Accidentally vegan: Spinach and chickpea salad

I’ve never made anything like this salad before, and I’m not quite sure why. I love all the ingredients, but it’s just not the sort of dish that comes to mind when I’m planning dinner! Tonight though, it seemed inevitable. A spare can of chickpeas, a forgotten sweet potato and some leftover fresh herbs later, I know I will be making variations of this salad more often – it’s easy, fresh, healthy and vegan (which was completely unplanned). It’s also perfect for packed lunch!

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There are many ways to adjust this salad to your liking. I used fresh basil, tarragon, and parsley, but you could also add coriander or even mint. Spices are up to you, and so is the type of mushroom – anything from oyster to portobello would fit just as well!

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Serves two (or one, with a couple of packed lunches included)

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and washed (400g undrained, 240g drained)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 7 mushrooms (I used normal white ones, but you can use any kind), thinly sliced and then halved
  • 2 gloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g fresh spinach (I like using baby spinach as the stalks are smaller)
  • Variety of fresh herbs – I used basil, tarragon and parsley
  • Salt, black pepper, paprika powder and lemon juice (to taste)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a small baking tray with tin foil and mix up the sweet potato pieces with the olive oil, cumin, coriander and salt. Roast until soft (this should take about 30 minutes).

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In a large bowl, mix up the chickpeas with the fresh herbs. Keep aside.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a small, non-stick pan and fry the garlic for 2-3 minutes, until it’s just turning golden. Add the mushrooms with a bit of salt and fry until soft. There will probably be some liquid at the bottom of the pan, so just remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and add to the chickpea bowl. Pour away the liquid.

In the same pan, throw in all the spinach and fry until it’s wilted. Add to the bowl.

Once the sweet potato is done, add it to the bowl, along with the salt, pepper, paprika and lemon juice. Taste and season to your liking!

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