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Easy dinner recipes: Three garbanzo bean salads for Gluten-free Wednesday

It's Wednesday. You know what that means. An opportunity to change your diet to eliminate gluten for a day. These salads are unconditionally delicious. Bon appetite!Whether you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, if you're a fan, they don't get much better than this refreshingly bright salad, one of our Top 10 Recipes from 2011. Marinate chickpeas in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil and salt, then toss them with some Spanish chorizo, tomatoes and a little garlic, green onion, parsley and bell pepper. Marinate the beans first thing in the morning, then assemble the salad in the last few minutes before you sit down to eat. It makes a colorful side, or a perfect light meal. - See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2012/05/dinner-tonight-chickpea-salad-with-chorizo.html#sthash.J3QhXScu.dpuf

Chickpea salad with chorizo: Whether you call them garbanzo beans or chickpeas, if you're a fan, you won't get a much better chance to enjoy them than this refreshingly bright salad, one of our Top 10 Recipes from 2011. Marinate chickpeas in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil and salt, then toss them with some Spanish chorizo, tomatoes and a little garlic, green onion, parsley and bell pepper. Marinate the beans first thing in the morning, then assemble the salad in the last few minutes before you sit down to eat. It makes a colorful side or a perfect light meal.

Curried chickpeas: The curry blend in this recipe gives an otherwise simple salad wonderful depth and robust flavor. Coriander and cumin lend fragrant earthiness, with a little cayenne pepper added for a hint of heat. The caramelized onions add richness, and the cilantro and lemon juice brighten the salad nicely, distinguishing the flavors. You can make it in advance; this is one salad that improves with chilling time.

QUICK & EASY: Terrific recipes in under an hour

Garbanzo and fresh vegetable salad: From former Test Kitchen Director Donna Deane, who writes, "Garbanzos are a great source of vegetable protein, and they have a nutty flavor that goes well in salads. This simple, fresh-tasting salad combines garbanzos with freshly chopped vegetables. Toss them with a vinaigrette dressing made with a small amount of olive oil and let the salad marinate to develop flavor. Serve it on watercress, a springtime favorite."

If you are sensitive to gluten, check all ingredients to make sure they are gluten-free before using, as many may contain trace gluten (such as spices, a number of which include flour as an anti-caking agent) and/or are produced in facilities that also process gluten-based products.

You can find the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

CHICKPEA SALAD WITH CHORIZO (Garbanzos aliñados con chorizo)

Total time: 10 minutes, plus marinating time

Servings: 6 tapas or 4 salad servings

Note: Start this recipe a day or two before serving, as you'll need to allow time to soak the chickpeas before cooking, then to marinate them in the oil and lemon dressing. Or, use two jars of ready-to-eat chickpeas instead of cooking them. Drain the liquid, rinse the chickpeas in water, then add the marinade.

3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained

Salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut in 3/8-inch dice

1 green onion, including some of the green part, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

12 pitted black olives

1. Place the chickpeas in a medium bowl and toss with the salt, oil and lemon juice. Cover and set aside to marinate at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.

2. Shortly before serving, add the parsley, garlic, chorizo, spring onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and olives. Add additional salt, if necessary. Serve cold or room temperature.

Each of 6 servings: 278 calories; 11 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 15 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 261 mg sodium.

CURRIED CHICKPEAS

Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Joan's on Third

1/2 cup diced onions

4 teaspoons best-quality olive oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste

Salt

1. In a large saute pan heated over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until deep golden and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas, cilantro and lemon juice and continue to stir to develop the flavors, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt, or to taste.

4. Cool the salad, then transfer it to a container, cover and refrigerate until chilled before serving, at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice as desired. This makes just over 3 cups salad.

Each of 4 servings: 238 calories; 9 grams protein; 37 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 1 grams saturated fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 276 mg. sodium.

GARBANZO AND FRESH VEGETABLE SALAD

Total time: 25 minutes plus 1 hour standing

2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 cup diced carrots

2 cups diced yellow squash

1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 bunches watercress

Toss together garbanzo beans, celery, cucumber, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, green onions and parsley in bowl. Combine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over vegetables. Add salt and pepper and toss to coat. Let salad stand about 1 hour to marinate. To serve, arrange watercress on plate or platter and spoon salad on top.

Each of 8 servings: 172 calories; 790 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 2.48 grams fiber.

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