I'm not too crazy about room-temperature bean salads; I like my beans best when they're hot and refried. But I'm always tempted by legume recipes for their cheapness and healthiness, and it's the season for salads. I've also yet to meet a Jamie Oliver salad that I didn't like—the man has a knack. So when I saw this chickpea recipe, I took a chance. I liked that they are heated in a skillet to give them color and creaminess, similarly to another delicious recipe I made awhile back.
Shedding the usual trappings of lettuce and raw vegetables, this salad pairs the creamy chickpea against salty feta cheese and sweet cherry tomatoes; bits of basil and mint shoot it through with herby freshness. The dressing is bright and lemony, and a little hot from a fresh chili. It's not a revolutionary recipe, but it was simple to prepare and very appealing. The trick to take away is the heating of the chickpeas; beyond that, the spices and ingredients could be easily adapted.
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small fresh red chili, deseeded and minced
- 2 handfuls red or yellow cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 410g can of good-quality imported chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, roughly torn or chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, roughly torn or chopped
- 7 ounces feta cheese
Combine the onion, chili, and tomatoes with their juice into a bowl. Dress with most of the lemon juice and olive oil to taste (about three times as much as lemon juice), then season with salt and pepper.
In a small skillet, drizzle a little olive oil over medium heat and add the chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes until hot and creamy and just beginning to color. Add them to the bowl and allow to marinate and cool.
Once cooled, toss the herbs and season again to taste, adding any remaining lemon juice if needed. Serve with the feta cheese loosely crumbled on top.