Feeling a littly heavy after the Holiday splurge? Make a commitment to up your veggie intake this month and give your body a break from processed foods and sugar overloads.
This Greek inspired Chickpea Salad will become your favorite salad to make at home or to take to a friends BBQ. You can prep it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to three days. It’s perfect served on it’s own or alongside leftovers.
This is a suprisingly versatile salad that can be served up in a number of ways:
- Vegan Chickpea Salad – Skip the cheese and add chopped avocado
- Tuna Chickpea Salad – Skip the feta and add 1 can of Tuna
- Chicken Chickpea Salad – Slice up two grilled chicken breasts (or 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken)
Trying Chickpeas for the First time?
I know it can be daunting to try a veggie for the first time. You’re not sure whether the family will even eat it and nobody likes tossing good food in the trash.
For years we only ever ate chickpeas in Hummus. I didn’t even consider serving them up in a salad. I felt pretty certain that my family wouldn’t eat them in their whole bean form.
Then (and feel free jump to the recipe and skip the recipe prologue), I went to a friends wedding. We don’t go to many of these anymore (an age thing I think). It was her 5th and his 1st and Hawaiian themed – so you know it was a good day! At the reception, they served up a gigantic bowl of this Chickpea Salad. It was so good. I had two bowls and I knew then that my kids would just have to learn to love it – because Mommy was now obsessed!
Yup, I begged for the recipe, wrote it on a napkin and gave it a Clean Eating makeover.
How to Make your Chickpea Salad Kid Friendly
My kids (the fussy two) are notoriously suspicious of new foods. Their default setting is ‘I don’t like it’ (and it includes that expression of disgust) – before they taste it. So introducing chickpeas to their diet needed a little finess and trickery.
When serving this salad up to fussy kids, try these tips:
- Cut up all my veggies quite small so only the most OCD child would be able to pick out the bits they ‘don’t like’
- The salad dressing is vital as it has a little honey added for a sweetness.
- Make it in secret. Nobody saw me make this salad the first time I served it up to the family. I popped it on the table all ready to eat so nobody got to see how many veggies are actually in the salad.
- If you know that your kids are extrememly averse to an ingredient – leave it out. It’s OK.
- And finally …. Serve it up when they were hungry. Hungry kids are more likely to give new foods a try.
It took a bit of coaxing, but they all gave it a try the first time I served up this salad. As expected, the fussier two crunched their way through it unhappily but the rest of the family loved it. It’s become a regular at our table now, so no-one is surprised by the ‘new ingredient’ and they all eat it without a fuss.
Are Chickpeas Good for You?
Well, yes they are! So toss the guilt and load your bowl to the brim with this powerhouse of a veggie. Chickpeas are chock full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein so they have a number of health benefits, including:
- Aiding in weight loss (they keep you full for longer so you’ll forgo that next snack).
- Encouraging sound and undisrupted sleep cycles (something to do with their B vitamin content – read the science stuff here)
- Rich in Plant based protein, which has been shown to improve digestion,bone health and maintaining muscle strength.
How to Make Chickpea Salad
Chickpeas -I choose organic, canned chickpeas as they are not too much more expensive than the regular variety and still a whole lot cheaper than a meat based meal. Aside from the low cost factor, the next best thing about Canned chickpeas is that they are cooked and ready to eat right out the can. Simply drain the brine and rinse under clean water before serving.
Chop your Veggies – Chop or slice your veggies into bite size pieces or smaller (read my kid friendly tips above). Add the chopped veggies to the chcikpeas. I’ve made a Greek inspired version (with feta and olives) with Chickpeas as the main ingredient, but you can pretty much add chickpeas to any salad. It’s a great way to add extra protein and bulk up a meal.
Mix your Dressing – We all have our favorite dressing, and this is mine. I generally have all the ingredients on hand and can make it up in under a minute. Once you taste it, you will never buy store made dressing again. Simply add your ingredients to a little jar and give it a good shake.
More Clean Eating Salad Recipes
- Clean Eating Warm Harvest Salad
- Clean Eating Chopped Mexican Salad
- Festive Caprese Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
Chickpea Greek Salad
- 2 cans Chickpeas drained, rinsed
- 1/2 cup Cucumber finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Baby tomatoes chopped into halves or quarters
- 1/4 cup Red pepper finely chopped
- 1/4 cup kalmata olives pitted, sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped or crumbled
- 1/4 cup corn fresh or frozen
Assemble your Salad in a large mixing bowl
- Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.
- Prep,chop and slice all your veggies.
- Add your feta cheese.
Make the Dressing
- Add all dressing ingredients to a jar and shake it up well. Pour over the salad and combine.