Brown Rice Salad w/ Crispy Chickpeas & Spicy Greens

I threw this salad together last week on one of those nights where cooking was the last thing I felt like doing. Due to my lack of motivation I wanted to create something simple but tasty.  For moments like these, I always try and keep a few cans of beans and quick-cooking grains in my kitchen. Adding any additional vegetables I have on hand and a dash of effort is really all it takes to whip up this healthy balanced meal.

Roasted chickpeas are absolutely delicious and add a nice crunch to this salad. I often keep a batch of roasted chickpeas lying around the house to snack on since they are both irresistible and healthy.  Studies are showing that the nutrients in chickpeas are especially beneficial to our intestinal wall which not only aids in our body’s absorption of powerful nutrients but also supports our body’s natural detoxification system.  Chickpeas, mostly due to the high amount of fiber and protein, also have an amazing ability to regulate our blood sugar levels.  Regulating our body’s blood sugar levels is extremely helpful to our digestive tract and a valuable ingredient for weight management.  Eating chickpeas will help you feel energized all day long and keep you satisfied, so cravings won’t even be on your radar.

Brown Rice Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Spicy Greens

makes 2 servings

Roasted Chickpeas

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or about 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

dash of sea salt and pepper

Garlic Greens

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red chili, seeded and minced

3 cups Swiss chard or kale

Brown Rice Salad

1/4 red onion, diced

1 tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons currants or raisins

1.5 cups cooked brown rice

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix chickpeas with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Lay on a baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.  I would recommend stirring the chickpeas halfway through to get an even texture on all sides of the chickpea.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan over medium heat.  Cook garlic and chili, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes until softened.  Add in greens and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted.

In a large bowl, combine onion, tomato, currants, and brown rice.  Add in roasted chickpeas and cooked greens.  Whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil and sugar.  Pour vinaigrette over bowl of brown rice salad and toss to combine.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Recipe Note: If you don’t have time to roast the chickpeas then don’t.  This salad will still work wonderfully and save you time.  Just make sure to rinse and drain the chickpeas out of the can before tossing into the salad to get off the excess salt.

Nutritional facts per serving: 533 calories, 14 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 371 mg sodium, 87 g total carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 19 g protein

BALANCE IT OUT:  This dish is a complete nutritious well-balanced meal on its own, which I love.  However, if you reduce the portion sizes then this salad would be a delicious side dish as well.  Two main meal servings should make about 4 – 6 side dish servings.

Love,

Renee

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