Summer days (and nights) call for refreshing, light meals that require little or no advance planning. Much of the time, a salad of the leafy variety will hit the spot, but it might not be substantial enough to get you through to the next meal. Here, chickpeas replace the lettuce in this Greek salad, transforming the dish into a meal that’s ideal for lunch or dinner.
Soft and creamy, canned chickpeas are perfect in this salad, as they keenly absorb the tangy flavors of the dressing and add a nice contrasting texture to the crisp cucumbers and juicy tomatoes.
Be sure to rinse and drain canned chickpeas to remove the tinny flavor. If you’re cooking your own chickpeas, be prepared to simmer them for at least an hour or until completely soft in the center (if you own a pressure cooker, they can be ready in as little as 25 minutes). Either way, allow them to cool and drain before tossing them with the other ingredients. Cooked chickpeas, made fresh or from a can, will keep in the fridge for up to three days — ready to transform any salad into a summertime meal.
Greek Chickpea Salad
Persian cucumbers are often called Middle Eastern cucumbers. If they’re not available, use a regular cucumber, peeled and seeded.
For the salad:
½ cup cooked, drained and rinsed chickpeas
1 medium tomato, cut in ½-inch wedges
1 Persian cucumber, sliced
½ a baby red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons dill sprigs
2 ounces goat-milk feta
For the dressing:
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch flaky sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Add chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, red onion, parsley and dill to a bowl and crumble feta over the top. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.