Our friend the chickpea (which also goes by the name ‘garbanzo bean’) has gained new levels of popularity in recent years, a testament to its survival as a desired legume for centuries. Its application far exceeds its reputation of being useful in just making hummus and is found in entrees often in the form of purees, in salads, in healthy snacks and — I just found this out — even in desserts. Apparently there is a Filipino dessert called Halo-halo which features this pea — I so have to try that!
Whenever I go shopping at Whole Foods, I always have to make a stop at their salad bar to pick up their variation of this salad. It’s a great healthy pick-me-up and is equally gorgeous to look at. This same salad is frequently found at Mediterranean restaurants and salad bars and always calls out my name amid a sea of other salads.
Chickpeas are very high in protein but low in fat and they’re packed with zinc and folate and all sorts of other minerals that are great for your body. This salad is uber refreshing and although there are a fair amount of fresh ingredients, there is not a ton of seasoning so the ingredients really shine in their natural state. I can eat bowlfuls of this at a time. In fact, you can make a meal out of this: Serve it up with a side of grilled chicken and your dinner is sorted.
The lime in this recipe is completely essential and really coaxes the flavour and natural juices out of the other ingredients. If you only have lemon on hand, it can be substituted but I prefer the tangy note and high level of acidity which limes impart.
You must (must!) finely chop both the red onion and the garlic. The last thing you want is large aggressive pieces of either of those pungent ingredients to find their way into your mouth as you take a bite.
Whenever I eat this salad (or some variation of it) at a Mediterranean restaurant it is always splashed with a health dose of olive oil. I used sundried tomatoes which were packed in oil so some of the oil was mixed into the salad when I chopped up the tomatoes giving it a beautiful sheen and balancing the lime juice to create a vinaigrette of sorts, thus eliminating the need for extra olive oil. If you enjoy it (or if you are using sundried tomatoes that are dried and not packed in oil) you can always add a tablespoon or two of it to the salad.
1/2 cup cooked red kidney beans
1 cup chopped cucumber (about half of a regular-sized cucumber)
8 cherry or grape tomatoes
1 green onion/scallion
1/4 cup chopped red onion (about 1/4 of a large red onion)
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomato (which has been packed in oil*)
1/2 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon (1 clove) garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Zest and juice of one lime
In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas and red kidney beans. Zest and juice the lime and mix in with beans. Add all the chopped ingredients as well as salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.