First things first, chickpeas are known as garbanzo beans in the US. Now everyone is clear on that, let’s talk about why you need to make this salad this week. This is one of the most-made recipes from my classes. I love how many of you have adopted this as part of your weekly menu. It is the perfect side with roast or grilled chicken. It is dreamy alongside grilled lamb, marinated in a little plain yoghurt and cumin. It’s also yummy as a stand-alone salad served with some toasted pitta or stuffed into a wholewheat flatbread along with some rotisserie chicken.
This salad keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge, making it perfect for packed lunches. Make sure you bring it to room temperature before eating as the flavours will taste flat if it is fridge-cold.
Leftover salad is lovely stirred into soup or pasta. The salty, herby, citrussy hit lifts the plainest bowl of food perfectly.
If you want to up the vitamins and hit your greens quota for the day you can also add some chopped rocket (arugula) or watercress along with the herbs. Chopped red pepper or roasted red pepper from a jar, snipped into strips with scissors is a good addition too.
Precision isn’t the order of the day here, so just stick to the general measurements, taste and adjust the seasoning and you’ll be just fine.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side):
2 x 400g (2x 14 oz) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo), drained
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large red onion as finely chopped as you can get it (see my how-to video)
5 cloves of garlic, crushed (see my how-to video)
A pinch of red chili flakes
200g of Feta
4 spring onions (green onions or scallions) white and green parts chopped finely
A handful of coriander (cilantro), stalks and all (you could use basil if you prefer)
A handful of flat leaf (Italian) parsley, stalks and all
Juice and zest of a lemon
- Drain chickpeas and transfer them to a large bowl.
- Fry the onion, stirring occasionally until soft and golden. This will take about 5 minutes on a medium high heat.
- Use the time while the onion is cooking to chop your herbs and spring onion and add them to your bowl of chickpeas.
- Add the garlic and chili to the softened onions and cook for around a minute until you can smell that the garlic is mellowing. You want to be sure to take the pan off the heat before the garlic browns as that is when it will taste bitter.
- Scrape the cooked onion mixture along with the oil into the chickpeas – use a silicone spatula here to get all the bits in and save on washing up!
- Stir the onion mix into the chickpeas then add the chopped herbs, spring onion and lemon juice (use a Microplane zester) and zest. Add the Feta, crumbling it with your hands as you add it and stir well
- Taste and add salt, or more chili and lemon, as needed, to round out the flavour. Serve at room temperature.