Fresh chickpeas are a simple delight. When steamed in their shell, the bright green tender little peas are not unlike edamame in both their nutty sweetness and snack-ability. They are usually only available a few weeks a year, as they are picked in their infancy; yet, like soybean edamame, they are becoming easier to spot in your local grocer’s freezer section. I love enjoying them simply steamed or tossing them into dishes where I would normally default to using a cooked dried chickpea or black bean.
This pasta salad is packed with flavors that really highlight the subtly decadent taste of the green chickpeas: I’ve speckled it with kalamatas, fresh apricots (which are perfectly in season right now), fresh parsley, and a special secret ingredient: fig balsamic (although any variety of balsamic vinegar will work beautifully). Be sure to make this dish at least 6 hours ahead of time to really allow the flavors to meld–overnight is best.
For the Dressing:
In a large pot, using a steamer insert and lid, steam the chickpeas for 6 minutes, or until bright green and fragrant. Rinse under cold water, remove from shells, and placed cooked chickpeas into a small bowl. Since de-shelling the chickpeas takes some time, I recommend boiling your pasta (the next step) as you remove the shells from the cooked chickpeas.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, but reduce time by about 1 minute less than required, or al dente. Once pasta is cooked, rinse well under very cold water, removing all starch and ensuring pasta is no longer warm.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Toss evenly onto the cooled pasta. Fold in the chopped beet, apricot, lime zest, fresh cilantro and parsley, kalamatas, red peppers and raisins. Salt and pepper to taste and top with plain nondairy yogurt.