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Monday
Apr262010

I think it’s time for Chickpea and Feta Salad

Chickpea-feta-salad

Gosh, I was looking back at my last few posts, and I realized…that’s a lot of sweets!  Someone may get the wrong idea about what we’ve been eating.  We have, in fact, been eating very well, thanks to the current issue of Vegetarian Times.  My favorite magazine for easy, healthy and delicious recipes!

So…a couple of Saturday’s ago, my husband and I had a smoked meat-apalooza.   I know, I know…what were we thinking?  I’ll tell you what we were thinking.  MEAT!  Simple enough.  We have an amazing authentic barbeque place here in the city, and they were calling our name.  It’s true, they were!  We had…pulled pork, brisket, chicken, ribs, cornbread and sides.   The whole meaty deal.  It. Was. Awesome!  Aaaand then reality hit, and I was up most of that night with a stomach ache.  Ugh.

When Monday rolled around, I needed to make my grocery list and meal plan for the week.  Sometimes, I love doing that.  Other times?  I hate it!  I just want to hit the store and buy whatever I feel like.  But I find that when I do that, I come home with things we don’t need, or shouldn’t have--you know the deal.  I have to plan meals.  Have to. 

Chickpea-feta-salad-2

Do you guys have a system for that?  I always wonder if I’m just silly and a bit too uptight about it.  We need a plan.  Especially since we eat so many fresh veggies and fruit!  I need to keep track of what I bought the fresh stuff for, so we can be sure to use it before all it’s going to feed are the two compost bins out back!  I decide what we’re having for the week, add my ingredients to the list (which is a notebook), and then list out the individual dishes in the back of the book so I remember them.  What do you guys do?

So!  I needed a meal plan last Monday, and I needed it fast.  Hello, Vegetarian Times!  The current issue has this great article called “By special request…”  Basically, a reader wanted a way to shorten her time at the grocery store.  Their response was five recipes that all had the same five essential ingredients in common.   The five ingredients?

  1. Diced tomatoes
  2. Leeks
  3. Chickpeas (dried or canned)
  4. Baby spinach
  5. Red bell peppers

With these ingredients, plus other basic things that are easy to find or that you may already have, you can make five different recipes.  As a bonus, each one can be made in 30 minutes or fewer!

  Chickpea-feta-salad-4 

 

You may be asking, “With all the same ingredients, won’t that be boring?”  My honest answer?  No!  We’ve had three so far, and each one has been very different than the last.   We’ve loved each of these, and I‘m pretty sure we’ll be happy with the last two.  They have ingredients that we love, so how can we go wrong?  I’ll start with this one, and then follow up with the other four.

About the salad.  I didn’t think that the lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic drizzle would be enough to flavor this salad.  Amazingly, it was!  It was actually addicting.  I wanted more, like an endlessly filling bowl of salad from Hogwarts!  It’s everything you want in a main dish salad.  Great flavor, cold, crunchy…just so good.  I didn’t have sunflower seeds to top it with but we use Aurora Salad Fixin’s, which are even better!  Also, an optional ingredient is diced canned tomatoes.  I just can’t bring myself to add those to a salad, so I used grape tomatoes.

Chickpea and Feta Salad
Serves 8

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced leek (white part only) or red onion
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
2 medium carrots, julienned (about 1 cup)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds or other crunchy salad topping
2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2" ribbons
3/4 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle over the top

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and oil.
Stir in the leek, add salt and pepper if you'd like, and set aside.
Take a small pile of spinach leaves, stack them up, roll them up,  and then slice across to make strips.  Continue until you've done all the spinach leaves.
In a large bowl, combine spinach, chickpeas, carrots, bell pepper and sunflower seeds or other crunchy topping.
Stir in the leek mixture and toss well to combine. 
Divide romaine among serving plates and top with chickpea mixture.
Add tomatoes.
Garnish each salad with feta and Balsamic.

Notes:

  • Would I make this again?  Yes!  Going to have it again this week, in fact.
  • It’s everything I like in a main dish salad--crunchy, packed with stuff, hearty and filling.
  • I use canned chickpeas in this dish.
  • It’s wonderful as is, but it’s salad--they’re versatile!  Something you don’t like? Replace it with something you do like.
  • After eating these dishes all week, I can almost hear our bodies saying “Meat? What meat?”

Chickpea-feta-salad-3

 

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Reader Comments (29)

I love this salad! So bright and filled with goodness. I try to plan my menus by what produce is on sale at the store. I look at the flyers before I go shopping. I don't eat meat so my meals are based around fresh produce. I can't wait until the farmer's market opens!

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Maria, I can't wait, either! I love the wide varieties of fruits and veggies available!

April 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterElle

Beautiful salad. It looks delicious!

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEl

Love chickpeas in salads. I'd probably sub out farmer cheese for the feta, but this sounds totally up my alley! And you know how I feel about dinner salads (salads as dinner).

I'm terrible about planning meals ahead - sometimes I just can't get to what I've planned, and we're back to "got any ideas about dinner?"

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRJ Flamingo

Renee, same here. As much as I plan ahead, some days, I just don't want to cook. So we improvise, hehe.

April 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterElle

I have all these things!!! My leek is already spoken for, but I can totally go get another one. Thanks!

And Vegetarian Times comes to my rescue when it comes to meal planning ALL the time! The Feb 2010 issue had so many good recipes! I need to go post about them on my blob.

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShaye

Are there sesame sticks in there?! Yum! Salad looks fab. :)

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

Yum that's a great looking salad!

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpaula

The salad is gorgeous - love all the colors!

II try to plan my menus on a weekly basis (actually have a private blog where I do that!). I am lucky enough to go right by the grocery every day so on my way home from work I often stop to pick up my veggies so they are at their freshest for me. I actually found ramps tonight - something we have never had and hope to grill them with asparagus tomorrow night!

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoneyB

I love a good healthy, fresh, full-of-protein, delicious salad... And this is totally it!! It's beautiful too :)

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSues

I meal plan most weeks based on what's on sale/what I have a coupon for/what I need to use up. I just write up 6 days of meal ideas and pick whatever we're feeling like on a particular day to eat! This salad is gorgeous!! At one point pretty much the only vegetable my hubs would touch were canned green beans. Now, he'll eat a salad! He eats it nekkit (sans dressing), but progress is progress and I try to be creative with toppings and chickpeas are one of our favorites. If I even say the word 'feta' to him though he gags. LOL

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

That salad looks so healthy and refreshing- it's definitely tonite's dinner! Thanks!

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYael

Lovely salad! I also feel the need to plan out our meals and make sure we get enough veggies and fruits. I love the idea of using 5 ingredients for planning out the whole meal. Thanks for sharing this. I'm making this salad tomorrow :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Lovely looking salad! Normally I add black beans to my feta salads, must try chick peas! Delicious!

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Bowl Of Mush

Man, are those pictures gorgeous!
We have to have a meal plan too otherwise I'll be at the grocery store every day. We keep a shopping list going during the week for staples. Then on Sunday morning we come up with our weekly menu. I create the shopping list from the menu. We started doing this when we were both working & it really kept us from eating out every night

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Absolutely wonderful! I try and make a salad like this once in a while but how right you are that we should eat this way more often. Your salad is mouthwatering and looks so fresh and refreshing. Ok, so I could go for some bbq but then I'd gladly eat a salad like this every other day :-)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I am always on the lookout for new salads. This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing it with us.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpickycook

i have been eating nothing but salads for the last 2 weeks. i can totally relate. i crave them every spring. loaded with beans, cheese and fattening dressing. lol so yeah, to me this looks DIVINE.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervanillasugar

That salad is so being made this week. You had a case of "Pork Crummies" I get it every time I eat too much pork. Seems to be that it is hard to digest for some people. I have spent nights just moaning after enjoying too many ribs...hehehe!

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Beans are such a great meat replacement, especially for salads. Very filling.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Duo Dishes

Love salads like this. Definitely a god meal ... and one I should be adopting soon ;)

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Love salads like this. Definitely a good meal ... and one I should be adopting soon ;)

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

What a gorgeous looking salad--and that combination of ingredients sounds wonderful! This would be a perfect dinner in our house. Must go check out that Veg Times article!

Thanks, too,for your comment on my blog--glad you liked the pasta! And glad it led me here as well--off to browse through your archives now. :)

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Your salad looks great. Seems like you and I both had feta and chickpeas on the brain today.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

Elle, I would never judge you for eating a lot of sweet things :) this salad looks gorgeous, and I love the sound of that dressing...

A fantastic looking salad!!

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May 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervincent

that's a beauty. I love all types of tomato salads and even better with feta cheese and chickpeas

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I also love salads that are packed with different ingredients and textures. This is definitely a must try for me. It looks totally satisfying.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergiz

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