Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Frugal Me - Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Kalamata Olives

So the arrival of the new computer comes with a hefty bill. In which case, I've put a moratorium on going out/eating out. At least for the next month. To make this situation somewhat bearable, I decided to give myself a challenge. $20 for groceries and the current contents of my fridge and pantry to live off of for the next few weeks. Can it be done? Is it even possible? Will I fail miserably and go tearing into Trader Joe's in tears?

Well, so far so good. $20 went pretty far at my farmer's market. I came away with the following:
  • 3 Bell Peppers (1 a gorgeous eggplant color)
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 head of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 3 lbs tomatoes
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes
  • 1 basket strawberries
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1 loaf of sourdough
  • 1 bunch basil

So combine all that with a pantry full of staples (pasta, lentils, grains, rice and whatnot) a freezer full of homemade stock and frozen vegetables and meats, and I'm feeling pretty good about this challenge. Some soups, maybe a lasagna and a general cleansing of the pantry. I'm actually pretty stoked about this.

Until I made the tomato tart. Now that's a recipe I have yet to perfect.

I was redeemed when rifling through the back of the pantry and stumbling upon a can of chickpeas and a jar of kalamata olives. I tossed them together with carrots, celery and a red wine vinaigrette, and added some sauteed shallots for good measure. It was divine. The kind of effortless dish that works perfectly for a weeknight dinner, a weekend snack or a side dish at a BBQ or potluck. I was feeling quite proud of myself. Not to mention that it's pretty cheap to make. Chickpeas can be found at Trader Joe's for 89 cents a can! As long as things like this come out of this project, I tend to feel pretty good about frugal me.

Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Kalamata Olives
Serves 3

1 can chickpeas (washed, drained & dried)
1/2 cup kalamata olives (pitted and halved)
1 shallot
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Start by peeling the skin of the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Once the skin has been removed, continue to peel the carrot into long strips, until it's all peeled. Set the strips aside in a bowl with chickpeas and olives. Dice the celery and add to the bowl. Next, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium on the stove. Slice the shallot thinly and saute until translucent. Add to the carrots and chickpeas. Toss the mixture with the red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper. Serve.


  1. Yum! What a good idea! I have chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) in the pantry, and I never think of using them as the basis for a salad. I think they might be my new "base-layer" for creating "what's in my kitchen" dishes :)

  2. Wait, $20 for the whole week?! I thought you were talking per day or something.

    nice "polaroid" ;p

  3. $20 for TWO weeks! I think it can be done...we'll see. and I happen to like the polaroid, thanks for the tip!

  4. I made this tonight, but with green olives stuffed with blue cheese (didn't have kalamata), and without the shallots (I just cut up some raw red onion instead). It was delish! I'm going to add a little goat feta and take it in my lunch tomorrow :)

  5. Nice! Glad you liked it. It's so adaptable. You really have to try it with the sauteed shallots though. It makes all the difference with the red wine vinegar.