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COOKING ON DEADLINE: Recipe for grilled chickpea salad with red onion and sourdough

This April 21, 2014, photo shows grilled chickpea salad with red onion and sourdough bread in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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This April 21, 2014, photo shows grilled chickpea salad with red onion and sourdough bread in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Over the years, I've received roughly a half dozen of those perforated grilling pans as gifts. You know the ones I mean. They usually have sloped sides and small holes in them. The idea is that they let you cook smaller items on the grill without fear of losing the food between the grates.

I've never used a single one of them. Not even once. Until now.

Maybe it's because I don't often grill small things. Or maybe it's because when I do, I'm lucky enough to get my food to straddle the grates without it falling into the flames. Whatever the reason, I never found the need to dirty a pan. After all, one of the treats of grilling is no cleanup.

But as I contemplated a grilled salad, I realized I might finally have found a use for one of my six pans. I wanted to try grilling chickpeas for use in a grilled bread salad. Chickpeas are delicious when roasted, so it stands that they also would be delicious when grilled.

But even I would have trouble keeping these suckers from falling through the grates.

Are you one of the few Americans who doesn't own (and never use) one of these grilling pans? No fear. Just toss the chickpeas with some oil and pop them on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast them in the oven at 450 F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just starting to brown.

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GRILLED CHICKPEA SALAD WITH RED ONION AND SOURDOUGH

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large red onion, cut into thin rounds

1 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into strips

15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 loaf (about 19 ounces) sourdough bread, cut into 2-inch croutons

5-ounce container arugula

Heat a grill to high. Set a perforated grilling pan on the grill directly over the heat source.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, bell pepper, chickpeas, garlic powder, smoked paprika and 1 tablespoon of oil, tossing to coat evenly. When the grilling pan is very hot, transfer the mixture to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers are lightly browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a clean serving bowl. Set aside.

In a bowl, toss the croutons with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Place the croutons directly on the grill grate. Cook, turning often, until lightly browned and crisp. Use tongs to transfer the croutons to the bowl of chickpeas and vegetables. Add the arugula, then toss well to slightly wilt the arugula. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, then toss again to coat. Divide between 6 serving plates.

Nutrition information per serving: 460 calories; 110 calories from fat (24 per cent of total calories); 12 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 73 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 16 g protein; 970 mg sodium.

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J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at jhirsch@ap.org

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