With the long holiday weekend ahead, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘What am I going to bring to that barbecue?’ I have an answer for you.
This chickpea salad has been one of my favorites for a while now. I find myself making it at least once a month, if not more. Here’s what I like about it:
It’s full of chickpeas, which I love. They remind me of the salad bars of my youth. The chickpeas were always at the end of the salad bar next to the croutons and bacon bits. It turns out that they are an excellent source of fiber – definitely a plus in my book. You can use canned chickpeas for this salad, but I really like soaking and cooking dried beans.
It’s herbaceous, which makes it really fresh. A generous amount of chopped cilantro, scallion and flat leaf parsley provide a lot of flavor and great texture.
It’s terrific served alongside grilled meat and/or veggies. But it also stands well on its own.
It’s the perfect dish for non-meat eaters. It has a good amount of feta, which gives it a nice salty finish and makes it a bit more substantial than just a plain bean salad. Your vegetarian friends will love you.
It’s incredibly easy to throw together, especially considering that there are so many layers of flavor. Because we’re expecting gorgeous weather, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in my kitchen cooking or baking; this salad will allow me to get out and enjoy this glorious July 4th weekend. I hope you do the same.
chickpea, feta and cilantro salad
adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
1-1/4 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water or 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans
1 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1-2/3 cups crumbled feta
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 scallions, green part only, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
If you’re using canned chickpeas, rinse and set aside. Otherwise, rinse the soaked chickpeas, put them in a saucepan, cover generously with water, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat slightly and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until they are soft but not falling apart, adding salt toward the end of cooking time. When cooled, drain and put the chickpeas in a large bowl, removing any loose skins.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and gently saute the red onion until it is cooked through and lightly golden. Add the garlic and chile and cook for a few more seconds, until you can smell the garlic (take care not to brown the garlic). Let cool completely.
Add the feta, scallion, cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice to the chickpeas and season with pepper and salt to taste. Add the cooled onion mixture and remaining olive oil and mix until well combined.