Summer’s Delight Mediterranean Chickpea and Vegetable Salad

Summer’s Delight Mediterranean Chickpea and Vegetable Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
This is a favorite recipe that you can make easily and almost entirely from produce available at the market. It’s very quick to make, very healthy and can be either vegan or vegetarian, and it will please everyone, even the picky eater. It’s really that tasty! Once again, I’m providing the recipe as I make it, so amounts are approximate. What I do with salads of this sort is walk through the market and see what looks the tastiest, and then combine everything to make a delicious, healthy and light dish. With the addition of oh-so-healthy chick peas (garbanzo beans) you have additional fiber and protein – a perfect light meal for a too-hot day. Adding sliced or chopped hard-boiled eggs makes it even more substantial.
Ingredients
  • A mixture of diced raw vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh raw zucchini, sweet or green onions, carrots and radishes – use a small dice, no larger than ½ inch.
  • One or two cans of ready-to-eat chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • Several small handfuls of herbs, chopped fine: try a mixture of parsley, mint, cilantro, oregano, basil, thyme, etc. The idea here is to figure out which combination you like best (I’m very fond of a mix of parsley, basil, cilantro and mint, with just a touch of oregano, which has a strong flavor so less is needed)
  • Dressing -Make a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing: three parts oil to one part freshly-squeezed lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste (fresh lemon juice makes a real flavor difference in salads of this sort). You can, of course, substitute vinegar (preferably white wine vinegar) in place of the lemon juice, and it might be a better choice if all you have is bottled lemon juice. Alternately, you can add additional spices to this dressing, such as chili peppers, powdered cumin or coriander seeds, or even a pinch of curry mix. Sometimes I use a Middle-Eastern spice mix called za’atar which adds a lovely flavor. Experiment to find out what pleases you! (I realize I’ve provided no amount of dressing; again, I encourage you to experiment with the amount you prefer; I like my salads somewhat dry but you might want more dressing….)
  • Hard boiled eggs, diced or chopped
  • 1 head of lettuce, with leaves washed and dried and kept whole
Instructions
  1. Mix together all of the diced vegetables, and stir in the chick peas.
  2. Add the herbs and mix well.
  3. Add the dressing, and stir thoroughly.
  4. Allow the salad to sit for about 20 minutes so that the vegetables absorb the dressing and the flavors blend.
  5. Then, add the eggs (if desired) and stir again (alternately, you can place the eggs on the top of the salad right before serving).
  6. Finally, plate the salad individually by placing each portion on several whole lettuce leaves or to serve family-style, tear the lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and cover a serving plate with them and mound the salad on top.
  7. If you want to get really fancy you can dust with more chopped herbs. Add a cool slice of fresh melon for dessert and you have a perfect light dinner or lunch dish for these hot hot hot late summer days.