Saturday, May 10, 2014

Vegan Tropical Chickpea Salad With Avocado Coconut Dressing & An Unforgettable Graduation Day

A lovely salad adds colorful flare to any celebration.
Ah. It's all over. Well, for now.
I'm on summer hiatus. Sort of.
Before we get into delicious tropical salads and tasty avocado dressings, one must bring forth all the exciting graduation action from yesterday- a Friday like no other.
First, PAFA board of Trustees Chair Kevin Donohoe welcomed graduates into a significant place in PAFA history books alongside Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. PAFA president David Brigham delivered encouraging words about tomorrow. Commencement speaker Jane Golden, executive director of Philadelphia's well renowned Mural Arts Program, urged us all not to give up, to persevere, to overcome odds, and used "tenacity" in her eloquently composed speech frequently. One of my favorite MFA students, Nancy Bea Miller (sadly retiring from her post as President of PAFA's Alumni Association) awarded PAFA alum Raymond Saunders with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Must mention my envy at the lucky students who got to have lunch with him this morning. Amazing instructors Jan Baltzwell and Michael Gallagher scored teaching awards from respective MFA and BFA/Certificate student bodies. The astonished look on Jan's face was everything. :) Phyllis Gorsen, chosen MFA speaker, recited a commendable address that spoke volumes- saying that artists are some of the most intelligent people on the planet. We don't get enough credit for our intelligence. Jeanne O'Shell, BFA/Certificate speaker, humorously voiced that we don't necessarily have completed puzzles upon entering college- the teachers/critics offer us more pieces, but it's our "job" as artists to make them fit. Clint Jukkula, head of graduate programs, announced our names along with the MFA candidates, Jeffrey Carr, dean of PAFA, awarded the BFA/Certificate students, and David gave closing address, ringing in the class of 2014. Then it was off to reception duty and the official public opening of not only the big 113th Annual Student Exhibit, but the Post Baccalaureate Exhibit as well.
All in all, a pleasurable experience worth cementing.

Group photo sent by Michael Moore, our wise and wonderful co-leader.
Congratulations to my awesome fellow Post Baccalaureate 2014 classmates- Kalab, Alma B., Lydia, Abby, Peter, Tovah, Louisa, Ken, Julene, Jerome, Camille, Loran, Alma R., Francine, Tim, Katayoun, Laura, and Eric! We made it! I'll be seeing Alma B., Lydia, Abby, Ken, and Laura this coming fall for the MFA Program.
Lovely certificate- the most expensive one yet! Just keeping it 100% real. But I am quite proud of it. One of the finest educations ever received. Words cannot express how much I adored the faculty- Michael, Mark, Neysa, and Jan were outstanding.
Posing with certificate and selected pieces from the Post Baccalaureate Exhibition!
Combs and naps make up the sculpture entitled:
Tovah- by far one of the sweetest people I've ever met.
Alma Rad will always be the epitome of awesomeness!
Our cordial co-leader, Michael Moore, surprisingly gifted each student beautiful, inedible Jasper doughnuts. At the end of a rather thoughtful, encouraging paragraph, he kindly states, "these stones are given with love and respect in honor of the Post-Baccalaureate class of 2013-14 who gave so much to one another."
I feel it only wise to wear every single day.
I have bombarded the blog with graduation news. Such a wonderful time to be remembered always. Yes, I am still here at PAFA for an additional two years, but being a Post Baccalaureate student had a special uniqueness that cannot be manufactured. I loved it- the good, the bad, and the ugly! Well, worth Sallie Mae hounding me once a month. 
Now onto Tropical Chickpea Salad.
No cooking required for this cold number. Plain ole chickpeas meet an array of tropical fruit and coconut flesh for an invigorating plate of colorfully engaging yum. The other dish brought to our class picnic,Tropical Chickpea Salad combines sweet juiciness and savory chickpeas dressed in a tantalizing avocado dressing. Made from ripened avocado and mixed with lime and coconut water, the dressing is simple and doesn't overpower the unique flavor profiles.
For a nuttier flavor and added crunch- I suggest crushed pine nuts or macadamia nuts. 

Vegan Tropical Chickpea Salad With Avocado Coconut Dressing Ingredients and Preparation

1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
1/2 cup papaya, chopped
1/2 cup mango, chopped
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 ripened avocado
1/2 cup coconut water
2 tablespoon olive oil
juice from 1 lime
salt and black pepper

Toss chickpeas together with fruit, shredded coconut, and cumin. 
Whip together avocado, coconut water, olive oil, lime, salt, and black pepper.
Pour over salad and until evenly coated.

Colors and tastes of the tropics take over chickpeas.
Add sliced lime for decor and extra zest.


  1. Guess my first try at commenting didn't stick ...

    Huuuuuge Congratulations :D

    ... and yummy salad!

    1. Hello there! This isn't your first comment on here, lol. Hahahaha! Thank you so very much, Dearie. I appreciate the congrats and salad love. :D