Curry Chickpea Salad Pitas with Apple Slaw

An Indian-spiced chickpea and potato salad, topped with a bright apple cilantro slaw. The filling is perfect for tucking into soft pitas, or mix it up and use bread, tortillas or lettuce wraps instead. Gluten Free option. <jump to recipe>

This week has been all about quick meals. With the extra hour of daylight, Anguel and I are eagerly tackling what's felt like an ever-growing to do list. Things like re-committing to regular weekday exercise classes and getting a little extra home décor on just for fun (like this, and hopefully making our own version of this). So despite the extra daylight, we still needed to take some shortcuts in the kitchen – because there's still only so much time in a day, and we're only human after all.

Thankfully, these curry potato and chickpea pitas have made our meals this week a total breeze. I whipped up a big batch of chickpea salad at the beginning of the week, so that come meal time, all we needed to do was tuck it in some soft pita. And when putting a meal together takes all of five minutes, it means lots of time to do, well, everything else.

Looking back on this recipe, it all started with the yogurt. We don't often have yogurt in our fridge, but last week my mom picked up a container at the market. Anguel and I were up in Whistler skiing with our friends for the day and she knew how bummed I’d be about missing out on our weekly farmers' market haul (it's only open one day a week). So she took the solo trip and picked us up some produce. And yogurt. Then she dropped it off into our fridge before we returned home. Best mom ever, right?! When someone so kindly brings by groceries, you do the right thing: honor that food to your best ability. And enjoy the crap out of it. In our case, that meant stirring in some fragrant Indian spices and adding it to a bright, flavorful sandwich filling. The yogurt helps bind the mixture together – keeping it moist for days stored in the fridge – no mayo required. And if you've never had yogurt paired with Indian spices, you're definitely in for a treat. I used dairy yogurt, but I'd imagine you could substitute for a dairy-free yogurt of your choice (just make sure it's unsweetened and unflavored).

 Curry Chickpea Salad Pitas with Apple Slaw // Natural Girl Modern World // Gluten Free
 Curry Chickpea Salad Pitas with Apple Slaw // Natural Girl Modern World // Gluten Free

A combination of chickpeas and potatoes help to make the filling both energizing and satisfying. Chickpea salad sandwiches are no strangers to the vegan / vegetarian sandwich world. But I like to go one step further step further and add a bit of potato. The steamed potato cubes will get a bit mashed up when you combine all the ingredients together. And this is exactly what you want – it helps make the filling feel creamy and decadent. Kind of like a potato salad, but a million times better.

The apple slaw provides a crunchy, fresh element that pairs really well with the curried chickpea and potato. I encourage you to tuck in a generous serving, so you get a bit of apple in every bite. It's great contrast. And thankfully it's super simple to throw together: just slice up some apple and toss with lemon juice and cilantro. The lemon juice also prevents the apple from browning, so you can keep extras in the fridge for a day or two. If you still have leftover pita filling after that, simply make yourself an extra batch of slaw. We most definitely make extra, because we can't help but snack on it by itself or toss it in our salads.

You can feel free to stuff the pita with any other fresh vegetables you'd like. We almost always just tuck in a piece of lettuce for a bit of extra greenery, but you can feel free to get more creative. And, if you're feeling ambitious, you should try your hand at baking your own pita! Like this homemade spelt pita recipe (so good, but heads up, it's not gluten-free). Or, you could substitute the pita for your favorite bread or tortilla wrap. And, if you want to keep things even lighter, you could instead use lettuce leaves for the 'wraps'. Now that's a lot of options for one seriously yummy filling!

 Curry Chickpea Salad Pitas with Apple Slaw // Natural Girl Modern World // Gluten Free
 Curry Chickpea Salad Pitas with Apple Slaw // Natural Girl Modern World // Gluten Free

CURRY CHICKPEA SALAD PITAS WITH APPLE SLAW

SERVES 6 (GLUTEN FREE)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb yellow potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas*
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (~2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil**
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 6 pitas (gluten-free, if desired)
  • 6 pieces of lettuce

Apple cilantro slaw:

  • 2 apples, peeled
  • 1-2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Add ~2" of water to a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Bring to a boil. Add cubed potatoes and steam (covered) until the potatoes are soft enough to poke with a fork (approximately 10 minutes). To a large bowl, add steamed potatoes, chickpeas, celery, red pepper and green onions. 
  2. Meanwhile, assemble the apple cilantro slaw. Thinly slice apples into strips. Give the cilantro a rough chop. Add lemon juice and cilantro to taste. Stir to mix. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is melted, add red onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add cumin seeds and toast until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Stir regularly to avoid burning. Add the Madras curry powder, coriander and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Transfer cooked onion and spices to a small bowl. Add yogurt and lemon juice and whisk together. Pour the spiced yogurt mixture into the bowl of potatoes, chickpeas and vegetables. Use a spoon to stir until the yogurt is well incorporated into the mixture. Season with salt.
  5. Scoop filling into pita and add fresh lettuce. Top with with apple cilantro slaw, and any other fresh vegetables of your choice.

Notes:
*Either cooked from scratch or substitute with one 15 oz/425 g can.
**You may wish to opt for deodorized coconut oil. It doesn't impact the same coconut scent. You could also substitute with a different neutral oil, such as grapeseed.