Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad
Now that Summer is upon us, I find myself not being very hungry. Or maybe it’s just too hot to be cooped up in the kitchen cooking? Either way, I seem to prefer lighter meals this time of year, like salad. But I can get bored with salads pretty quickly, so I have to get creative. That’s where this Middle Eastern chickpea salad comes in. Not only is it a gorgeous salad, but it’s also healthy and higher in protein than most salads, thanks to the chickpeas.
Possible Chickpea Salad Additions
I call this recipe “Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad” because most of the ingredients are common in Assyrian cuisine. The zaatar and sumac used in the dressing definitely take this recipe in a Middle Eastern direction. But perhaps you want to serve this with an Italian or a Mexican meal? Simply switching a few ingredients can give you a completely different taste. Let’s take a look at some possibilities…
Italian Chickpea Salad
To give this salad more of an Italian flair, I would add some fresh chopped Italian parsley, capers, artichoke hearts, and mini mozzarella balls. I would keep the base of the dressing the same, or replace the lemon juice with some red wine vinegar. Finally, I would replace the zaatar with parmesan cheese, and the sumac with oregano. If that’s not Italian, I don’t know what is!
Mexican Chickpea Salad
Our next challenge is to transform this Middle Eastern chickpea salad to a Mexican dish; a piece of cake! I would start by adding some grilled corn, black beans, and diced jalapeños. The dressing would be altered by omitting the zaatar and sumac, and replacing them with 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Crumbling some queso fresco at the end would probably be a good idea, don’t you think? As you can see, this is one of those recipes you can play around with and take in any direction you choose. The possibilities are endless!
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Don’t forget to check out my Classic Middle Eastern Food Combinations.
- 1 can chickpeas
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 persian cucumber
- 1/4 cup purple onion diced
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 T. za'atar (see recipe on my blog)
- 1 tsp. sumac
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Drain the chickpeas and add to a bowl. Gather all the salad and dressing ingredients.
- Chop salad ingredients and add to the same bowl and set aside. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, and mix gently to combine.
- Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Store in the refrigerator for a few hours, or until the flavors come together. Serve as a side with your favorite entree.