Summer has arrived full blown. Record setting heat in May and bright sunny days have brightened the grass and caused the flowers to bloom. It looks like we may have an extra month of summer to enjoy!
Greek Chickpeas with Feta is just right for summer eating. It's quick and easy to make, good at room temperature or chilled, and very versatile. It is a nice side dish, a satisfying light meal, and a perfect portable picnic dish.
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans and ceci beans. They are one of the oldest cultivated legumes, having been found in ancient Egyptian sites. And for good reason: they offer protein, high fiber, low fat and numerous nutrients, including zinc and foliate. Their high fiber allows for a slow release of carbohydrates so there are not big spikes in blood sugar. The protein and fibers also combine to contribute to a "fullness factor' - they make you feel satisfied!
Tomatoes and cucumbers add the other main components of the dish., One of the tricks to using these water filled vegetables in a salad is to remove the seeds. This is not necessary with cherry tomatoes but if you are substituting any other tomatoes you will need to remove the seeds and the fleshy interior. Adding the salt to the cucumbers and tomatoes pulls out even more moisture. This keeps the flavors strong and distinct because they are not being diluted. Some of the salt drains away, but enough remains so that no extra salt needs to be added.
The dressing is very simple - just red wine vinegar and olive oil in a 1:1 ratio, making this a relatively lower fat dressing. Adding a small amount of chopped olives and some feta cheese adds to the flavors while the crumbled feta mixes a bit with the oil and vinegar adding body. The flavors all meld into a light but satisfying dish.
Greek Chickpeas with FetaIngredients
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 TBS olive oil
- 3 TBS red wine vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 14 ounce can of chickpeas
- ¼ red onion
- ½ cup pitted olives
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
- If it is a large cucumber, cut each half again.
- Slice the lengths into ¼ inch pieces.
- Half the cherry tomatoes and toss them with the cucumbers and salt.
- Place the mix in a strainer or colander for at least 15 minutes to let the excess water drain away.
- Finely mince the garlic glove (or put it through a press). Add it to the olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Whisk to blend.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
- Mince a quarter of a red onion.
- Rough chop the olives and parsley.
- Toss with the red wine dressing and let sit to mellow the flavors for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the cucumbers and tomatoes. Toss well.
- Gently toss in the crumbled feta cheese.
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This class is made possible through the generosity of Legacy Village Giant Eagle. Please patronize them and let them know if you enjoyed the class!