Friday, August 7, 2009

Mediterranean Style Chick Pea Salad

Chick Pea Salad

I love Mediterranean foods with their lemony, fresh flavors and the abundance of vegetables and legumes. Here is a lovely lemony salad inspired by the Mediterranean cuisine featuring the wonderfully healthy, popular chick peas/garbanzo beans which also incorporates lots of veggies. The hearty, creamy taste of chick peas are nicely complimented by the lemon dressing and the colorful crunchy veggies.

Soaking and cooking the chick peas takes a bit of planning but is not otherwise difficult; it is worth every effort. There is no comparison between freshly cooked and canned ones; canned ones are either overly salty, may have sugar added to them, and/or are bathed in preservatives. Using the pressure cooker reduces cooking time quite a bit. I like to cook a large batch of chick peas and use the extra portions for Chole, Hummus, etc. The cooked chick peas can be stored in their cooking liquid in the fridge for about 5 days. They freeze well also.

Chick peas are high in protein and fiber (contains 7 g of fiber per half-cup (cooked) serving (1/4th of the recommended daily value) and a good source of folate, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Because of the high fiber content, they are effective at reducing cholesterol and regulating blood sugar and insulin.

6 Servings; Each serving contains (without the cheese) - 196 Calories; 8 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 27 g Carbohydrates; 5 g unsaturated fat; 1 g saturated fat.


11/2 cups Dry Chick Peas (Kabuli Chana)
1 tsp Salt
1 sprig Each Oregano and Sage

1 clove garlic
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Red Onion
1 clove Shallot
2 carrots
1 each Red and Green Bell Peppers (Capsicums)
2 Persian type cucumbers
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
2 sprigs Oregano
1/2 cup Italian Parsley
A handful of Fresh Basil Leaves

2 oz. Feta cheese or goat cheese for garnish (Optional)


Sort for stones or discolored chick peas, wash, and soak the chick peas in plenty of fresh water to cover well for several hours or overnight. Drain them, rinse, and cover again with fresh water. Add 1 tsp salt and the herb sprigs and cook until soft but not mushy in a large pot or using a pressure cooker. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the dressing: Dice the onion. Mince the garlic; add a pinch of salt and mash with the side of the knife until macerated. Place the garlic in a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, a couple of pinches of salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Add the diced onions.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the warm (not hot) cooked chick peas to the dressing and stir to coat. Set aside to cool. You can prepare the salad ahead up to this point. Add the rest of the ingredients on the day of serving.

Meanwhile prepare the veggies:

Dice the carrots and peppers.

Persian cucumbers do not need peeling; cut them into small bite-sized chunks.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters.

Finely chop the oregano and parsley; tear the basil into small pieces.

Stir in the veggies, and oregano and parsley; mix well.

Place on serving dish and sprinkle the basil on top along with feta or goat cheese if using.

Serve cool or at room temperature.

Chill any leftovers in the fridge; the salad will stay fresh for about 2 days.

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