Thursday, March 6, 2014

Roasted Chickpea Salad with Arugula, Feta, and Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette

When Paul and I were first married, I brought home a couple cans of garbanzo beans and he immediately declared: "I hate garbanzo beans! I call them "garbage beans" because that's what they taste like - garbage!"

Strong words.

I made a batch of hummus a couple days later and served it as a snack along with some baby carrots and pita bread for dipping. Paul the self-declared bean hater dug in and polished off 3/4 of the batch by himself.

"But, I thought you hated garbanzo beans?" I asked as he scraped the bottom of the bowl for any remaining hummus.

"I do. Hummus is made from chickpeas." He replied with obvious condescension.

"And just what exactly do you think garbanzo beans are, Paul?"

As it turns out, Paul does not really hate garbanzo beans. He only thinks he does. Sure, he won't eat them out of a can with a spoon, but who would? When prepared properly and referred to as "chickpeas" he seems to find them quite delicious.

Like in this salad. Half of the garbanzo beans are roasted to provide a nice textural crunch while the other half are reserved to be tossed with the spicy arugula and zippy lemon-mint vinaigrette. The salad is finished with a generous topping of feta, additional mint, thinly sliced red onion, and chopped apples. It's a refreshing, healthy, and surprisingly filling dinner salad, not to mention one of my favorite meals. This recipe really relies on high-quality ingredients: freshly-squeezed lemon juice, good-quality extra-virgin olive oil (we just picked up some new stuff and it is amazing, and some delicious brine-packed feta. Paul was especially fond of the roasted garbage beans (I mean garbanzo beans) and I probably will end up roasting a couple cans to have on hand for a quick snack in the future.

Roasted Chickpea Salad with Arugula, Feta, and Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette
adapted from Bon Appetite

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and Pepper
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
7 cups arugula (about 5 ounces) - I used a blend of spinach and arugula
1/4 cup mint leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 firm, sweet apple, peeled and cubed (optional - I added this in on the 2nd day and we loved it!)
3-4 ounces feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place half of chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until chickpeas are golden brown and crispy, 20–23 minutes. Let cool completely.
Whisk remaining 3 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, minced fresh mint, and vinegar in a small bowl. Season vinaigrette with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. I ended up adding an additional tablespoon, but it will depend on your personal taste preference as well as the tartness of the particular lemon!
Combine remaining chickpeas, arugula, fresh mint, chopped apples and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over and season with salt and pepper and gently toss to coat. Garnish with reserved roasted chickpeas and feta.

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