This Tomato Cucumber Salad with Crispy Chickpeas is like summer in a bowl. With lots of fresh herbs, it's loaded with vibrant flavor. The easy, pan-fried chickpeas add a healthy and delicious touch!
Last week we spent a wonderful, long weekend at our daughter, Cait's lake home. The weather was perfect and our son was also there with his family. It was delightful to be together. After over seven years of having part of the family (Cait and her husband and children) on the opposite side of the Atlantic, we're quite thrilled to having everyone, once again, residing on U.S. soil.
We did lots of swimming, boating and tubing over the weekend and even found a beautiful little deserted island to enjoy a picnic lunch one of the days. The lake water was quite chilly when we first arrived but got warmer as each hot, sunny day progressed and we all turned into quite the water bugs!
Despite the pandemonium when we're all together, early mornings (before "the herd" arouses from slumber) at the lake house are peaceful and beyond beautiful. I love getting up before the sun peeks up over the horizon to soak in the gorgeous beauty and silence. Early one morning Scott caught this beautiful picture from the back deck. I couldn't help but be in awe of our Creator who does "exceedingly, abundantly beyond what we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)", so obvious in the glorious sunrise!
Cait, Lindsay and I took turns cooking over the weekend, so no one felt overworked, despite the fact that there were twelve hungry mouths to feed for each meal. The last evening we were together, I made pizza and Cait offered to prepare a tomato-cucumber salad.
We all enjoyed her wonderful salad with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, Feta cheese and crispy chickpeas. I was sure you would love it too, so I asked Cait for the recipe. I'll let her tell you about it...
We've loved living in London for the past seven and a half years, but several years into our time abroad, we realized that an escape from the city life for our family would be wonderful. We found a house on Lake Gaston in North Carolina that we fell in love with.
It's been the perfect oasis and antithesis to the constraints of our urban life. At the lake house our kids live like urchins, running barefoot, swimming daily in the lake and, if I'm honest, rarely washing their hair or hands! They spend their days discovering all sorts of bugs, stars and new and different ways of entertaining themselves.
On top of all these contrasts to our London life, I find we eat differently here, too. My dad, aka Papa Scott, makes sure that by the time we roll off the plane, an abundance of herbs are growing strong on our back deck. He also brings us bounty from his gorgeous garden, and we visit the local farmers markets to scoop up any produce we can find.
While heavier foods, like soup and curries, appeal in our London life, here we eat loads of fruit, veggies and grilled meats instead. All year long I find myself wistfully pinning summer recipes to my "Lake Eats" Pinterest board, as I dream of those lake days - this recipe is one of those. It was probably pinned in the dead of winter, as I fantasized about juicy cucumbers, salty feta and toasty chickpeas.
I added tomatoes and a bit of Mom's greek dressing and it was done - the perfect compliment to pizza, grilled chicken, burgers, or whatever's on the dinner menu! It'd be great too, wrapped in a pita with a little greek yogurt.
I made Cait's tomato-cucumber salad twice since returning from the lake, once for Scott and I for dinner one evening and again for this photoshoot - so we could share it with you. It's healthy, fresh and so... delicious. After the photoshoot, I sent a platter of it to our neighbors - they loved it too!
Café Tips for making this Tomato Cucumber Salad with Crispy Chickpeas:
- The salad can be mostly made ahead, keep the ingredients separate until just before serving.
- Wait to chop the mint until right before putting the salad together, as it has a tendency to turn brown if it sits around too long. The parsley will be fine if chopped an hour or so in advance.
- The recipe calls for chopped fresh mint. For a pretty presentation, I also like to add small, whole fresh mint leaves.
- You can use either crumbled or block Feta. I think block Feta, cut in small dice, gives a prettier presentation, but either one will be delicious. I love the Kolios Organic Feta Cheese from Costco.
- Use either small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or larger tomatoes cut in bite-size pieces. Stay away from tomatoes that are really watery.
- I like to use Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers for this salad, as they tend to be less watery than the seeded varieties.
Got a family weekend coming up? A party, picnic or potluck? Or maybe you just need something fresh and delicious to serve with that grilled entree you're planning this week. Put this Moroccan Tomato Cucumber Salad with Crispy Chickpeas on the menu. I promise it will be a hit!
- For the Crispy Chickpeas
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- For the salad:
- 4 medium Persian cucumbers washed, trimmed, and diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups halved cherry or diced Roma tomatoes
- ¼ of a medium red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley chopped
- ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves chopped
- Zoe's Copycat Dressing
- ½ cup diced or crumbled Feta cheese
- flaky sea salt to taste
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- ½ fresh lemon
For the chickpeas, heat olive oil in a medium size sauté pan over medium heat. Add coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper. Cook for 10-15 seconds until fragrant.
Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown. Continue to pan-fry until the chickpeas become as toasty as you’d like.
In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, and mint.
Drizzle with a bit of Zoe’s Copycat Dressing, and toss to combine.
Top with Feta and crispy chickpeas.
Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt, a grind of fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.