herbed chickpea salad with feta and lemon

peajarThere’s a lot to love about chickpeas. Otherwise known as ‘garbanzo’ or ‘ceci’ beans, these naturally creamy, adaptable legumes have been a staple food in India, the Middle East and some parts of the Mediterranean for centuries. Fortunately for us in other countries, processes of migration and settlement have slowly seen chickpeas filtrate into local cuisines worldwide. For instance, in my home country of Australia, you can find chickpeas in more traditional dishes such as hummus and Chana Masala whilst also sampling them in Westernized baked goods such as chocolate chip cookie pie and chickpea burgers or patties. Interesting.

Okay, here’s an admission: I haven’t personally crossed the line into ‘sweet’ chickpea territory as yet. Perhaps this is unusual for a foodie, but the idea of eating legumes in a cake or brownies sounds incredibly… well, undesirable. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that using chickpea batter is a fabulous substitute for the copious amounts of butter and other saturated fats that we often put into baked goods, whilst also being a wonderful gluten-free option for those intolerant to flour. I have utmost respect for the amazing cooks who can formulate these recipes, but for me? Well… my brain just says no.

parsleyI’m digressing again. Let’s get back to savoury dishes, the chosen medium for consumption of chickpeas in my household. Over the years, thousands of these little canned or dried legumes have made it into personal versions of spicy curries, fried snacks, dips, burgers, breads and wraps. All versions have been delicious, my personal favourites being crisp-fried chickpeas with lemon oil, harissa and minted yoghurt, chilli-spiked hummus and the simple chickpea salad that you’ll find below.

This recipe has become slightly famous in my immediate circle; mostly due to its simplicity, freshness and adaptability. I first introduced it at a casual barbecue a couple of years ago (as a side to my friend Mark’s famous, Jamie-Oliver-inspired, rosemary-infused lamb and chicken kebabs) and since then, at least half of the group have been making their own versions on a regular basis. In fact, my friend Caryse (an amazing cook in her own right who also happens to own a photography business) has labelled this salad ‘…the best recipe I ever stole’. I hope that you might experience the same success in your own kitchen.

ingmont3Herbed Chickpea Salad with Feta and Lemon

  • 400g can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained, or equivalent dried chickpeas, cooked (see ‘notes’)
  • 2  small Lebanese cucumbers
  • 250g punnet cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 small red capsicum (red pepper)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 small Spanish (red) onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch mint, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, washed and finely chopped,
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 100g (0r to taste) goat’s feta
  • 1/3 cup pepitas, lightly toasted
  • juice of 1 lemon plus 1 tbsp finely grated rind
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Chop your tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers and red capsicum into a rough dice. Place them into a medium-sized bowl with the Spanish onion, herbs and drained chickpeas.

ingredmontCrumble over the goat’s feta, then add in some olive oil, black pepper, the lemon rind and the fresh lemon juice. Toss to coat, then taste. Adjust flavourings and add salt as required.

lempepNotes:

  • If you would like to use dried chickpeas in this recipe, use the conversion ratio of 1:3 (1 cup dried chickpeas equals around 3 cups cooked chickpeas). There’s no need for exact measurements in a chickpea salad (I’ve given you quantities as a starting point, but play around with things as you like), but to rehydrate the equivalent of a 440g can of chickpeas, start with around 150g dried chickpeas and follow the cooking method below.
  • To prepare dried chickpeas: place your dried chickpeas into a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Add in about a teaspoon of baking soda (to speed the soaking process by penetrating and softening the skins) then cover. Allow to soak overnight, or for around 12 hours. After soaking, transfer your chickpeas to a large cooking pot or saucepan. Cover with twice the amount of water, then cover and simmer slowly for 2-3 hours. Test them for softness: if ready, a chickpea should be plump and tender; you should be able to easily ‘squash’ it between two fingers. When ready, train your chickpeas and allow them to cool.
  • Cooked chickpeas can be kept in an airtight container or covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to three days. They can also be frozen for up to one month.

bowlclose3

  • Chickpeas are a rich source of zinc, folate and protein whilst also providing about 49-53mg phosphorus per 100g. Recent studies have also shown that they can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
  • For more information on the nutritional value and difference between canned and dried chickpeas, I’d encourage you to read the thorough rundown posted on George Mateljan’s World’s Healthiest Foods site. It includes a full nutritional background in chart form.

P.S This recipe was made with liberated cucumbers from my local fresh market (I went to buy Lebanese, but… well, either they’re liberated or they conservatively vote for the Liberal Party. Just thought you should know.

cucumbers

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35 responses

  1. This sounds wonderful! I’m with you on adding these to muffins and that sort of thing. Having said that I’m hoping to develop a Roman bread using gram or chickpea flour, if I can find it!
    Lovely photos as well. Can totally understand why this is dish is such a favourite!

    • Gram flour is awesome… I found some recently in a health food shop here and it’s definitely worth hunting for :) Thanks for visiting and for your kind words Johnny! It means a lot!

  2. What a delicious sounding recipe – I make a nut-based “feta” that I could sub in here – I love the combo of ingredients (I’m slightly obsessed with pepitas!) So stoked to have found your site, your photography is so lovely :)

    • Hello Lou, thanks so much for visiting! Nut-based feta sounds absolutely delicious… is the recipe on your blog? I might have to do a bit of reading and try it for myself :) Oh, and re pepitas… I tried a pepita-based dip a couple of weeks ago (I think it was just finely blended pepitas with some seasoning, lemon and good olive oil) and it was absolutely, ridiculously delicious! I am yet to track down the recipe, but if I do I will let you know straight away!

  3. Talk about a beautiful blog, these photos are gorgeous! Chickpeas are something I crave this time of year; when I want something savory and filling, but not wildly unhealthy. I can’t wait to make this and explore your blog further. What a fun thing to have discovered!

    • Thanks so much for the feedback lovely. I definitely agree re chickpeas… a beautiful creamy bowl of hummus seems like such a healthy yet indulgent snack! Looking forward to making your lemon bars (though it’s a shame I can’t borrow Duke & Lou for temporary company… my husband and I keep pining over puppies but need to wait til we move out of our shoebox apartment into a place with a yard. Sigh)

    • Haha, yep there seems to be a growing interest in turning both chickpeas and black beans into sweet goods. I can’t really stomach the idea myself, but hey… each to their own! Thanks for checking in on my blog and for the sourdough tips you shared. I am really (REALLY!) excited about the possibility of producing a beautiful loaf from my own oven. I’ll keep you posted on my progress :)

      • always happy to talk bread nerd stuff :-)
        1x three way fold, prove an hour-ish, 1x three way fold, another hour-ish prove, shape, cold nap…see how that goes. I certainly don’t do it all the time like that due to the time factor but I do get a better crumb if I do.
        Happy baking!

    • Aw, thanks beautiful! I definitely agree… I look forward to sharing more recipes and stories as the year progresses. Oh, by the way, have you heard of ‘Eat Drink Blog‘? It’s an Australian bloggers conference, the next one is in Perth (this November!). I’m quite excited!

  4. This looks really delicious, Laura! I think your photos are stunning – I always notice details in bigger pictures, so I love the way that you zoom in on your image. For me, anything with feta and avocado is going to win me over!

    • Thanks lovely. Yep, I’m a details person too. I have a bit of an obsession with macro photography and I’m saving up to purchase a fancy-pants DSLR with a much better macro lens. I do think we’re quite similar, in some ways – feta and avocado are two of my all-time favourites. I love smearing both of them over toasted wholegrain bread… maybe with a soft-poached egg or some tomatoes for breakfast. Yum yum yum.

    • Definitely agree Susmitha! Just checked out your blog again and I have to say that I’m jealous of those vegan food swaps you’ve been participating in! The chocolate hazelnut butter looks divine (as does the slice recipe!). Thanks for checking in with me :)

  5. What a delicious-looking salad! I totally feel you on the whole sweet chickpeas thing. One day, I’m gonna get behind it, but until then, I am perfectly happy eating chickpeas like this. And I’m totally pinning this recipe. Thanks for sharing, lady!

    • Aw, thanks lovely Erin! I really appreciate it! Hm, I need to get back into Pinterest again… I haven’t had much time recently but I always find it hugely inspiring. What’s your user name? I’ll take a look at your boards next time I’m there :)

      • I’m under Laura Campbell. I do think it’s got my blog URL on there somewhere too, so hopefully it’ll be easy to find (I’m discovering just how common my name is, argh!). I’ll definitely follow you next time I’m on there. Yee, exciting, I’m sure you’ve pinned lots of gorgeous stuff.

      • Bad news, girlie. I’m having a ultra hard time finding you. :) I’ll keep searching… but boo to common names. (As someone who has had one her ENTIRE LIFE, including married life, I totally feel you on this one.)

    • Thanks Amy :) I love salad all year round too… especially warm roast veges in Winter, mmm. I need to try some of the recipes on your site, the salad recipes look delicious! Thanks for visiting x

    • Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it! I agree… I love eating salads that make you feel like you’ve done your body good! The weather is still reasonably warm here in Aus, so there are plenty more salad days to come.

  6. Pingback: Picnics and Caramelised Onion Foccacia « Laura's Mess

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