Saturday, September 12, 2015

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

It's a summer of salads! Even though it's September and all the stores claim that it's fall already, it isn't here in Southern California.

Nope. It's 105, hot and humid. So I would say that still qualifies as summer, wouldn't you?

Even so, the stores still have a wonderful assortment of late summer vegetables that need to be put to good use.  So why not make a salad with some juicy summer tomatoes and some fresh herbs?  

I've been glancing through my Ina Garten cookbooks lately and picked up one titled "Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?".  She has the most perfect recipes that just always, always work. The flavors pop and I've never had a dish I didn't like from Ina. Don't you just love her?  So anyway, I found a wonderful salad she called "Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad" which was right up my alley.  I love the combination of tomatoes, cucumber, mint, garbanzo beans, feta etc....all wrapped up in a lemon vinaigrette.   This was what I decided to make and I'm sooooo glad I did!

This was fabulous.  Crunchy, sweet, salty, and tart all rolled into one dish.  Plus, this was really easy to make.  Great as a side dish with some grilled chicken, or as a lunch main dish. It holds up well so the leftovers are just as delicious.  A real winner!

Here's her recipe below.  

You can't beat a salad, in the summer, or any other time.

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

(Serves 4 to 6)

adapted from Ina Garten's : Copyright 2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and ½-inch-diced 
1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and ½-inch-diced 
1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves 
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons) 
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves) 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
½ cup good olive oil 
8 ounces good feta cheese, ½-inch-diced 

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. 

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently. 

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