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For haters: Chickpea and Feta Salad

Chickpea and Feta Salad

You know, it’s funny. For most of my life thus far, I’ve professed to be a hater of salads. I know, it’s difficult to imagine hating something as innocuous and unassuming as a salad. It wasn’t a passionate hatred; I’ve always happily munched of lettuce and veg (no dressing, please) after dinner with the rest of my family. But as something to spend time making? As something to get excited about? As something to actually pay for in a restaurant? Please, I had better things to eat.

Which makes it all the more surprising that over the last few years, I’ve become obsessed with salads. My Mum might say that this is evidence of me “growing up”, but I know better. What really sparked this change of heart was discovering that salads don’t have to have lettuce. They can have vegetables. Or legumes, or cheese, or even pasta! Suddenly, a whole new world of dishes opens up when you realise that “salad” just means “dish served cold or at room temperature”.

Chickpea and Feta Salad

This particular salad is an adaption of one in Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. I reviewed this book last summer and at the time gave it three stars, though I’m beginning to think it deserves more. Lately, I want to eat everything I see in this multi-cultural gem of a book. Tessa’s Greek-inspired Chickpea and Feta Salad takes chickpeas, feta cheese, red onion, green onion, fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and somehow turns it into more than the sum of its parts.

It’s not the simplest salad you’ll come across. There’s rather a lot of simmering, chopping, sautéeing and marinating to do, but it’s worth it. This is by far the best chickpea salad I’ve ever had. Even if you’re a salad hater, a chickpea hater or a feta hater, I think you should try this. I know I’ll be eating it all summer (though I might munch on the odd bit of naked lettuce, too).

Chickpea and Feta Salad

  • Chickpea and Feta Salad
  • adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
  • serves 6 as a side; 3 as a main
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbs. olive oil
    1 leek, sliced lengthwise and chopped (white and light green parts only)
    1 small red onion, finely chopped
    1-2 red chilies, de-seeded and finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    approx. 500g chickpeas, either from a can or cooked from dried
    200g feta, crumbled
    4 green onions, finely chopped (dark and light green parts only)
    1/3 cup finely chopped coriander
    2 Tbs. finely chopped mint
    zest and juice of 1 lemon
    sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1. Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Gently cook the leek and red onion for 8-10 minutes, until very soft and beginning to turn golden. Add the chili and garlic and cook for another minute or two until very fragrant- be careful not to brown the garlic. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    2. Place the chickpeas, feta, green onions, coriander, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice and remaining olive oil in a large bowl. When it’s cool enough not to melt the feta, add the mixture from the frying pan and gently stir everything to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave salad for at least one hour (or as many as 24) in the fridge; the flavours will meld and improve.

9 comments

  1. Amy says:

    How funny, I love salad, I like chickpeas, and fetta is wonderful. This salad looks delish! I’ve owned Falling Cloudberries for a while now and I have not yet cooked from it. What recipes do you recommend?

  2. Dana says:

    I laughed when I read this. A vegetarian who doesn’t like salad! A carnivore just would not understand – but I do. I do love salad, but I like a healthy “stuff” to lettuce ratio and have been known to just eat around the lettuce. Chickpeas are, as you probably know, one of my favorite things on earth and I am always looking for new salads to put them in. This looks terrific!

  3. h says:

    I make a salad similar to this about once a week during the summer. I rotate the vegetables to showcase what is in season and also add a backdrop of bulgar. My salads always have an equal part olive oil and lemon juice, about 1/2 cup total,with about 4 or 5 minced garlic cloves. A bunch of chopped flat leaf italian parsley,a handful of chopped mint and always an addition of moroccan olive cured olives and a cup or two of chickpeas. Yum!

  4. adrienne says:

    chickpeas are one of my favorite beans to eat in salads, warm or cold. i bet goat cheese would taste lovely too. yum!

  5. [...] but fortunately she does like beans and chickpeas and so when  I came across this recipe for chickpea and feta salad I thought I might give it a [...]

  6. sarah says:

    Oh, I love salads and order them at restaurants too, usually with a bowl of soup of the day on the side. I think you can be so inventive with a salad and most restaurants usually are. Just like your salad here! Chickpeas are one of my favourites, too, and this sounds delicious. I hardly use lettuce in salads anymore.

  7. Mac says:

    Delicious! This is the second Kitchenist recipe I’ve tried… changed a bit (no leaks, fewer chiles) and love it. Can’t wait to prepare – and eat – it again. Thx, Ms. E!

  8. [...] hugely versatile. Once I cottoned on to the fact that bruschetta is just stuff on bread (hmm, and salads are just any dish not served hot- maybe I should put these pearls of wisdom in my own book), I did an abrupt 180° on [...]