I have proved many times that this salad can be crammed into a container, bounced around in a backpack for miles, turned upside down, and generally abused.
Additionally, this salad is hugely versatile. It's delicious on its own, crammed into a pita, or put on a sandwich. It can easily be scooped up with chips, crackers, and cucumber slices, or folded into a lettuce wrap. It's a great main course, but can also act as a side dish depending on what else is on the menu.
The flavor profile of this salad is reminiscent of that classic chicken salad with grapes and a creamy dressing (I'm sure that chicken salad has a name, but I have no idea what it is??). In my version, chick peas replace the chicken and it's loaded up with crisp celery, flavorful celery leaves, juicy grapes, sweet raisins, and crunchy almonds.
It's really the most lovely combination of flavors and textures!
The dressing has also gotten a much-needed update, but it's still delightfully creamy and indulgent thanks to my new favorite (and protein-rich) ingredient: tahini! The dressing gets sweetness from honey (or maple syrup, if you don't do honey) and wonderful flavor from coarse-grained dijon mustard (try making your own, it's easy and delicious).
As you may have noticed, I've developed a major love for tahini, and I blame it all on Seeds of Collaboration. They make the most incredible tahini; I'm completely addicted and use it in/on everything. Because their tahini is both very delicately flavored and very smooth, it makes for a wonderful dressing (see also my Somewhere Over The Rainbow Pasta Salad for another tahini dressing). I highly recommend getting yourself some of this tahini, it's a delightful and nutritious dressing base.
Need any extra convincing? Seeds of Collaboration is now offering 20% off for Rogue Brussel Sprout followers! Use the code ROGUE at checkout to apply the discount to your entire order.
The other great part about this salad is that it comes together in a flash. It's almost embarrassingly easy; just throw it all together, put it in a container, grab a box of crackers, and you're ready to go. There's no cooking involved, and only one mixing bowl to wash. You can put this salad together in 15 minutes, tops.
While we're on the subject of "no-cook", there is one cooking option with this salad: those gorgeous maple-roasted almonds! If you're crunched on time and want to keep this salad completely no-cook, you can certainly just keep the almonds raw. Or, better yet, buy roasted salted almond slivers; many grocery stores sell them with the salad stuff. But if you have ten extra minutes, making your own at home is delightfully tasty and absolutely worth the time. There are instructions in the recipe for how to do this, but you'll basically just toast them in a skillet and finish them with maple syrup and salt. They're easy and make this salad so special!
Thanks to the robust ingredients in this salad, it's totally make-ahead friendly. Feel free to make the entire salad an hour or a couple hours in advance and take it with you on picnics or to potlucks. If you want to prepare it farther in advance, you can do everything the day head; just keep the celery leaves, grapes, and almonds separate until you're ready to serve so they stay as fresh as possible. My favorite secret? Just wrap the garnishes in a little bit of plastic wrap and stick the cute garnish packet right in the tupperware with the salad; then just dump them in and stir when you arrive at your picnic spot!
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
I just love easy, no-fuss, super-fast summer salads like this. Having some recipes up your sleeve for nutritious, versatile, no-cook dishes means you can get out to all your summer adventures sooner. As someone who doesn't eat meat, I also love having an easily-portable plant protein dish I can bring to BBQ's to ensure I'll still have a good meal, even if there's not much else veggie-friendly on the menu.
Where are you headed this summer? Maybe to a picnic on the beach? On a fun hike? Perhaps a canoe trip? What about a fancy picnic (with some cocktails, of course; see the blackberry negronis in some of these photos) to watch the sunset? Regardless, this salad wants to go with you.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: Seeds of Collaboration is a long-term partner. I receive free product from Seeds of Collaboration and take a small commission on sales using the discount code. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
A quick and easy meal, this protein-rich, no-cook chick pea salad is perfect for all your summer adventures and especially for sunset picnics.