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Chickpea Bacon Balls aka Smoky Chickpeas

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Vegan Planet: Chickpea Bacon Balls aka Smoky Chickpeas

Monday, May 7, 2012


Chickpea Bacon Balls aka Smoky Chickpeas

My latest post on One Green Planet is a recipe for Smoky Chickpea and Watercress Salad with Mango and Avocado.  I strongly urge you to click on the link for the salad recipe.  You'll be glad you did and, I can tell you that although you may go for the salad -- you'll stay for those smoky chickpeas.  They're that good.  So good, in fact, that I just had to tell you more about them.

As I mention on OGP, I've had a thing for roasted chickpeas since my grandmother introduced me to them when I was a kid.  I couldn't help but think that roasted chickpeas might be an ideal vehicle for the smoky flavors contained in the marinade I use to make vegan bacon.  I thought about calling them "chickpea bacon balls" but decided "smoky chickpeas" was the better choice.

The inspiration for the smoky chickpeas came as I was thinking about the best spinach salad I ever had at a restaurant in my hometown. It was garnished with crumbled bacon and topped with a creamy dijon dressing. For my own part, I tend to make mustard dressing only when I have an almost empty mustard jar (so I don't waste any), which happened to coincide with my spinach salad memory and my acquiring some lovely watercress which I wanted to pair with mango and avocado. 

Suddenly the stars were aligning as I imagined how wonderful a smoky bacon flavor and a creamy mustard dressing would complement the watercress, mango, and avocado.  I've been making vegan bacon out of everything but the kitchen sink these days, from the usual tempeh and tofu, to kale, and sliced mushrooms.  Why not chickpeas?  After all, I add chickpeas to virtually all my salads anyway, but giving them a smoky-bacony flavor would really take them over the top.

Instead of a regular creamy mustard dressing I wanted to play up the flavors of the mango as well as the smoky chickpeas, so I added a bit of liquid smoke to the dressing along with some mango.  Oh yeah.

I predict that I will be making smoky chickpeas often.  They'd be great tossed with cooked grains and greens, or even on their own as a snack.  And I know for sure, they're going to grace my salads from now on! 

Are you going to try them? (If you do, let me know what you think of them!)

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You bet I'm going to try these chickpea balls! It may take me a while but I'll report back.
Those look incredibly delicious! But I worry that liquid smoke could be a carcinogen. I'm curious if you have any info about whether liquid smoke is safe.
An update: I googled liquid smoke, to try to figure out if it is safe. I found several discussions about it. Here's one with a lot of info, for example:
I am sorry to say that the author concludes by saying, "I do not see anything that convinces me that liquid smoke is completely safe to use."

My sense is that a couple of drops of it in a recipe once in a while is probably fine, but that it's probably not a good idea to eat a lot of it.
Eve, hope you enjoy them. I look forward to your report!

eValerie, I agree that since liquid smoke is so concentrated and used in such small amounts in recipes that it's probably not much to be concerned about. can cut back on the amount used in this recipe, if you wish, but they won't taste quite as "smoky" plus, a lot of the coating ends up staying in the pan and not on the chickpeas so the amount actually eaten is minimal.
I am a fool for smoked goodies - Gouda, turkey, the Liquid Smoke in your veggie burgers....the list goes on.

I would never have thought of doing smoky chickpeas! I love the idea! Also, the idea of making your own meatless bacon is intriguing to me. I may have to check that out.
Yum yum yum yum yum. Lunch tomorrow, for sure.
I made a batch of these today so I could use them on my salads. They were AMAZING, seriously addictive. I had to make myself stop snacking on them. I did manage to get them on a garden salad and they really complemented it. Thanks for the great idea and recipe.
They really are seriously addictive. It's hard to stop eating them once you start!
I made the chickpeas but could not find any mango so I'll have to wait to try the rest of the salad. Meanwhile, though, the "bacon balls" make a way-excellent filling for fresh pita!
Fabulous idea, Tamara!

The "bacon balls" are also great in a chickpea-tuna-style sandwich -- broken up in a food processor or with a masher and then combined with minced celery, vegan mayo, etc. -- w/lettuce and tomato.
I tried the smoky chickpeas. They're addictive. A friend of mine dropped by to visit, and I ended up getting them addicted to them, too. : ) We're figuring out other ways to use these lovely little morsels. YUM!!
I'm so glad that you tried them -- AND got your friends addicted too! ;)

Try them in a sandwich (after mashing or pulsing them in a food processor -- mix w/ celery, mayo, etc. as described in previous comment.

Also good to use in a smoky-hummus dip. Yum.
I mixed the smoky chickpeas with some mayo, whirled them in a food processor, then served them on bread with some brown mustard. YUM!!! I gotta get me some more chickpeas at the store! X D

That's two Robin-esque recpies that have found a very happy home in my kitchen - your veggie burgers, and now these!
The sandwich sounds great with mayo AND mustard - yum! Hope you try some more recipes -- I've got thousands of them!
Wow, those chickpeas look great!!
Made these with the Watercress Salad with Mango and Avocado. Delicious! I had to bring my own food to a wedding I was in recently and this salad was so beautiful and fancy I felt proud to be vegan! Added the leftovers smoky chickpeas to roasted red peppers on pizza tonight. Yum!
Margaret, they really are fantastic. I hope you try them!
Colleen, So great that you brought the salad to a wedding. Always nice to have a chance to show others how woderful vegan food is.
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