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Already you might be thinking to yourself, “what’s with the tomatoes…it’s January.”  I know I know.  However, I’ve been longing for some fresh tomatoes and with summer nowhere in site, I decided to break with seasonal wisdom and prepare this salad using pearl tomatoes.

And actually, between you and me, they weren’t half bad.  Not the same as picking them from your vegetable patch out back, but for my January tomato craving, they’ll work just fine.

Now, quickly run to your pantry to see if you have any canned chickpeas {aka garbanzo beans} in your pantry.  They’re probably all the way in the back behind the can of Rotel tomatoes and just beside the cream of mushroom soup.

The recipe calls for grilled pita bread (those grill marks look extra pretty when you plate up the finished salad), but I did not feel like standing outside at the gas grill, nor do I have an indoor grill so I pulled out my panini press and used that (without any butter) to get the desired grill marks on my pita bread.

You’ll need 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  Rinse them under cool water and drain them well.

I sliced about 10 pearl tomatoes.  The original recipe calls for Campari which are slightly larger than pearl tomatoes.  Of course, use whatever tomato you prefer or the one that looks freshest {it is January after all}.

Here’s a little peek at the grilled pita bread.  I used whole wheat but use whichever pita you prefer.

Add the rinsed and drained chickpeas along with the sliced tomatoes into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Next, add about 1/4 cup of fresh mint to the bowl.  I chopped 5 or 6 additional mint leaves  to disperse more of the mint throughout the tossed salad.  Their fresh minty aroma reminded me of iced tea, which of course reminded me of summer.  Can you tell I’m in the mood for summer?

Add 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese to the mixing bowl.  I think a reduced-fat {if you’re watching your calories this month} would work really well in this recipe.

In a screw-top jar, add 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 tbsp sugar.  Replace lid and shake vigorously to combine.

Add the vinaigrette to the salad mixture, add a couple of turns of black pepper using your pepper mill.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve the chickpea salad along with the grilled pita bread, which I cut in half.

You can take a look here for the original post and as always, scroll down to look at and print the recipe.

Chickpea Salad with Grilled Pita

Ingredients

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbonzo beans), rinsed and drained

10 pear tomatoes, sliced

4 ounce crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

5-6 mint leaves, chopped

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tbsp sugar

freshly ground black pepper

Method

Grill pita bread on an outdoor or indoor grill over medium heat until warm and slightly toasted (or use a panini press for the same effect).  Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.

In a medium bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, feta and mint.  In a screw-top jar combine the vinegar, oil, sugar and some freshly ground black pepper; shake to combine, pour over salad and toss.  Serve salad with grilled pita bread.

Yield:  4 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Better Homes and Gardens

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