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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tuna Orzo Salad, and My Continuing Love Affair with Chickpeas

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



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.

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Emily said...

That looks so healthy and delicious, lady! I love chickpeas, and I just bought some orzo, so maybe I'll give this a try sometime.

Anonymous said...

I love chickpeas too. That's a very fresh looking salad. Me like it, me like it a lot. Aren't chickpeas supposed to be good for you too? I mean healthy?

Pixie said...

Wonderfully healthy salad. I finally found a bag of orzo around here and am now on the hunt of as many orzo recipes as possible. This one looks great.

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

That looks delicious! Chickpeas are so versatile!

giz said...

This salad is so versatile - I could eat this every day - you should enter it in the Presto Pasta Roundup - it's beautiful

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I love chickpeas, too. They don't show up much on the dinner table so I guess I have no real excuse - I need to follow your lead!

Anonymous said...

This looks great. I wonder how this would taste between two pieces of bread. There's a sandwich shop here in NYC that has a chopped chick pea sandwich that I love.

RecipeGirl said...

This definitely sounds liek something I would eat while my husband is away. It appeals to me... but he'd be like 'what the heck is this?'

Beautiful pics!

Cakespy said...

Behold, the mighty chickpea! And what a fantastic way to serve it--this looks healthy but still hearty enough to make a meal.

Nina Timm said...

Good golley, I have NEVER seen a tuna salad looking that good!!!Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Elle! SO yummy! And great for summer (which is upon us, I's already in the 90's for me today!) I can't wait to try this one. :) MUAC!

Katy said...

that looks so so good! i love chickpeas too -- i always have them in my salads at lunch, but your salad totally puts mine to shame!

MsGraysea said...

Just found this post and that salad is so beautiful and nutritious.
Chick peas as so versatile and I love using them in soups, both whole and in pureed spoups such as asparagus, carrot or broccoli. They've been a great source of iron which I was sorely lacking.
Thank you!

Elle said...


Zen--Yeah, I think they are good for you. Luckily, they're good tasting, too.

Pixie--I'm glad you found some orzo!

Jessy--thank you!

Giz--I'll gove the Presto Pasta Roundup a look, thanks!

Scott--they're very easy to work into so many dishes.

Mark--I've often thought of trying it in a wrap with some sliced avocado--mmmm...

Recipegirl--thank you! I know what you mean about husbands, hehe.

Cakespy--it's very hearty!

Nina, thanks for the nice comment!

CG, 90's? Good Lord, I'll have to be sure to visit you in the winter time. ;)

Katy--I love them in any salad! They add some nice texture, don't they?

Kitty--thank you! I looked at your blog. You're in Chatham, right? I've only been there once, but it made SUCH an impression on me. Absolutely gorgeous!

Deborah said...

I absolutely adore chickpeas. I always have them in my pantry. And I will be trying this recipe!

Elle said...

Thanks, Deborah--I'll add you to the chickpea lover column. ;)

taste memory said...

orzo cooked in chickn broth always delicious!

Love the chickpeas too....

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

My fiance and I can't stand Rachel Ray but your photos look so might inspire my lunch...

Elle said...

Taste memory--yes, it's really good cooked in the broth!

Jessica--she does have that affect/effect(? hehe) on people, doesn't she? Thanks for the nice comments on the photos!

Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic! I will have try it out... we love chickpeas!!

Drew @ Cook Like Your Grandmother said...

Mmmm, chickpeas ... I can eat a whole can of them straight.

I don't think I've ever seen tuna packed in olive oil. I'll have to check at the Italian market, maybe they'll have it. This looks like just the kind of thing for a summer dinner.

Mmmm, summer ...

Elle said...

Denise & Lenny--thanks!

Drew--I usually find the tuna right near the regular tuna, but it's also with the international stuff. Summer will be here before we know it!

Anonymous said...

Those colours are beautiful! And so healthy and nutritious too....

Elle said...

Helen, it is a really pretty salad. And it helps that it tastes great!

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