Wife Jan asked for za’atar chicken skewers for Mother’s Day and I thought about what should go with it as a side dish. A Mediterranean tomato and cucumber salad came to mind as something I had done before. However, to change things up I decided to throw in some chickpeas—AKA garbanzo beans. My meat marinade used most of a carton of yogurt and—to pair the salad with the main dish—I added the rest of the yogurt to the dressing.
Karl’s Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
4 oz. Greek yogurt
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbs. raw agave syrup
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
3 Persian cucumbers, deseeded and chopped
1 large beefsteak tomato, deseeded and chopped
Pinch Kosher salt
1 14.5 oz. can Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
3 large green onions, green part only, sliced thinly
1. Put all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and stir them together.
Tip: Set the bowl aside for at least 10 minutes to meld.
2. Deseed and chop the cucumbers and tomatoes into small bite sized pieces.
3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the vegetables and toss to distribute the salt.
4. Place the cucumbers and tomatoes into a large sieve and place it over a bowl.
Tip: Cucumbers and tomatoes are very wet vegetables and if you do not draw off some of the excess juices your dressing will end up very thin and watery by the time you serve it.
Note: Let the vegetables “sweat” for at least 20 minutes before adding them to the salad—this will draw off at least ¼ cup of excess liquid. Adding the vegetables to the salad just before serving minimizes the time they have to water down the dressing.
5. Put the rinsed chickpeas, red bell pepper, cilantro, and green onions to a salad bowl and pour the dressing over them.
Note: I am only adding the green parts of the onions to this salad. I am using the thick white parts for my chicken skewers.
6. Toss to coat the vegetables and let them meld for 10-20 minutes.
7. Just before serving add the cucumbers and tomatoes and toss to coat.
8. Serve slightly chilled.