Warm Chickpea Salad With Bacon And Olives, 47p [DF/GF]

Dear vegan and vegetarian readers, please do not despair. I haven’t gone back on myself and am not eating bacon; I have pledged to upload the contents of both of my cookbooks as a free resource to help people to cook on a budget in the wake of the news that the BBC will be removing recipes from its website. This means that a few non-veggie recipes may be appearing in your inboxes over the next few days, and I absolutely do not mean to cause anyone any offence or upset. I’m just trying to be helpful to people who will find these recipes useful in managing their household budget, or learning to cook.

Anyway, this recipe is from my first book, A Girl Called Jack, and was born of the bottom of a jar of sliced olives, some scraps of cooking bacon and a tin of chickpeas lurking in the cupboard. Olives may seem like a luxurious ingredient, but at around 60p for a 185g jar they deliver a strong, punchy livener for pennies if used sparingly. Once opened, they keep in the fridge for a few weeks, and can be used to make a tapenade (a rough paste for dipping things in, smearing on toast, or tossing through – just finely chop or whizz with garlic, lemon and oil), or added to a tin of tomatoes with some chilli and a dash of vinegar for a rough take on spaghetti alla puttanesca. All hail the olive, saviour of boring food. Because cheap doesn’t have to be boring. Welcome to my world, won’t you come on in…?

Serves two people as a hearty lunch at 47p each

2 fat cloves of garlic, 4p (35p/2 bulbs, Basics)

4 tbsp cooking oil, 6p (£3/3l sunflower oil)

1 tbsp lemon juice (bottled or fresh), 3p (50p/250ml bottle)

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, 39p (KTC brand)

1 small onion, 9p (80p/1.5kg bag of Basics onions)

2 tbsp finely chopped pitted black olives, 6p (60p/185g jar)

100g bacon, 17p (£1.15/670g Basics cooking bacon)

a handful of fresh parsley or coriander, 10p (80p/28g)
First make your simple salad dressing to give it a headstart. I make mine in a jar, lid it and shake it for an even and emulsified goodness. I tried looking for a simple definition of emulsification to describe what happens when you mix a salad dressing, because I don’t like using fancy cooking terms without explaining them (it’s what made me feel like I ‘couldn’t cook’ for a long time, because I didn’t know what ‘saute’ meant nor ‘roux’ and if only someone had said ‘gently cook’ and ‘butter-flour-paste-with-milk’ I might not have been so intimidated) …and I got this:

So not really the simple definition I was after!! Duodenums indeed.

Anyway I digress. Make a salad dressing. Basically, peel and finely chop your garlic into thin slices or small pieces or keep chopping until you have a paste, depending on how patient, dextrous and/or cross you are. Chopping garlic is gloriously therapeutic if you’ve got some stuff to work through, if you know what I mean. Pop the garlic into a jar. Add 3 tbsp of the oil and the lemon juice, with a grind of pepper if you have it kicking about. Pop the lid on the jar and shakey shakey shake it up until it goes thick-ish and cloudy. I am always fascinated by the transformation of clear oil into an almost opaque glop simply by adding something acidic and a good thrust or two. This, friends and readers, is emulsification.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the chickpeas (save the water to use as an egg replacer in recipes, it’s called aquafaba and it’s basically free and useful so don’t throw it away – and it doesn’t taste of anything once cooked in cakes etc, despite its slightly funky smell…)

Peel and finely chop the onion. Toss into a good sized pan with the olives. Chop the bacon into small pieces and add that too. Pour over a little oil and cook on a medium heat for five minutes or so, stirring occasionally to disturb the ingredients so they don’t stick, and to cook evenly. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further five minutes to warm through.

Pick the leaves from the parsley or coriander, reserving the stalks to use as chopped herbs in their own right, or drying them to use in a stock or sauce in the future.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the leaves, pour over the dressing and mix well, and enjoy. This can be eaten warm (from the pan, if you’re anything like me), or cold from the fridge. It does freeze, but please reheat it thoroughly with a small splash of water to reawaken it.

It also makes an excellent packed lunch, either as a salad in its own right, or mashed lightly and spooned into pitta breads, sandwiches or wraps.

VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS! Replace the bacon with finely chopped aubergine, tossed in a little paprika and salt and garlic, and while you’re there, chuck some cumin seeds in the dressing, too.

Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter & Instagram @MxJackMonroe


My new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, is now available to order HERE.

This blog is free to those who need it, and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it, and would like to keep it going, please consider popping something in the tip jar, and thankyou.


  1. Dear Jack,
    I love your blog. I am dying of cancer and can’t go full vegan. Mostly vegetarian but by oncology orders need full on protein. Fish, shrimp and loads of eggs. Can you help me with recipes? My survivor friends ask me for my recipes. Lol. I am grateful for what you do. You are a light in a very weird place.

    • Dear Dene, firstly I am so sorry to hear this. If you send me an address to justjackmonroe@gmail.com I would happily send you a copy of the Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook, which I contributed a recipe to. In the meantime you can search ‘fish’ ‘eggs’ etc in the search bar on my blog, and I hope this helps. Sending love. xxx

  2. Aha happy Jack with a sprinkling of quick wit is back, always seem happen when your delving into your recipes, although it might be aided by sleep deprivation which as you know gives you that slight drunken feeling cheap but not half as much fun lol
    bloody love chick peas……..keep ’em coming 🙂 xx

  3. Wonderful. Thank you so much for this lovely recipe. I should avoiding being pedantic about your super-tasty meal costing £6.00 odd to buy-in from scratch. I should just maybe suggest Quorn fake bacon as a good alternative – under £2. Or any larger mushroom roasted.
    You’re so generous sharing your creations for free 🙂 Long may you reign. Miranda

  4. A good idea for mock bacon is the coconut flakes, if you toast them in a pan with a few spices and some soy sauce you get a lovely smokey salty crunchy flakes that are great on salads!

    I am so excited for your new book! Keep up the good work!! x

  5. i do admire you,jack!you are brilliant,clever and funny as well,and i love your recipes,live long and prosper!xxx

  6. Love your no nonsense easy to follow nutritious recipes !
    I have your book, tell my friends about your recipes will buy your latest publication and follow your on line too.
    Thank you from someone who can now create a tasty meal and never throws leftovers away !

  7. I understand why you want to share your old recipes as a resource for people on a budget, but can’t say that I personally agree or would personally share old ones with animal products in them. I still really respect you as a person and cookbook writer/blogger and will continue to follow you and love your recipes. I think that animal agriculture causes many problems, of course animal rights/welfare issues, but also it’s a big contributor to global warming, which happens to affect those worst who live in the hottest places in the world which can also be some of the poorer people in the world. Like I said I still really respect you and which recipes you share is your decision to make. I’m on a budget myself most of the time and some of your tips have been very useful. Thanks for the work that you do and I love your recipes. 🙂

  8. I’m an omnivore and appreciate both the vegan and other recipes. My pension is sufficient to live on without worrying too much about the cost of food which doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy new recipes… Thanks.

  9. Generally I don’t like to give free advertising, but just thought I’d mention that KTC chickpeas, (and tomatoes), are 4 for a quid in Sainsburys at the moment – they do this every couple of months, so I try to stock up for all those felafels and batches of houmous .Sometimes the whole range of KTC products are on special offer, but this time only 2 things.

  10. I usually have dried chick peas in my store cupboard and, this time of year, I soak a few for a couple of hours, plant them out (they grow well indoors or in the garden), and they grow into pretty plants that taste great as well as producing lovely lemony pea pods that are gorgeous raw in salads or indeed cooked. There’s nothing not to love about chick peas.

  11. Emulsifying means mixing fats and water so the fat doesn’t float to the top. Egg yolk is the most common in the average kitchen. I don’t know what vegans do.

  12. dear Jack – I bought A girl called … only a week ago. best thing about it – the simplicity of the recipes that make things that are so good. I am buying another copy for my boy (now bigger than me). Thankyou for the recipes online. The BBC probably made a decision for what seemed a good reason at the time. The result will be that fewer people will “accidentally” visit their website.

  13. For non-scientists, an emulsion is formed when oils are mixed with water-based substances. Normally oil floats on top of water but, if mixed together in a particular way, together with substances that help the oil mix with the water, the oil forms small enough droplets that they are able to be suspended between the small water droplets. Mayonnaise and Salad Cream are emulsions, as well as some paint. This process to make these is called emulsification or we can say that we are emulsifying the ingredients and is what happens in our digestive system so that we can absorb the fats and oils in our food.
    Basically, it’s causing the oil droplets to blend in with the water droplets without separating.
    Hope that helps or is it more confusing? Ha ha!

  14. Vegan & vegetarian emulsifying aids are things like peanut butter, tahini etc.

    You can also buy pure lecithin which is the active ingredient in egg yolks that makes mixing the oil and water possible.

    I love both vegetarian and non vegetarian recipes! You add excitement into my inbox Jack.

  15. I’m a big lover of chickpeas so this is an absolutely perfect recipe and because it has bacon the kids will love it. Thanks for giving your recipes to us. Trish

  16. Made this and had a slightly wilted aubergine in fridge, so had that and bacon. Fab!

  17. Hi Jack, this is a bit off topic but I would absolutely be keen on hearing your thoughts about Ken Loach last movie I, Daniel Blake which received the Palme d’Or in Cannes festival. Truth is I am French and I am really interested to know what you might think about it as a British who has been active on the poverty problem. Is such a movie useful? Is it helping those living in poverty? Poverty is a subject that is very close to me for personal reasons. Thanks a lot for reading my comment. Your voice is so unique, thanks for that.

  18. Great creative ideas on food! I came hear after listening to parts of your story on the radio. My only re-occurring thought is “why do recipes always seem to recommend canned beans and pulses?” When I was a child my mother always had dried packets of beans in the cupboard and never cans. You save so much money by using dried beans but you have to be organised enough to soak them overnight. Even the hardest of beans will cook within a few minute (15 or so) when soaked for 8 hours, they taste great and are free of canning preservatives. Most of the world use dried beans and pulses as protein sources.
    Just a thought.

Leave a Reply