Kathy Hester is a food blogger and the author of some really great cookbooks that I’m happy to know about and have on my bookshelf because they demonstrate wonderful ways to substitute meat when you want to or you have to, for one reason or another. We met briefly at the Eat Write Retreat in Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago and later kept in touch when I interviewed her here about her book, The Vegan Slow Cooker. Now she’s published more cookbooks and I’m just getting caught up with her book, The Great Vegan Bean Book where I found lots of recipes I’ve wanted to try and share here on my own site.
One of my favorites that I finally got around to trying was this Indian Yogurt Salad.
Below I’ll show you how I make the recipe with several tweaks of my own for the ingredients I didn’t have on hand.
You’ll need some simple ingredients, all fresh and healthy. Most of the work comes from chopping, but that’s the therapeutic part, right?
I love that Kathy includes black salt in this recipe, as it’s not a common ingredient in American cooking cooking but it’s very popular in South Asian recipes.
Fortunately you can find it rather inexpensively at most Indian markets. This recipe calls for 1.5 to 2.5 teaspoons black salt (a.ka. kala namak).
Start out with cooked chickpeas then add the black salt. Kathy calls for three cups of chickpeas and I use two. You can use canned or fresh, but they should definitely be cooked. Additionally, add 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin, and one clove of garlic, minced. You can also add .5 to 1.5 teaspoons chili powder, if you have it.
Get about two cups of yogurt ready to go. Kathy uses one cup of soy yogurt and I use whole milk yogurt in my version.
Prep the fresh produce by chopping them up nicely. The recipe calls for 1 large cucumber, 1/2 small onion, minced and one large cooked potato. I didn’t have potatoes so I used tomatoes instead.
It’ll measure out to be about two cups cucumbers and one cup diced tomatoes.
Now this is what you should have all organized (a.k.a. mise en place, as the French chefs say). Also, I didn’t have cilantro on hand so I used parsley. I think cilantro is much better for this dish, but don’t let it stop you from making it if you don’t have the cilantro.
Into a larger bowl, pour the yogurt over the chickpeas and add all the freshly chopped veggies and herbs. Leave no yogurt behind here.
Once it’s all mixed together, it’s such a beautiful blend of flavors that can be eaten alone with a slice of rustic bread, or on top of a delicious dish of rice with a side of chicken, beef or lamb. Or not…
I decided to enjoy mine with a delicious piece of Persian bread that I was fortunate enough to find at a local supermarket.
I hope you’ll purchase a copy of Kathy’s book (you can do so here) and so you can get her exact vegan version of this delicious and healthy dish that can be made as a big as a meal or as small as a side dish. Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy!
- 2 cups whole milk yogurt
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans)- substitute white kidney beans, if desired
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1 whole cucumber, seeds removed and cucumber diced
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1.5 to 2 teaspoons kaali namak (black salt)
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 to 1.5 teaspoons ground chili powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- Place the chickpeas and the yogurt in two separate bowls, the chickpea bowl being at least twice as large as the yogurt bowl. Add the spices to the chickpeas.
- Clean and chop all fresh ingredients, removing any excess liquid from them.
- Pour the yogurt over the chickpeas and combine everything together until the spices have completely blended.
- Add the freshly chopped produce to the bowl of yogurt plus and chickpeas. Top with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley and combine well.
- Serve immediately or chill if serving later. Serve with a slice of fresh pita bread or as a side to rice dishes.