Garbanzos (also known as chick peas or ceci beans) are delicious in soups, stews, and a wide variety of dishes both hot and cold, such as falafel and hummus. But did you know that they also make a tasty, crunchy, high-protein snack?
Fried garbanzos are very easy to make and a delight to eat, and are a healthy, satisfying alternative to starchy junk food chips. They also add a fun texture to this refreshing, Mexican-influenced summer salad.
(NOTE: Because of their moisture content, always start the garbanzos in cold oil, as this will help reduce spattering. Also, keep a close eye on the garlic clove that’s used to flavor the oil; it only needs to cook for a few minutes and will impart an unpleasant flavor if allowed to burn.)
Here’s how to make the Mexican Fiesta Salad With Fried Garbanzo Beans:
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans
1 large clove garlic, crushed
Salt to taste
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped
4 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin (or 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Cotija cheese (or finely crumbled feta)
Drain the garbanzos and dry well on paper towels (try to remove as much moisture as you can.) Place the garbanzos and the crushed garlic clove in a cold skillet and add enough oil to nearly cover. Turn on the heat to medium and allow to heat slowly.
NOTE: Cover the pan with a spatter screen or vented grease shield because some of the garbanzos will pop and spatter hot oil. When the garlic clove turns lightly golden, remove it from the oil and set aside.
Cook the garbanzos slowly in the hot oil, stirring regularly, until they darken somewhat and become dry and crunchy (carefully test a couple after about 10 minutes; they should not be moist inside). When they’re nearly done, you’ll actually hear the difference as you’re stirring them.
When done, remove the garbanzos with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle them with salt to taste and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the onion, tomato, celery, jalapeno, cilantro, and minced garlic. Mince the reserved cooked garlic clove and add it to the bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients (except the grated cheese), pour over the salad, and mix well.
To serve, divide the salad between four plates, sprinkle with the grated cheese, and top with the fried garbanzos.
Serves 4 as a salad course.
Please join us tomorrow to read this month’s Free Cookbook of the Month feature, Read a Cookbook for Free: Antipasti and Tapas By Cornelia Schinharl.
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