Beetroot and Chickpea Salad

Beetroot and Chickpea Salad, by Debbi Weiss
Adapted from Monday Morning Cooking Club: The Food, The Stories, The Sisterhood

Beetroot—very Ashkenazi, and chickpeas—very Sephardi. This salad is a concoction of mine dedicated to unity! This recipe is best made using dried chickpeas and fresh beetroot. However, if you are short of time you can substitute 5 cups rinsed and drained canned chickpeas and 2 lbs. canned baby beetroot.

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
good pinch of salt
2 1/4 lbs. beetroot (baby if possible), scrubbed
olive oil, for drizzling
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
4 stalks celery, diced
1 Spanish (red) onion, diced
1 telegraph cucumber (substitute English cucumber), seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
7 oz. goat or sheep feta cheese, crumbled

DRESSING
juice of 2 lemons
1 clove garlic
4 mint leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 beetroot (or 1/4 cup beetroot juice from can, if using)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees for the beetroot.

Cook the soaked and drained chickpeas in a large saucepan with plenty of water for about 40-60 minutes until just tender. Add the salt to the water just before they have finished cooking. Drain and set aside to cool. This step is not necessary if using canned chickpeas.

While the chickpeas are cooking, season the beetroot with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap as a package in foil. Place on a baking tray and cook for 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, and wearing gloves, peel off the skins (tiny beetroot may not need peeling) and cut into quarters.

To assemble the salad, layer the spinach, beetroot, remaining chickpeas, celery, onion, and cucumber in a serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the chopped herbs and feta cheese.

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients into a small blender, add 1 cup of the cooked chickpeas and combine well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serves 14

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