Crushed chickpeas mixed with creamy lower-fat homemade ranch dressing and chopped vegetables make a perfect vegetarian lunch. Try it in pittas, lettuce wraps or even scooped up with baked tortilla chips.Who doesn’t love ranch dressing? Even if you aren’t American or Canadian you are probably familiar with this tangy, buttermilk-based dressing. It’s herb- and seasoning-flecked creaminess is pretty addictive. I always try to limit myself to just a tablespoon, but I make sure that tablespoon is rather large. 🙂
History and Uses of Ranch Dressing
Although first used on salads in the 1980s, ranch dressing quickly branched out to be the perfect partner to many a fried and baked food – potato chips, pizza (delicious!), pretzels, chicken wings – even deep-fried pickles. I know, right?
But it is also great with sliced raw vegetables. And even better mixed up with some crushed cooked chickpeas – those roughened edges absorb the zippy flavours like no one’s business – and finely chopped vegetables. And a little pickle, too. Not fried ones, mind you.
Today’s recipe went down a storm with my testers, and even though I can’t really eat chickpeas myself I did have a nibble and fell a little in love. Ranch dressing proper is on the calorific end of the food scale, but my recipe is considerably lighter.
It’s also easy to make with inexpensive, accessible ingredients, so no need to buy the additive and fat-laden premade stuff from the shops. You can mix up this quick and easy chickpea ranch recipe and enjoy it over a few days’ worth of lunches in wraps, lettuce cups, pittas (shown) and even scooped up with homemade pita chips or tortilla chips.
Food To Glow Elsewhere
While you are here, I’ve written a second article for UK newspaper, The Metro. Here’s the link “9 foods that will fight the ageing process” (not my headline!). If you missed my first one, here’s the link to it “Is turmeric really good for you? And are you using it correctly?”
Elsewhere, I’ve had a recipe published in Waitrose Weekend magazine, and they’ve made it look gorgeous! It’s not online, but I published a similar recipe recently for Mediterranean Eggplant Pancakes with Sweet Red Pepper Sauce (eggplant in the batter!). I am in here with Waitrose Food magazine editor Willliam Sitwell, Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker, chef and food boffin Heston Blumenthal, Anna Jones, Philip Schofield and Rachel Allen, to name a few. But I was chuffed to bits to be in with fellow food blogger and new friend, Kimberley Espinel over at thelittleplantation.co.uk.
**Is this the kind of thing you like to take to work for lunch? Have you ever had a deep-fried pickle??**
Smashed Ranch Chickpea Salad Pittas
Crushed chickpeas mixed with creamy lower-fat homemade ranch dressing and chopped vegetables make a perfect vegetarian lunch. Try it in pittas, lettuce wraps or even scooped up with baked tortilla chips. xx
1 x 400g tin (1 cup) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (240g drained weight)
2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, sliced
4 artichoke hearts in water, sliced (optional)
Handful of baby spinach leaves, rocket/arugula or lettuce
3 cornichon/5 mini cornichon OR 1 sour dill pickle, finely chopped
4 small wholemeal pittas, wholemeal bread rolls or large lettuce leaves
75g (1/3 cup) plain yogurt or buttermilk
2 tbsp reduced-fat or regular mayonnaise (best quality)
1 tbsp finely chopped herbs of choice, or a mix – parsley, tarragon, dill, chives. Chop extra for garnish if you wish
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a jug and whisk until smooth. You could also put this in a lidded jar and shake well.
2. Put the chickpeas into a wide shallow bowl and crush uniformly with a potato masher or fork. It helps to warm the chickpeas first – makes them softer and more absorbent. Add the dressing, chopped spring onions, artichoke hearts (if using) and pickles. Mix well.
3. Divide between halved, warmed pitta breads, stuffing in the pepper slices and spinach. Top with any leftover bits of herbs from the dressing. Serve with a side of fresh fruit salad.
**RIPE FOR PINNING!**