This salad is a fun play on "chickweed" and "chickpeas" blended together with the Moroccan flavors of pomegranate, cumin, and possibly feta.
My list of favorite foraged greens is long, but chickweed *might* be in the top 5. If not the top 5, then definitely the top 10. Lucky for me, it is one of the most abundant "weeds" available and is also drought resistant - armageddon? Sign me up!
In the Bay Area, you'll find chickweed in abundance after rains when the sun inevitably returns and all the greens start poking up. What I love about this wild green is how soft and delicate the greens are, both in flavor and texture, while still having a slight crunch and very fresh flavor.
To identify chickweed, look for a sprawling plant with oval pointed leaves and possibly small white star-shaped flowers. The most obvious identifying characteristics are:
- It does not have milky sap
- It has one line of hairs on the side of the stem
- If you pull gently on the outer part of the stem, it will separate and there will be a thin inner part that does not separate (try a few times, it might take a bit to get the hang of it)
Some recipes call for cooking chickweed, but I think it's best raw or, maybe, slightly wilted over a soup or by the hot chickpeas in this salad. Serves 2.
- 3/4 cup cooked chick peas
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- 4 cups chickweed, washed and dried
1-2 ounces crumbled feta (optional)
Heat cast iron with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil on high. When cast iron is hot, add the chickpeas. Cook, stirring periodically, until beans are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Once cooked, place in bowl and toss with cumin and a few pinches of sea salt.
Add lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, remaining olive oil, and a pinch of salt to a mason jar. Whisk with a fork or cover jar and shake to combine.
Combine chickpeas with chickweed in a bowl, drizzle with dressing, and top with crumbled feta (if desired). Serve immediately.