warm salt-and-pepper chickpeas with broccolini and tahini dressing

This recipe was inspired by a Food and Wine Magazine summer piece on "make ahead picnic salads." It combines warm and cool, crunchy and creamy, salty and sweet. All the ingredients work together to balance each other and the dish is an ideal vegetarian side dish or a light main course for a hot summer day. I tried to heighten and deepen the flavors with some incredible spices that I just discovered, including ground roasted garlic and smoked ground pepper. You can substitute traditional ground garlic and black pepper if you do not have these specialty spices on hand.

  • Broccolini (2 large bunches, ends trimmed)

  • Olive oil (3 tablespoons total)

  • Chickpeas (1 16-ounce can, drained)

  • Sea salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Ground roasted garlic (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Smoked ground black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Red onion (1/2 of a medium onion, very thinly sliced)

  • Cherry tomatoes (1/2 cup, cut into halves)

  • Fresh parsley (1/4 cup, roughly chopped)

  • Tahini (2 tablespoons)

  • Honey (1 teaspoon)

  • Lemon juice (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  1. To prepare the broccolini, heat 1/2 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot and water is simmering, add the broccolini and cover.

  2. Cook broccolini iuntil it is bright green and al dente, and then remove from the skillet with tongs. Set into a large mixing bowl to cool.

  3. Drain the skillet and add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Re-heat the skillet and then add the can of drained chickpeas, salt, pepper, and ground garlic. Using a wooden spoon, ensure all chickpeas are evenly coated in the spice mixture. 

  4. Cook chickpeas for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, until slightly golden brown and fragrant. Remove and add to the large mixing bowl with the broccolini.

  5. Add the sliced red onion, tomatoes, and chopped parsley to the large mixing bowl.

  6. In a separate small bowl, prepare the tahini dressing. Add tahini, honey, lemon juice, and salt and blend with a small whisk, Stream in 1 tablespoon of olive oil; the dressing should begin to smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of water to thin out the dressing and make it even more smooth; whisk until it is fully emulsified. Taste to ensure proper seasoning and add salt if needed.

  7. Add dressing to the large mixing bowl with the vegetables and gently toss with tongs until the salad is evenly combined. Serve family-style, with additional parsley for garnish.