August 20, 2012

Healthy Summertime Chickpea Chopped Salad

Healthy Summertime Chickpea Chopped Salad

Remember when I told you about the stay-cation I took a couple weeks ago where I ate at restaurants every night and drank lots of beer and then swore I'd only eat salad for the next week?  Well I stayed true to my word and this is what I ate for pretty much the whole week.  I would have loved this even if I hadn't overeaten the previous week, and I would have kept eating it forever if I hadn't needed to try other recipes - it was so good!

I don't think I've ever actually had a chopped salad before, but I'd seen them on a couple of blogs lately - like this chicken chickpea version from Ambitious Kitchen and this chicken and blueberry version from How Sweet It Is - and started craving one so bad!  I actually had to research what exactly a chopped salad is before I went ahead and made my own version, and apparently it just means that all the ingredients are chopped to about the same size.  You'd think I'd have figured that out by the name 'chopped salad', but I had to be sure!

Healthy Summertime Chickpea Chopped Salad

So I decided to go ahead and make a healthy vegetarian version with chickpeas as my main protein; lots of summery ingredients like corn, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and red pepper; some olives and fat-free feta thrown in for added flavour; and I tossed it all in a light vinaigrette.

I loved how with the lettuce being the same size as the other ingredients, you don't end up with huge pieces of lettuce and nothing else.  Every bite was full of ingredients and every bite was different - I loved the bites with creamy avocado, I loved the bites with sweet corn, I loved the bites with salty olives, I loved the bites with nutty chickpeas ... you get the idea - I loved every bite!

Healthy Summertime Chickpea Chopped Salad

You can easily change this up to include any ingredients you like, or change the dressing to give it a completely different look and taste.  If you prefer creamier dressings, it would probably be great with a ranch dressing, or try a bbq dressing like Monique from Ambitious Kitchen used in her version.  The possibilities are endless - I think I could eat this for every meal over these last few weeks of summer and not get sick of it!

Healthy Summertime Chickpea Chopped Salad

Healthy Summertime Chickpea Chopped Salad

Recipe inspired by Ambitious Kitchen

Serving size will vary, but I’d guess this serves around 6 as a side dish or 3 as a main dish

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 a large cucumber, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed (about 1 to 1.5 cups)
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 to 1/3 cup pitted sliced kalamata olives, if desired
1/3 to 1/2 cup light feta cheese (I used fat-free)
Desired amount of your favourite salad dressing.  I used the following:

For the Dressing:
1 lime, juice and zest
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

*Please note that all amounts are approximate and can be adjusted to your liking!

Directions:

Wash the lettuce and dry well.  Stack a few leaves of lettuce on top of each other, cut into about 5 pieces lengthwise, then chop into small pieces across the width.  Repeat with remaining lettuce so you have small, 1/2-inch sized pieces of lettuce. 

Transfer lettuce to a large bowl.  Top with chickpeas, grape tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, corn, avocado, olives, and feta.  Keep ingredients separate if desired for serving, or you can toss them all together if you prefer.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Toss with salad to combine or leave separate to mix into individual servings.

13 comments:

  1. MMM...mmmm....I love salads like this!

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  2. This is my kind of salad....I love adding tons of different ingredients to my salads so that every bite has a variety of tasty components, just like this! I like that you added the salty olives and feta, although I bet cubed marble cheese would go well here too!

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  3. Love it all (minus the peppers). I am going to make this for lunch tomorrow.

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  4. Kiersten @ Oh My VeggiesAugust 20, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    My mom always gets chopped salads at restaurants, but I've never had one myself either. I love that you built one around chickpeas--my favorite protein-packed salad topper! :D And the dressing sounds light & delicious too.

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  5. I've been loving chopped salads lately too. I love your version with avocado, feta and olives. Three of my favourite things! And the dressing sounds amazing! Lime and honey make such a delicious dressing. This would be great for lunches this week!

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  6. Joanne @ Eats Well With OthersAugust 21, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    I can definitely use a good detox and this salad sounds like the perfect way to kick it off!

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  7. Mine stayed good for at least a few days, I just kept my dressing separate and dressed it before I ate, so it made for good lunches!

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  8. Chickpeas were delicious in this, although I'm thinking black beans would be great too!

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  9. There's plenty going on even without the peppers so they could easily get left out! Let me know how you like it!

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  10. It would be awesome - shredded would probably make for more even distribution but then I guess it wouldn't make this a 'chopped' salad!

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  11. such a gorgeous summer salad!

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  12. Thank you for explaining what a chopped salad is. I was in the same boat as you!

    I'm kind of a weird salad eater in that I like to get one of everything in each bite, but that would be way difficult with this one. But it worked even having to "split up" the elements, and I loved it - and it's super adaptable to whatever summer veggies you have!

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  13. I usually like getting some of everything in each bite with salads, but I liked the element of surprise with this one in that every bite was different!

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