Photo by Jasja Dekker, Flickr commons
Although this salad is delicious as a side dish, it’s so hearty that it can be the centerpiece of the meal. This organic salad is high-protein, so you get plenty of mileage with this meal; you will not be hungry in just two hours!
It’s terrific served with hearty whole grain bread on the side, preferably organic and baked by a local baker, to sop up the vinaigrette.
2 15 oz. cans organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 15 oz. cans organic black-eyed peas
2 15 oz. cans organic artichoke hearts
4 large organic tomatoes
½ large organic onion
6 large fresh organic garlic cloves
¼ cup organic olive oil
½ cup organic balsamic vinegar
A few pinches of dried organic parsley
Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
Drain chickpeas and black-eyed peas, and dump them into a large bowl. Chop artichoke hearts (into eighths if they’re whole, or into quarters if they’re already halved). Chop tomatoes and dice onion; dump artichokes, tomatoes and onion into bowl. Crush garlic gloves with garlic press and add to the luscious pile of goodies.
Whip olive oil and balsamic vinegar together in a smaller bowl, then pour over the pile. Your mouth should be watering now. Add a few generous pinches of parsley, then salt and pepper to taste. Stir all the ingredients thoroughly with a large spoon to distribute them evenly and coat them with vinaigrette.
You can increase the ratio of balsamic vinegar to olive oil if you like the vinaigrette to taste more tangy! And you can increase the overall amount of oil and vinegar if you want the salad to be more juicy.
You can also experiment with which type of vinegar flavor you like best. Red wine or raspberry balsamic vinegar taste great in this dish.
As for the fresh ground salt and pepper, you can either add them to the oil and vinegar mixture, just sprinkle them onto the ingredients before stirring, or both.
Adding fresh chopped basil–or any fresh organic herb you think would harmonize well with this dish–is also an option. You can also substitute organic escallions (green onions) for the diced onions, which also adds more color.
The trick to delicious recipes is to cook by your own taste, not necessarily by following the recipe verbatim. Besides, how fun would cooking be if you couldn’t sample the dishes while you’re creating them?
This dish, which serves 6 or more, also works great for summer pitch-ins, especially if you’re vegan. You can’t always count on non-dairy, high-protein dishes at such gatherings, but you can definitely depend on this hearty summer salad!