This is my new salad addiction. In the absence of good tomatoes – it is February after all, I am now alternating between this lovely veggie salad and Crunchy Celery Salad almost every week.
Chick peas, olives, and lots of crumbled feta made this salad feel Greek to me. As a bonus, the chick peas are high in protein and fiber.
Lots of good stuff going on in this bowl!
Here’s what you need:
Green Onions, Celery, Yellow Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Chick Peas, Olives, Feta Cheese, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Oregano, Fresh Basil, Salt & Pepper (not pictured)
Start by making a quick vinaigrette in a big serving bowl. Mix 1/4 cup of good, extra virgin olive oil with 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.
Note: I like my salads fairly lightly coated in dressing. If you like a lot of dressing, you might want to add a bit more oil and vinegar to the mix. As long as you always have about a 2:1 oil to vinegar ratio, you can make as little or as much dressing as you need.
Salad dressing is one of the few times that I use my garlic press. Not only does it mash the garlic into really small pieces, but it also gives you some garlic juice in the process. I’m pressing 1 small clove of garlic but if you are a garlic lover, feel free to add more. If you don’t have a garlic press, you can certainly just smash and finely chop the garlic or use the side of your big knife to mash the garlic together with some salt into a paste.
Season the dressing with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Remember that the feta and olives are fairly salty so go easy at first then season to taste.
Whisk the dressing together to combine all of the ingredients. Drain and rinse 1 (15.5 oz) can of chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) and add them to the dressing. Put the chick peas in first so they can marinate while you chop all of other veggies.
Peel a cucumber and cut it in half. I like to remove the seeds from my cucumber for this salad as they can be bitter and also separate from the flesh of the cucumber and float weirdly throughout the salad. You can scrape them out with a spoon or even use your thumb. Cut the seeded cucumber into quarters, and then into small pieces.
While you’re in chopping mode, cut up 2 ribs of celery, 2 green onions,
a yellow (or any other color) bell pepper, and a pint of cherry tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
The great thing about cherry (or pear shaped) tomatoes is that they are available all year round and unlike regular grocery store (cardboard) tomatoes, actually have flavor.
Fresh basil make this salad really sing with flavor. Oddly, I still have some growing on my patio…welcome to Florida in February!
Chop up some nice green basil leaves (about 1/2 cup) and cut 1/2 cup of black or ripe olives in half and add them to the bowl.
Top with generous crumbles of feta cheese (about 3/4 cup) and gently toss the salad to coat all the veggies in the dressing. If you can make this 30-60 minutes ahead, the flavor really improves as the vegetables sit and marinate in the dressing.
Since this doesn’t have anything creamy in the dressing to spoil, this salad can be served cold or at room temperature.
It is well documented that when I get busy and stressed out I crave chocolate. Honestly, I pretty much crave chocolate under any and all circumstances. However, when I’m really busy, and especially when I’m on the road a lot, I also crave crunchy vegetables.
You can use almost any combination of vegetables that you have in the refrigerator. Last time I made this I had sugar snap peas so I tossed them right in there. Marinated artichoke hearts, peas, or carrots would all be great.
It’s easy to eat your veggies when they taste this fresh and good.
Here’s the recipe: