Updated: Apr 26
I sometimes crave a hearty vegetarian salad, lots of fresh vegetables, a wonderful dressing and lentils or beans for substance. This is a fabulous Mediterranean style salad that contrasts fresh vegetables with hot, crunchy chickpeas. This salad is filled with textures, crunch from fresh vegetables and a gentle bite from the perfectly cooked chickpeas. The dressing adds a wonderful tangy flavor that is complimented beautifully by the spiced chickpeas. This recipe is definitely a keeper. You can serve this recipe topped with some yogurt, or fresh feta, for some creaminess. I strongly prefer to cook the chickpeas from dried beans rather than use canned chickpeas. You are able to control the bite you get by cooking than the canned mushy version. My recipe below includes some garlic and a bay leaf for a wonderfully flavored chickpea, feel free to experiment with herbs and spices of your choice.
I do have all of Ottolenghi‘s cookbooks and this one is one of my favorites. The recipes, like this one, pop with flavor. In contrast to some of his other books, this cookbook stays with unique and delicious Mediterranean flavors. I have cooked quite a few recipes from this book and it is one I go back to often.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas 1 bay leaf
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups water
2 small cucumbers 2 large tomatoes 1 small red onion, peeled and minced 6 small radishes, partially peeled and diced 1 red pepper, seeds and pith removed, diced 3 tablespoons cilantro and stems, roughly chopped 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, picked and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, roughly chopped 1/4 cup olive oil Grated zest of 2 lemons,
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste 1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 2 cloves garlic, minced fine 1 teaspoon sugar Salt and black pepper to taste 1 teaspoon ground cardamom 1½ teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Greek yoghurt (optional)
Feta cheese (optional) Soak the chickpeas overnight in a large bowl of cold water. Next day, drain, place in a large pan and cover with twice the volume of water. Bring to a boil with the bay leaf and garlic and simmer for 30-45 minutes, skimming off any foam, until tender, then drain. You want the chickpeas cooked through and with a bite but not mushy.
Cut the cucumber, tomato, onion, radish and red pepper into small dice, and mix with the coriander, mint and parsley. In a jar or sealable container, put most of the olive oil (save 2 tablespoons for the chickpeas) with the lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic and sugar, shake and season to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and add the the cardamom, allspice, cumin and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and sauté over low heat for 10-15 seconds. Add the chickpeas and lightly fry the chickpeas for 4-5 minutes, gently shaking the pan so they cook evenly and don't stick. They should be start getting crisp on the outside. Take care not to burn the spices. Keep warm.
Divide the salad between four plates, or in a large bowl, arranging it in a large circle with a slight indent in the middle, and spoon the warm chickpeas in the centre. Drizzle some Greek yoghurt on top, or scatter small crumbles of feta on top if you prefer the salad to be a bit more creamy. Serve immediately.