*ed. note: Today’s post is from Suruchi Avasthi, our frequent collaborator and creator of this brown kitchen. Her Cumin Chickpea Salad kicks off a fun new series called Global Kitchen, where we’ll be sharing flavor-filled recipes along with the nutritional benefits of the spices that bring them to life. Enjoy!
One of the things that I’ve learned from my mom is to ALWAYS have a fully stocked spice cabinet. From being able to make a week night dinner extra special with some garam masala or adding a dash of cardamom to your morning coffee, having spices on hand really opens up the meal possibilities in your kitchen. With Mother’s Day being this weekend and myself being 1,000 miles from home in Texas, I wanted to celebrate my mom with one of my favorite recipes that she brought to the dinner table every night with my own little twist. A kachumber salad is an Indian vegetable salad that is traditionally served as a side dish, and our dinner table was never complete without a big bowl of it for everyone to share. Heads up – you can totally customize this salad to include some of your favorite seasonal veggies and make it your own!
With summer fast approaching and all of the potluck gatherings that have started to fill my social calendar, I’ve been all about easy salad recipes that are not only light, but also fill me up. Traditionally, this salad just includes tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. I added chickpeas to make this a stand alone dish. Using legumes as your salad base is a great way to get in an extra dose of protein while also serving as the perfect blank canvas to add in your favorite summer flavors.
In my opinion, what takes any dish from everyday to elevated is getting creative with your spice cabinet and using fresh and flavorful herbs. This salad uses a heaping tablespoon of chaat masala – which is an Indian blend of spices that includes cumin, black pepper, dried mango powder, coriander, and chili powder. You can make your own DIY blend, but you can easily find it in your nearby international store.
While this salad has a lot of great spices that give it an extra punch of flavor, it’s the cumin here that’s the real standout for me. Cumin has so many great health benefits like aiding in digestion, being a great source of iron which helps with cognitive function, and even helps in boosting our immune systems. There are so many easy ways to incorporate cumin into your diet – with my favorites being in curries, on roasted veggies, and even as cumin tea!
Have you served a salad on a sheet tray before? You’ll never want to serve them any other way after this! I line my sheet tray with parchment paper for easy clean up and then build the salad on top with all of the fixings in smaller bowls so that everyone can customize their own plate. I like adding an extra dollop of yogurt onto my salad with some bonus lime wedges, while someone like my brother would prefer additional shallots and jalapeños on his plate.
And while you’re prepping everything, might I suggest making a double batch of the mint chutney? Mint is the perfect warm weather herb with all of its amazing cooling properties, so fill up on those gorgeous leaves this season! You can store the leftover chutney in an airtight container and serve it up on your leafy green salads, roasted sweet potatoes, and drizzled over quinoa. Enjoy!