If you have been following Mia Kouppa for a while, or even for a little bit of time (Welcome!), you may have realized a few things. Feta should always be Greek (as should olive oil), fresh bread usually goes beautifully with just about any meal, and if you have a well stocked Greek pantry, you can make thousands of recipes (this is only a slight exaggeration) . You may have also noticed that we are firm believers that beans should never come from a can. But never is a really big word.
The truth is, salads like this one are perfect accompaniments to quick grilled meals. With summer here, the living is easy (or at least, easier). Pre-planning a salad, soaking beans and then boiling them for over an hour, to have something delicious to eat with your grilled rack of lamb, seems a little counter-intuitive. And so, we have bended the rules a bit here; we’ve stepped off our high horse, and admit that when we make this salad, we usually pull out the can opener. We’re not ashamed! We have nothing to feel embarrassed about! But if you wouldn’t mind, please don’t tell our parents.
Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are legumes which are nutritional powerhouses; high in protein, folate, iron and fiber, they are a filling and inexpensive way to pack in the good stuff. Although we like to cook with dried beans whenever possible (and encourage you to do the same, but won’t judge you if you don’t), you can certainly substitute canned chickpeas in a pinch. We have included directions for both dry and canned chickpeas in the recipe below.
If you use canned chickpeas, rinse your chickpeas well. This will help remove some of the excess salt. Recently, you may have noticed, that the internet has gone crazy with some weird thing called aquafaba, which is the gooey, thickish liquid that canned chickpeas find themselves in. Apparently, if you beat this liquid for a while with a mixer, you will make a vegan whipped cream…or something. One day we may experiment with this (probably not), so if this is something you would like to try, keep the liquid from the can and let us know how it turns out!
The feta (Greek of course) in this salad elevates if from great to incredibly great; feta does that. However, if you are looking for a vegan recipe, simply omit the feta and you are good to go!
We find it nice to chop up the tomatoes, pepper and cucumber into almost the same small bite-sized pieces, although this is not essential…but it does make for a prettier salad. Just look at how pretty this salad is!
We include chopped Kalamata olives in this salad. Usually we can only find these with pits in them, but thankfully the pits are very easy to remove. With the flat side of the blade of a chef’s knife, press down on the olive. This will cause the slit which is already there to open up a little bit more. With a bit of prying, you should be able to remove the pit quite simply. Keep in mind that these olives are going to be chopped, and so you don’t need to be concerned about keeping them whole and pretty.
Mia Kouppa: Chickpea salad
- 1 1/3 cups dried chickpeas or
- 2 x 540 ml can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (approximately 4 cups)
- 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
- 3/4 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional, but highly recommended) For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- If using dried chickpeas, rinse the chickpeas, and sort through them, removing any stones you may find.
- Soak your chickpeas in a large bowl of water for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
- After your chickpeas have soaked, rinse them well and set aside.
- Place 8 cups of water in a large pot and bring the water to a boil. Add your chickpeas, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 75 – 90 minutes. Check your post regularly and add more water if required.
- When your chickpeas are done, meaning that they are soft to the bite but not mushy, drain them and allow them to cool.
- If you are using canned chickpeas, open the cans, rinse the beans, and proceed to the next step.
- In a large serving bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, except for the feta.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar, or bowl and mix well to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to coat.
- Cover the salad and allow it to rest at room temperature for an hour. When you are ready to serve, add the feta to the salad.
- Mix your salad well and serve.
- This salad is best served and eaten the day you prepared it.
- Refrigerate any leftover salad. Enjoy!