Fresh Orange Chick Pea Salad: Refreshing and Cooling

Whenever I’m at a potluck, a barbecue, any occasion where there’s a table of food to pick at, I never go for the bean salad. I just never got into it, and thought I never would.

But I happen to have a bomb-shelter supply of canned-chick peas. Blame it on the over-ambitious costco trips. “Oooh. I’ll use that. So what if it comes in a box of 30. I’ll make vats of chana masala!”
Wrong.

So one day, I was trying to figure out how to use up some oranges, when I thought: maybe I should take out some other forsaken ingredients in my pantry. And then: This salad was born!

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According to Chinese Medicine, chick peas (or garbanzo beans) are neutral in nature and sweet in flavour. benefit the pancreas (as they help to regulate blood sugar. Compared to other beans, it has a higher iron content and therefore is good to improve blood quality.

Oranges are cooling in nature with a sweet and sour flavour. The sweetness helps to regenerate bodily fluids, and the sour helps astringe them to keep you hydrated. The sweet flavour awakens the spleen, and the sour flavour stirs the liver qi, calling upon the digestive processes to commence.

Oranges are particularly good for those who are dry and dehydrated, so it’s a great snack to bring along on a sunny day trip. They help ease arthritis, or any diseases with a high concentration of acidic build up in the body.

The orange peel (if unsprayed by chemicals) can be used medicinally as well. The orange fruit itself has a tendency to create mucus if overeaten, or eaten by those who have a build-up of internal dampness. The peel, if dried, can be made into a tea. This tea can help break up the mucus and dry up phlegm, even more so if combined with a few slices of fresh ginger. I find it fascinating how the fruit, from inside and out, has a way of balancing itself.

This is a great side to have especially if you’ve been indulging in heavy or grilled foods. It is light enough to cleanse your palate, but also substantial enough to have as a meal due to the filling chick peas!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 1/4 cup of a red onion, finely diced- Pungent, helps balance the cooling nature of the orange
  • 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro- Slightly warming, helps improve circulation and removes mercury from the body
  • 1 orange, chopped into cubes or slices

Dressing:

  • 1 tsp of ground cumin seed- Warming, aids digestion
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar- Stimulates appetite, moves liver qi
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar- balances spleen and liver (as it is sweet and sour)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, give or take- benefit the spleen and heart
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower kitchen’s “Zest-Oh Pesto”, available at most health food stores.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

(There may be dressing left over. Add the dressing bit by bit until you reach your desired level of “sauciness.” You don’t have to use it all! Keep in mind that the oranges will also contribute their juice to the overall liquid content)

Method:

  1. Combine the cumin, oil, rice and balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and whisk until dressing is uniform. Set aside.
  2. Drain the chick peas and rinse under water. Let them dry
  3. Place the drained chick peas in a large bowl. Combine with chopped onion, cilantro, and orange.
  4. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat the contents evenly with dressing.

Modifications: If you are feeling extra hot, try chopping up a sprig of mint or two into the salad. If you want add bit of heat, add some fresh chili, or dried chili flakes.

Enjoy!

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