Fennel & Chickpea Salad

I’ve been really busy lately, thus the lack of posts. I’ve been sticking to established recipes in large quantities most of the past two weeks, as work has been spilling over into the weekend. Once I get this one down, I’m off to do more of it.

The temperature is supposed to reach 94 today, and it’s forecasted to be 96 by Tuesday. I believe this is the beginning of what we refer to as the “F-ing Hot” part of the year in central California. It apparently lasts until October. Is this worse than six months of snow? I’m not sure. I’ll let you know in October.

I’ll get a break from the Fresnowhere heat at the end of this week – I’ll be in Chicago for some training, a sales meeting and the massive co-located food shows at McCormick Place. I hope to run into some Whole Foods and/or Western Michigan buddies. We’ll see. Additionally, I have the weekend off while I’m there, and my mom is coming up to meet me. Shopping will ensue.

I have a feeling the hot weather that’s about to start hitting us will cause me to cook and post a great variety of vegetable and bean salad recipes over the next few months. Here is one. I cut the vegetables into julienne, basically because I like the way it looks, but cutting them into dice would make this salad easier to eat. Either way, it’ll taste good.

1 1/2 c. dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours (or 2 cans)
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cores removed, then cut into slivers
1/2 a large red onion, cut into slivers
1 small red bell pepper, cut into similar slivers
4 c. arugula (about half of an Earthbound Farms box)
1 clove garlic, minced
6 T. olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the chickpeas under pressure with plenty of water for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pressure drop on its own. Drain, leaving a little cooking liquid. Place all the vegetables and the garlic in a large bowl. Mix the oil and lemon juice together and drizzle over the vegetables. Add the chickpeas, salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently, so as not to mash the chickpeas. Serve warm or cold.

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