Just look at those gorgeous colors and those delicious chickpeas!
I love chickpeas. I really do. They make the most delicious hummus, they're wonderful roasted in the oven for a great snack, and they go well in so many things, like stews, salads, and chili. And over at Vicarious Foodie, they're starring in Spaghetti alla Ceci! That looks amazing, doesn't it? If you haven't tried them yet, you should grab a can the next time you're out shopping. Try them--they're not mushy, like beans--they have a nice texture and an earthy, slightly nutty flavor.
Here are a few facts on chickpeas, as seen on FoodReference.com.
Chick pea and garbanzo bean are 2 names for the same thing (Cicer arietinum) a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae). They are also called ceci (Italy), Egyptian pea, gram, Kichererbse (Germany), and revithia (Greece).
Garbanzo is the name used in Spanish speaking countries. The English name chickpea comes from the French chiche, which comes from the Latin cicer.
Garbanzo Beans or chickpeas are the most widely consumed legume in the world. Originating in the Middle East, they have a firm texture with a flavor somewhere between chestnuts and walnuts. Garbanzo beans are usually pale yellow in color. In India there are red, black, and brown chickpeas.
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans have 361 calories per 100g, and are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, phosphorus, calcium and iron.
This brings me to today's recipe. It's Tuna Orzo Salad, which happens to be a Rachael Ray recipe. Now, I'm not a huge fan of her recipes or her shows, but I do love her magazine. It's full of great ideas and articles, and guest authors that also have wonderful ideas and recipes. This one is from her magazine, and we love it. It's makes a wonderful lunch or light dinner.
It's such a pretty salad, too, with all of the jewel tones from the ingredients. There's the purple shade of the red onions, the juicy orange (or red or yellow) peppers, the green basil, the cherry red grape tomatoes, and of course, the silky chickpeas.
I've actually had this recipe photographed and ready to go for a while, but you guys know how it it is--you photograph so much stuff, then you have all these things ready to post, and not enough time to post them all. And besides, it's in the stars today, with Vicarious Foodie showcasing chickpeas, and with Deborah at Taste and Tell in day 5 of her 7 Days with Rachael Ray series. Whether you like RR or not, she does have a lot of good, basic ideas that can be tweaked and added to. For this particular recipe, I don't change a thing, except for drizzling some white balsamic vinegar over our salad.
Tuna Orzo Salad
3 c chicken broth
1 cup orzo
1/4 c red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
2 (6 oz) cans olive oil packed tuna, drained and oil reserved
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
half a red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
white balsamic vinegar, for drizzling over
Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan and add the orzo. Cook until al dente, then drain and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, season the vinegar with salt and pepper and mix until the salt dissolves.
Whisk in the reserved oil from the tuna, then add the orzo and toss to mix.
Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, peppers, onion, onion and basil to the orzo mixture.
Break up the tuna and add that and the feta to the salad, then serve.
Top with a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.