Chickpea Caesar Salad with Lemony Thyme Breadcrumbs

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Oh blog, how I have missed you! It’s only been one week, but I hate that I missed my 2 posts-per-week mark. Alas, the Fall semester is back in full swing and that’s just what happens when you are working on your Master’s and a food blog at the same time. Luckily I only have a few more months to go before this grad school journey has come to an end. I’m hoping to get into a new routine to keep the blog consistent, but things might get a little hectic this semester.

In other news, Eric and I moved to an adorable farm for our last four  months up in the mountains. We eat dinner every evening outside joined by the company of a sweet white lab, a cat, and a goat. You could say I’m in heaven. When I take my veggie scraps to the compost every day I save some scraps for Crook (named that because he has a crooked neck due to scoliosis), the goat who acts like a dog and comes to you when you call him. Life has been quite good lately.

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Today I’m sharing a chickpea Caesar with the most amazing breadcrumbs ever. The breadcrumb idea is an adaptation of my Aunt Donna’s lemon-thyme breadcrumbs, and let me tell you they are simply fabulous. I used up a stale baguette I had lying around the house, seasoned it with fresh thyme, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. The result is these bright crunchy cubes of deliciousness. I would say that the chickpeas are the star of the salad, but I’m not ashamed to admit it’s really the breadcrumbs. I may have had some self-control issues as I was dividing them not-so-evenly among the salad plates. And you know what I did with the leftovers? Rolled them all in a big flour tortilla for a delicious lunch wrap. Ohhhhh yes.

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I love a good Caesar salad. It’s so savory and salty, and it has such a nice richness that not a lot of salads can offer. I had the idea to add chickpeas because they are my go-to for vegetarian protein substitutions. They are lightly seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, and thyme and then crisped up in some olive oil. If you’re not a vegetarian and you wanted to make this salad with chicken, I’m sure it would work very well in place of the chickpeas.

I’m sorry for the lack of posts last week, but hopefully you can make this salad soon and all will be forgiven after you taste it!

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Chickpea Caesar Salad with Lemony Thyme Breadcrumbs

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

5 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped

Fresh Parmesan, for shaving over the top (roughly 1/4 cup over each salad)

1 batch Caesar Salad Dressing

For the lemony thyme breadcrumbs– 

2 cups cubed stale bread

1 heaping Tablespoon Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Make the breadcrumbs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the bread cubes, thyme, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil until all the cubes are nicely coated. Lay the bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, shaking the cubes around halfway through the cooking time. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan over high heat, add the 5 Tablespoons of olive oil and heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chickpeas to the oil and season with the paprika, garlic powder, Herbes de Provence, and salt and pepper (to taste). Allow the chickpeas to crisp up in the oil, about 8 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Divide the romaine evenly between the plates. Top each bed of lettuce with chickpeas, freshly shaved Parmesan, and a healthy drizzle of the Caesar dressing. Top with breadcrumbs and serve.

 

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