Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Salad
The idea of using hot wing sauce on anything other than meat may sound a little sacrilegious to the most devout carnivore. And the thought of me using hot wing sauce, period, is a bit strange since I don’t even like wings and I (thought) I didn’t like hot wing sauce.
So why do I have the stuff around? Well, the nice people at Barhyte Specialty Food are hosting a recipe contest right now and urged bloggers to enter by sending them sample packs of some of their most popular condiments. I agreed to accept some (free!) samples, but I told them (in a very polite way) that if I didn’t like their products, I wouldn’t be blogging about it. I like you guys, and I want you to trust that when I “endorse” something, it’s because I really do like it and everything I say about it is my honest-to-goodness opinion.
For example: the Spicy Mama Hot Wing Sauce that came in my sample pack. I opened it, stuck the tip of my finger in the bottle, and hesitantly placed it on my tongue. I’m not sure what I was expecting — hot lava, maybe — but I was pleasantly surprised. Like I said, I’m not a hot wing sauce eater, so I have nothing to compare this to. That little dab was plenty spicy, but there was also flavor underneath the heat — slightly sweet and tangy.
Steve and I were both in the mood for salads one night, and I like to add some kind of protein when we eat salads as a meal. Recently I’ve been experimenting with roasted chickpeas and thought hot wing sauce might be an interesting addition. Let me tell you . . . they were too spicy for my kids, but they were some of the best “croutons” I’ve ever had. I also added a little wing sauce to the vinaigrette to give the whole salad a touch of heat. I didn’t want the salad too spicy, so I added some avocado, cucumber, and goat cheese to tone down the heat. Beautifully balanced, I must say.
Like I said earlier . . . this salad would probably be scoffed at by hot wing lovers, but would make vegetarians, or non-wing eaters like me, feel included at a party where wings are abundant. And we wouldn’t have wing sauce dripping from our chins.