Chickpea, Feta & Cilantro Salad

Last month I rejoined the gym.  Trust me, it was long overdue.  I've refused to buy clothes in a larger size and now (if I have any desire at all to breathe) the number of available ensembles in my closet is at an alarming low.  French women may pull it together with five easy pieces but I crave a bit more variety.

So the weight machines and I have become well acquainted.  Lower body, upper body, abdominal (painful!), I dutifully go through the paces prescribed by the gym's personal trainer.  And - shocker - I actually enjoy it.  Muscles have woken up and are engaged, and I feel stronger if not yet leaner.  Although I can't quite fully exhale in the grey pants I bought online last spring and have never worn, my palms once again touch the floor.

All this physical goodness has spilled over into other parts of my life, the obvious one being eating habits.  Not so much pasta, a lot more salad.  This recipe from Falling Cloudberries is one of many that I had dog-eared to try.  Nancy came by while I was making it and she gave it her seal of approval.  I agree - it has a nice zippy flavor.  So good, in fact, I'm planning to make it again on Wednesday for Greek Girls' Night.

Have a wonderful week - and enjoy!

from Falling Cloudberries, by Tessa Kiros

1-1/4 cups dried chickpeas (without skins if possible), soaked overnight in cold water OR
1 14-ounce can chickpeas
1 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 or 2 red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1-2/3 cups crumbled feta cheese
4 scallions, green part only, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Juice of 1 lemon

If you're using dried chickpeas:  Rinse the soaked chickpeas, put them in a saucepan, cover generously with water, and bring to a boil.  Decrease the heat slightly and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until they are soft but not falling apart, adding salt toward the end of the cooking time.  Leave them in their liquid if you will not be making the salad right away.  When cooled, drain and put the chickpeas in a large bowl, picking out as many of the loose skins as you can.

If you're using canned chickpeas:  Rinse the chickpeas and put them into a bowl.  

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and fry the red onion gently, until it is cooked through and lightly golden.  Add the garlic and chile and cook for a few more seconds, until you can smell the garlic.  Take care not to brown the garlic.  Let cool completely.

Add the feta, scallion, cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice to the chickpeas and season with pepper and a pinch more salt, if needed.  Add the cooled garlic oil and the remaining olive oil and mix very well.  

Serves 6 as a side dish

Note:  I used Pastene canned chickpeas and the skins slid off easily with rinsing.  I adjusted some of the other ingredients:  I used 1/2 of a large red onion and red pepper flakes instead of the red chilies.  Also, I added just enough olive oil to moisten the salad and not the full cup stated in the recipe.  



  1. This is a salad I WOULD Love to devour! I workout six days a week, jog for 40 minutes/aerobics with my pedometer in place, then I do weights, I have a goal my mind and staying under 1400 cals a day is not easy!

    I have been using chickpeas in place of white rice for dinner/lunch when I eat at home, trying to stay away from refined flours/rice, and about to order a $8 loaf of sprouted wheat breads so I can enjoy something besides meal bars for breakfast/lunch.

    Feta is one of my favorite cheeses.

  2. Your discipline is impressive! On days I'm not at the gym, I try to power-walk through town or do yoga. Haven't been able to give up toasted baguette drizzled with olive oil for breakfast, though.


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