Food Bloggers Against Hunger: Simplest Chickpea Salad

Simplest Chickpea Salad1Simplest Chickpea Salad

I’m joining today with more than 200 other food bloggers to fight against hunger, an issue that millions of Americans and even more millions around the world face on a daily basis.

I was struck more than a month ago when I was asked by a blog follower how she would be able to do my Green Smoothie Challenge on a budget of $50 for her family for the week. I had to reply: “You can’t” Of course my reply was more heartfelt and helpful than that, but it made me realize how lucky I am to be able to afford all the fresh produce and healthy foods that I want. When you do the math, this person, with a family of four had a budget of $7.14 per day, or $1.78 per person for food for her family. Those figures broke my heart.

Many impoverished Americans are forced to eat poorly. When boxes of generic macaroni and cheese can be found for .33 cents and a packet of ramen noodles can be bought for less than a quarter, it’s no wonder that some of the nations poorest families eat the most nutritionally devoid foods. It’s a bit disturbing that An apple costs more than a cheeseburger on the dollar menu at a drive thru because the government subsidizes beef the beef, dairy and corn that go into making that hamburger, but it doesn’t subsidize apples. 

My goal today was to create a healthy meal for less than a dollar. One that would take less time to create then going through the drive thru and one that would trump that fast food cheeseburger and provide more nutrients.

Simplest Chickpea Salad

Simplest Chickpea Salad

  • One can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used one that my mom canned for me, so it was free, but you can find a generic can of chickpeas at Walmart for .68 cents or less
  • 1-2 diced tomatoes, (1/4 lb, bought at .99 cents a pound)
  • drizzle of olive oil (pantry item)
  • drizzle of red wine or balsamic vinegar (pantry item)
  • dash of garlic powder (pantry item)
  • 1/2 t. of dried basil (pantry item)
  • salt and pepper to taste (pantry items)

Method: Combine all in a bowl. Serves 2 for less than .50 cents per serving

Nutrition Stats for the Drive thru Cheeseburger

Calories 300 Calories from Fat  110

% Daily Value Total Fat 12 g 18%,  Saturated Fat 6 g 30%,   Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 40 mg 13%, Sodium 750 mg 31%, Total Carbohydrate 33 g 11%,   Dietary Fiber 2 g 8%,   Sugars 6 g, Protein 15 g 30%, Vitamin A (IU) 300 6%, Vitamin C 1.2 mg 2%, Calcium 200 mg 20%, Iron 2.7 mg 15%

Nutrition Stats for the Chickpea Salad

Calories 289.3 Calories from Fat  45

% Daily Value Total Fat 4.88 g 8%,  Saturated Fat 0.6 g 3%,   Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg 0%, Sodium 636.5 mg 27%, Total Carbohydrate 51.32 g 17%,   Dietary Fiber 10.01 g 40%   , Sugars 10.89 g, Protein 11.05 g 22%, Vitamin A (IU) 566.99 11%, Vitamin C 15.9 mg 26%, Calcium 75.16 mg 8%, Iron 3.07 mg 17%

I’m certainly NOT the expert on affordable healthful eating. So, for healthy eating on a budget, I invite you to look at my friend Nick’s Blog, Frugal Feeding. His whole agenda is how to eat well and eat affordably. For those wanting to eat cheaply on a vegan diet, I recommend a book by Ellen Jaffe JonesEat Vegan on $4 a day.



VISIT: Share Our Strength

WATCH: the A Place at the Table, via Amazon or iTunes

GIVE THANKS: to The Giving Table, for creating this event

DO: Take action! click here and take a minute to send a letter to Congress asking them to support anti-hunger legislation. Doing so will protect nutrition programs that help fight hunger in the US.


  1. I never used to be a fan of chickpea’s on their own only mushed into a hummous. May give this a go at some point! But it’s great that you took the time to think of a wholesome meal that any body can do! We’re currently in a triple dip recession over here in the UK!

    1. Oh, I adore chickpea salad! If you have crunchy veg around, i.e, cucumber, celery and onion, you can definitely add them to the bunch. The only reason I left them out here is to keep the cost down.

      I hope we all come out of this recession soon!

  2. Reblogged this on Veg Bon Vivant and commented:
    The very fact that food insecurity exists in America is shameful. Thanks to Vedged Out and other food bloggers for bringing attention to this problem one blog reader at a time. In Grand Rapids you can help fight hunger through Feeding America West Michigan by donating, time, money, or food to help families in West Michigan. View their site: to see how your talents best fit their needs.

    1. It’s terribly shameful. We all need to do our part. Our family gives a portion of our income each month to provide food for others in need. If only all who could afford to do so would, there would be much less hunger. Thank you so much for mentioning how to help in Michigan. xx -Somer

  3. This is also an issue close to me, especially after having watched A Place at the Table. Thanks for posting this 🙂

  4. I like where you’re going with this. And I also want to point out that 5 of the 7 ingredients in your recipe were “pantry items”. No price was listed next to them thus seeming to indicate they are a no-cost part of the recipe. In order to have pantry items in your pantry they have to actually be purchased. Olive oil, being the priciest of the pantry items, can average about $8 which is more than the $7.14 per day you said the family of four had available to spend. It’s a lot like the old adage – “In order to save money you have to spend money.” Most people don’t have a cache of bucks to do this. I am a vegan, unemployed and living on a strict budget so I am pleased to see that the blog-o-shpere is joining together to address this long running issue – healthy foods (ie necessary foods such as fruit, veggies, grains, legumes) costing so much more than horrifyingly produced (and wastefully, governmentally subsidized) meat and dairy. I look forward to seeing where this conversation takes us all. Thanks for the two resources.
    PS But, buy the can of beans at Walmart!?! Really?! The evil empire!? Why not Target, Aldi’s, sales at local grocery stores or, last and least of my favorites, buy dried beans and cook them.

    1. Thanks for your input. I realize I do assume here that a family would have some basic pantry staples, which are not included in the price. The cost of each ingredient is literally pennies per serving. I use olive oil in the recipe, but it’s only a drizzle. A drizzle is probably equivalent to a teaspoon. The bottle in my pantry has 32 tablespoons, I paid $5. for the bottle. It equals 96 (teaspoons) servings or 5 cents for 1 teaspoon olive oil. My garlic powder and basil spices were .50 cents per container. Salt and pepper…. So this recipe is still VERY affordable since the seasonings would be able to be used again for other recipes. If one wanted to cut cost, they could certainly do without the oil, or use another more affordable oil.

      As much as I didn’t want to, the reason I use Walmart as an example in this post is that it is consistently the most affordable for families on a budget. (i.e, I know this same can of generic beans would be $1.00 to $1.20 at another store, at Whole Foods a can of beans is nearly $2) I did an experiment several years back when we were on a tighter budget. Over a 3 week period, I shopped the same items at Walmart, then at Target, then my local Smith’s grocery store. I spent $74 at Walmart, $95 at Target and $112 at Smiths for the same items on my grocery list. The fact is, more families can afford to shop there then elsewhere. I personally don’t shop at Walmart much anymore, but I can afford not to. Lots of people don’t have the same luxury I do.

      If you look at my recipe, you’ll also notice I do use beans that my mom cooked from scratch and then canned for me, I think that is the most affordable way to do beans. However, I was trying to show this recipe can be made in a pinch, therefore giving the store bought canned bean option.

      Thanks again Lynda

      1. Thanks for your response, Somer. I completely understand that Walmart is cheaper in the moment. I have several friends and family members that shop there.
        My concern, as I’m sure you’re aware, is their unfair and almost inhumane employment practices as well as the unfair trade sources of many of their products. And, soon after they’ve moved into an area, many of the local businesses are decimated. So, the people they employ are paid unfair wages and frequently need food stamps, the businesses they shut down leave behind unemployed workers and most of their products are bought overseas thus not supporting the American economy.
        All of this leads to a lot more food insecurity. There is something inherently wrong with this downward spiral.
        People smarter than I, can, I’m sure, connect the dots and explain how all of this is related – Walmart business practices, governmental subsidies, meat and dairy factory farming, global warming, US citizens barely able to afford to feed themselves and our conversation about “an apple costing more than a box of mac and cheese”. I just know that it feels very wrong.

        I appreciate what your doing and agree that the food situation in our country is heartbreaking. Actually, I think it’s criminal. I am trying to find a third alternative here (other than supporting Walmart-type businesses or being forced to eat from the dollar menu at McDonald’s) so that we don’t dig the hole even bigger for the next generation. I think it’s going to take a combination of individual food/life style choices/changes and activism.

        I mostly use canned beans because I find them so convenient but will consider cooking and canning them myself as you mentioned. I never seem to have much luck getting them soft enough when I cook or pressure cook them. I’d love to know where you find spices for .50 a container. I’m on the East Coast. Are you out West?

        PS One hopeful change I’ve seen is that food stamps can now be used at farmer’s markets.

        1. I live on the East Coast and find a lot of spices at the Dollar Store. Granted, not .50 but still a lot cheaper than the grocery store and the containers are usually pretty large.

        2. Bulk sections. You can buy nearly any herb or spice in bulk, for pennies. And they can be organic. Most bulk bins are stocked from Frontier Food Co-op’s products.

          As for Walmart…well…tis better than starving IMO.

          1. yes! I forgot about spice bulk sections. Our Smith’s has one. can get just a pinch of this or that for pennies if you need to. Thanks Sarah! xx

        3. Yeah, I understand the Walmart cycle. It’s tricky… But I have to admit, that’s where I got my $.50 cent spices. I refuse to pay $4 bucks elsewhere for garlic powder, parsley and lots of other spices when I can get them at Wally for $.50 cents. But yes, like another reader mentioned, Dollar stores are a really good source for spices too.

          I love that food stamps can be used at Farmer’s Markets now. I’ve also heard (it may be a rumor) that people who receive food stamps can get a larger allowance if they spend a certain portion on fresh produce.

          As for getting the beans soft enough, perhaps you just need a bit longer cook time? I’ll have to ask my mom 🙂 she’s the expert. They’re perfect.

          1. This thread makes me feel guilty for using A LOT of olive oil :D. I’d rather save money elsewhere that sacrifice olive oil. Though for cooking – not so much salads – we used olive pommace oil, which is far cheaper. We got 5-litres for little over £7. Good job, since I reckon I must get through about 1 litre per week! 😀

            1. That’s a great deal on the pommace oil Nick! It’s possible to buy oil in bulk here at good prices too, I just usually don’t buy them that way since it takes me a while to get through a bottle of oil and I don’t want it to go rancid.

              I wouldn’t feel bad about it! If all of us were put on a budget, I think there would be luxuries or certain things we might continue to buy… for me it would probably be organics (as much as I could).

  5. Can’t wait to try this and thanks for the book suggestion! I’m a single mom so I need to pinch the pennies!

  6. Love chickpeas. This is a great simple, cost effective dish. Like the comparison. I agree….a lot of people eat fast food becuase it’s so cheap unfortunately! 😦 I love to eat my chickpeas heated with some nutritional yeast, broth and smidge of cayenne and smoked paprika over the stove. Cheesy chickpeas…yum.

    1. Thanks Brandi! It’s actually one I indulge in several times a month when I’m too lazy to make anything else. So easy and so satisfying. I never thought to post it before, because it’s almost a non recipe because it’s so simple. Your chickpeas sound divine! My favorite bean!

  7. The nutrition comparison is a great idea, along with putting together a super fast and easy salad. That’s impressive that your mom is canning beans. I’ve been a little too scared. Maybe I should try it. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, my mom makes everything look easy. I still haven’t dared do beans by myself! You totally need to try, such a great alternative to store bought.

  8. Told Congress. Cut and pasted the last sentence and put it first.

    “Let’s not balance the budget on the backs of children who need us.”


  9. Good job! A Place at the Table is great too.
    A few thoughts:
    Whole Foods No Salt Added beans are a dollar a can.
    Better yet, cook dry beans at home. Dry beans average $2 a pound in a regular market, yielding the same as 4-5 cans. Drops the price way down.
    Tomatoes are expensive, but onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and cabbage are cheap and nutrient dense.
    Ellen Jaffe Jones was inspired by the starch based diet of Dr. John McDougall, and this newsletter in particular:
    Want a truly cheap meal? Split pea soup: onion, carrot, celery, potatoes, a pound of split peas and seasoning. Will feed a small army for pennies.

    1. I wonder if our prices are higher at the Whole Foods I shop at. Or if I was looking at the organic beans…. Anyway I appreciate your input.

      I totally cook dry beans at home all the time. And yes, that’s the most affordable way to do it. The point I was trying to illustrate here is that you can eat very quickly and very cheaply if you need to.

      Oh and I love split pea. I have a recipe for it on my site here. SO cheap!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

    1. It’s kinda like a caprese salad, especially if you have fresh basil on hand (which I prefer), but it’s expensive if you don’t grow it yourself, which is why I didn’t include it here.

  10. I really like this one. Chickpeas are loaded with good things, and they’re very filling!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, if you look at the nutrient stats, they have more iron than the cheeseburger. Pretty cool 🙂 Of course fiber is higher too. Love em!

  11. Love this easy salad Somer! As a food lover, you simply must try cooking beans on your own (here goes my scoldy older sister moment, haha!) as you will appreciate the taste more than anything – the difference is incomparable between canned & freshly cooked – especially with chickpeas! Do it once..just for me, I’d love to hear how it goes! : – )
    So happy you were able to contribute, and I do hope this is the start of something big. Big love. xx

    1. Oh honey! I DO cook my own beans and often 🙂 I promise! Nothing like hummus from home cooked chickpeas! I just don’t can them on my own like my mom does. She’s so lovely, when she comes she brings her pressure cooker and will can batches of pinto and chickpeas for me since they’re the beans I use the most. Makes very quick work out of rushed dinners. The reason I show canned beans in this post is simply to show how quickly an inexpensive meal can be put together, rather than dashing through a drive through.

      My favorite bean to cook myself is black beans. Oh man, I love them with chipotle seasonings!

      Big love right back at you! xx

      1. Phew! I was reading through the comments and I thought to myself … NO WAY! Of course you do. Duh. That just did NOT seem at all right or even possible!! 🙂 🙂

  12. Simple and effective! Somer, while I didn’t take on this project (maybe I should have…) I like that your dish was so simple – I grew up poor and well, I know how hard it is – especially when one is pressed for time, money and living in a food dessert. Walmart might be mocked, but frankly it is often the only choice but can still be full of good foods. I could say a lot more…but I’ll bite my tongue 😉 You know me too well!

    1. Sarah, your comment means the world to me. Thanks for speaking up. I wish you could have been a part of this event, you would have done it a better justice then I did, but I reckon you’ll write your own take on this subject at some point.

      Yeah, I love to hate Walmart, but it’s an affordable option for many, and in some cases, (like one of our dear friends that lives in rural Oklahoma) the only store around within an hour’s driving distance. What’s a girl to do?

    1. Oh man, that breaks my heart. I remember watching a documentary about a poor family, they totally chose cheeseburgers because broccoli and other produce was more expensive. Sad!

  13. I participated in Food Bloggers Against Hunger as well and found the whole experience to be enlightening, depressing, inspiring….so many things! It’s just so important that people become aware of this issue and show that they care. Fantastic post and thank you for caring.

  14. Its immoral that the meat industry is so heavily subsidised (along with ANYTHING that Monsanto’ chooses to dip it’s unhealthy GM toes into 😦 ) and to discover that people can’t afford to eat healthy fresh vegetables and fruit is to see the real underbelly of an overprivilaged society. The ironic thing is that in third world countries, fruit and veggies are top of the list and the meat is the expensive ingredient (the way it SHOULD be). We first world countries have lost sight of the true cost of food production and allow it all to be cloaked in darkness so long as we get what we want, when we want it and as cheaply as possible. “We want fresh fruit and veggies cheaply Mr President!” The nefarious thing is that they are stopping people from growing their own fresh produce. It’s apparently unslightly and unsanitory and veggie gardens are being razed…what’s the agenda here folks? We NEED to be pushing community vegetable gardens, community food forests and healthy food for our children at all costs. Ignore it at our perril…you think that someone elses children are not your responsibility? Imagine what kind of adults they are going to turn into if they live on garbage and how disfunctional they are going to turn out? Imagine the resentment and the crime sprees that these undernourished brains are going to harbour and be afraid…be VERY afraid. We deserve our underbellies…some of them are so huge they are dragging on the ground and some are incredibly well hidden by the portrayal of “nothing to see here…everything is fine and dandy…” and don’t get enough to eat. I completely admire you guys for attempting to bring publicity to this shameful little secret that no-one should have to bear. Hunger in a first world country is an abomination that NEEDS to be stamped out when food is wasted hand over fist. Kudos Somer and this recipe looks “the business” 🙂

  15. What an amazing event and I love your contribution- I also love the side x side nutrition analysis of burger versus chickpea. Those numbers are very saddening- I do believe that the lack of education on food nutrition and prep, just the basics are lost in the majority of society today- all they know is processed, fast food living…then there is the whole issue of access to fresh fruits and veggies. What an amazing way to shed light on this situation many Americans and Canadians find themselves in on a daily basis.

  16. I was just thawing some “chicken” strips for vegan fajitas… I saw this on my FB. I cut up the “chicken strips” into small bite sized pieces. (Not a huge fan of the faux alternatives but it is nice for the added protein) and threw them in and made it a “hot dish” … I added a bit of Siracha for some kick. It almost had a “spaghetti-like” quality about it. I Know it adds to the cost but one could add some TVP which is fairly inexpensive for some added protein. Will make this again, even without the “chicken strips”.

  17. First, when I was a kid I hated that salad that was a Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve staple. Now I like them! Gonna try this 🙂

    Second, I buy my kale and spinach in large bags and freeze them in individual bags for my smoothies. I also freeze the other ingredients. That way they don’t go bad. I want to find time to start a garden to lower my Smoothy costs too. Keep up the good work!

  18. This is an excellent recipe, and I am glad you showed just how inexpensive it can be to eat healthy. Most people I know don’t eat healthy because they say it cost too much. They don’t believe me when I tell them it is actually cheaper.

  19. Here we are, a country of plenty and millions of people go hungry every day — children among them. Of those lucky enough to get something, anything, nutrition seems an afterthought. Subsidies (for corn) have all but ruined our food security. Cheap meals that are highly processed, convenience packages with extraordinary amounts of waste, nutritionally empty and perfected factory-grown animal flesh that pushes the boundaries of ethics, all of these we readily call “food.” Sad. So, so sad.

    Kudos to you for this post. It is entirely possible to feed a family on $5 to $10 a day and stay away from ramen and boxed mac-n-cheese. It really CAN be done. Education is key, I believe. Real solutions, like your chick pea salad.

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