Guest Author - Katherine O. Huether
In the warmer months, there is nothing more filling and more satisfying than a hearty salad. Greek salads include all of the ingredients the region is known for. This Greek Style Chickpea salad is a variation on an old theme. However, you could also serve this dish in the cooler weather but you may opt to heat it up and serve it warm.
Chickpeas are an ingredient that shows up often in Greek cooking. They can be found in soups, salads, and in stews such as Lamb and Chickpea stew. This salad is a variation on the classic Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and olives. Chick peas make this salad extra filling while the lemon juice gives the salad an extra tang.
On the Greek table, this salad can be served as a side dish or a complete meal. As a meal, it can be serve either warm or cold. I suggest serving the salad cold but on a warm bed of couscous or rice pilaf. You can also serve it with thick slices of bread for sopping up the dressing or on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves. The warmth from the rice or couscous will warm the dish slightly, making it even heartier.
Cucumbers are included in the salad. However, if you wanted to serve the salad slightly warm you could substitute the cucumber for one small, chopped zucchini. The zucchini stands up to the heat better than the cucumbers do. And if you do decide to heat it, omit the feta and lemon juice and spread the ingredients on a baking dish and heat in a 400 degree oven for about ten to fifteen minutes. Wait until the salad comes out of the oven to toss in the lemon and feta.
Greek Style Chickpea Salad
Servings: six as a side dish, four as a meal
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
1/4 English cucumber, chopped
15 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients in the order they are listed. Lightly toss to coat all of the ingredients with the lemon juice and olive oil. Serve on romaine lettuce leaves or a bed of couscous or rice pilaf for a complete meal.