Fresh chickpea and heirloom tomato salad with mint

Fresh chickpea and heirloom tomato salad with mint

Now and then I find a vegetable that really excites me. So it was a couple of years ago, when I spotted tiny pale-green pods in a small basket, tucked among mountains of green and cranberry beans at my local farmers’ market.

“What on earth are these?” I asked Kwang, my favorite farmer.

“Chickpeas” he replied, with a wide smile…

Needless to say I bought the entire contents of his small basket and couldn’t wait to get home to taste and experiment.

I am a very big fan of dried chickpeas and cook with them quite often. But fresh chickpeas I had never seen. The pods are small and squat. They make a sweet little popping sound when you break them; and to my amazement, each pod contains only 1 or 2 chickpeas.

Shelling fresh chickpeas is best done while occupying your mind with something else — like calling a chatty friend or watching a good program on TV. The task is not accomplished quickly… But the results are so, so worth the effort!

Fresh chickpeas taste a bit like fava beans. They are very tender and have a lovely green flavor to them — enough flavor, in fact, to make me a convert. Since chickpeas are in season at the peak of summer, I decided to create a salad with three beans and heirloom tomatoes — all my favorite tastes of summer, wrapped up in one sublime dish!

Bon appétit and happy summer!

Food & wine pairing: Bandol, rosé with green bean and fresh chickpea salad

Rose wine icon
A rosé from Bandol, the tiny but distinguished region in Provence, is a stunning accompaniment to this salad… but of course, just about any rosé would do!

Fresh chickpeas

Fresh chickpea and heirloom tomato salad with mint

serves 4
active time: 45 min

For the beans

  1. 1 teaspoon sea salt for blanching
  2. 12 oz (340 g) fresh cranberry beans – shelled
  3. 8 oz (225 g) green beans – stem ends trimmed only and cut on the diagonal in 1″ pieces
  4. 12 oz (340 g) fresh chickpeas – shelled (fava beans or lima beans are good substitutes – see cook’s note)
  5. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  7. 2 sprigs fresh mint – leaves removed from stems and cut in 1/16” strips (en chiffonade)

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  2. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  4. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. 1 lb (455 g) mixed heirloom tomatoes (Russian, zebra, green, orange, yellow, cherry, grape, husk, etc.) – cut in 1/2″ pieces (grape and husk tomatoes are left whole)
  2. baby greens as garnish

  1. Step 1: Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. Set aside. Fill two medium heavy-bottomed saucepans with water and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to each pot. Blanch the cranberry beans in one pot for 15 minutes until tender. Blanch the green beans in the other pot for 4 minutes until tender. When the green beans are ready, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice water bath until cooled. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Step 2: Using the same water, blanch the chickpeas for 5 minutes. Transfer to the ice water bath until cooled and drain on paper towels. When the cranberry beans are done, transfer them to the ice water bath until cooled and drain on paper towels. Place the three beans in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Add the salt and mint. Toss well and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Step 3: To make the vinaigrette – In a small bowl whisk the balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Divide the beans in the center of 4 plates, top with the tomatoes and garnish with a few baby greens. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, top with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
  4. Cook’s note: If using fava beans or lima beans instead of the fresh chickpeas:
    – Fava beans: blanch 2 to 3 minutes depending on their size – must be skinned once blanched
    – Lima beans: blanch 8 to 10 minutes depending on their size

Fresh chickpea and heirloom tomato salad with mint

salad, fresh chickpeas, heirloom tomatoes

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  • Reply Angie@Angie's Recipes July 28, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    This is the salad that you can only find in the gourmet restaurants!

  • Reply Deb July 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    A fleeting touch of mint is a magnificent addition to this marvelous summer salad. I imagine this would be a splendid salad to pack on a picnic or take to a potluck gathering. Enjoying seasonal produce is one of summer’s many pleasures!

    • Reply Viviane July 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you Deb! I couldn’t agree with you more… and I’m already dreading the cold weather!

  • Reply Eva Toneva August 26, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Delicious and beautiful!

  • Reply Ann August 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Stunning…absolutely stunning! I’ve never seen fresh chick peas, either!

  • Reply Kelly August 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Wow what a gorgeous salad, your presentation is incredible!! 🙂

  • Reply Sandra August 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Your salad looks like art work.

  • Reply Susan August 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    That salad is darling! Really! What a fantastic presentation! Looks phenominal! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply visda August 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    wow! This really looks like an artwork. I could totally get inspired by your dishes to create art. Also thanks for the great instructions, very detailed and helpful.

  • Reply janet@fromcupcakestocaviar August 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Beautiful photo Viviane. And I love the info on fresh chickpeas. It’s one of those beans you just don’t see fresh and tend to think of as nature having created it dried or canned lol

  • Reply Best Salads August 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    What a gorgeous salad! I’ve never seen fresh chickpeas before and am now on the hunt for them…

  • Reply Sandra's Easy Cooking August 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Really beautiful dish, full of flavor, freshness and color..your video is very helpful!

  • Reply Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. August 25, 2011 at 10:53 am

    This salad is beautiful and it has great flavors!

  • Reply Donna Ford June 6, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Another great video Viviane. Your recipe is beautiful and so refreshing. I can’t wait to give it a try! And I love the music by Marc Farre!

  • Reply Mrs Purvi Malkan August 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

    For only Vegan or vege dishes

    i like ur cucumber soup recipe it’s very easy to make

    do you know how to make barly soup?

  • Reply Aunt Lollie August 6, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Viviane, i just discovered your site and it’s absolutely beautiful! And this salad looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I adore legumes as a source of protein and never saw those cranberry beans or the raw chickpeas.

    I must also comment on the heirloom tomatoes. All year I, too, look forward to them and last Saturday i made a salad with them and were disappointed. I found they tasted like regular, nothing-special, tomatoes. It may have something to do with the weather since we’re having a disappointingly cold summer. I’m in So. California and we haven’t had more than 4 or 5 days of real summer. Perhaps later in the summer i’ll have better luck with the heirlooms.

    I hope you’ll check out my blog since i’m new to this and could use as much feedback as possible.

    Again, thank you for your beautiful recipes.

  • Reply Karine September 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I would love to taste this salad! It sounds so good… and there is mint in it (I am mint fan)

  • Reply maggie August 26, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Funny, I just posted about fresh chickpeas too!

  • Reply Allison Arevalo August 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    They do taste like fava beans, but I think I like favas better – hmm, it’s a tough call. I tried fresh chickpeas for the first time earlier this year, and substituted them for dried chickpeas in one of my favorite pasta dishes. Totally transformed the dish, and got me hooked on this sort of new ingredient.

  • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre August 19, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Denise and Becky,

    Thank you so much for your kind words – I am grateful for your input and so glad you enjoyed the video and post.

    And hopefully you’ll be able to find fresh chickpeas near you as well!

  • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre August 19, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Jen, Thank you so much for your comment. There are certain times when I regret not being able to grow my own vegetables – how I wish I could grow chickpeas!

    I have found this resource for growing instructions and heirloom seeds. Since you are such an avid gardener I thought you may be interested:

    Chickpea is a cool weather crop and should be planted like peas, in early spring. I think our climate is probably perfect for it.

    If you decide to grow them next year, please let me know! Meanwhile, Yuno’s Farm grows them although this year his crop has had a very low yield. He is at the Piermont Farmers Market every Sunday, just down the road from you.

  • Reply Becky August 18, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Wow the work and dedication you put into your cooking is inspirational! I love the video and like the commenter above, I’ve never seen a fresh chickpea only the beige canned version.

  • Reply Chez US - Denise August 18, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Lovely salad. We love fresh chickpeas but only seem to find them, maybe, once a year. We recently took them on a camping trip and made a wonderful chorizo dish. I will have to remember your recipe for the next time I find them!

  • Reply Jen August 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Gorgeous – that salad looks like a sculpture, Viviane- so many colors and textures. And I gotta thank you for showing me a picture of fresh chickpeas. I definitely would not have recognized them for what they are! I wonder if they’re hard to grow…

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