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Summer Chickpea Kale Salad with Feta, Olives & Basil

Hey all! Hoping everyone had a great week! Today's post is a quickie as I head off to a day of discussion, sharing, driving & fun with a big group of my co-workers somewhere deep, deep in the woods where cell phones don't work. Yup, it's time for our annual team building retreat weekend in the BC Wilderness where the bears roam freely and so do the ideas. But don't worry, we will be in cabins safe & sound ;) I have to duck out early to be back for a special event this weekend, which means driving 3 hours home to get back for the morning. It's going to be a big day, and one I am really looking forward to (a long summer nights drive alone with good music? My kind of fun).

This recipe was conceived last weekend after drooling over two recipes on fave blogs of mine. While my blog reading has been almost non-existent this summer (something I miss), I do know a hit of inspiration when I see one, and when these two ladies posted recipes with similar summer ingredients within what seemed like a week of each other, my brain was stuck with no turning back.

Angela at Oh She Glows posted this beautiful summer platter of chickpea salad over tomatoes, and along with it some very practical thoughts on cooking up your own chickpeas (which is something I do more often than not). Not long afterwards, Sara at Sprouted Kitchen posted this gorgeous shredded kale with tomatoes, olives & feta.

You can kind of see where I'm going here right?

I present to you a killer combination of many of my favourite things. With summer bounty everywhere and basil & tomatoes by the bucketful, this salad brings together wonderful vibrant flavours, gorgeous colour, and loads of good healthy veggie vibes all 'round. It's a goodie.

Summer Chickpea Kale Salad with Feta, Olives & Basil

  • (4) cups cooked Kabuli chickpeas*
  • (2-3) cups packed green curly kale, minced
  • (1/3) cup kalamata olives, pitted & minced finely (about 20)
  • (1/2) cup cubed feta cheese
  • (1) clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4) cup minced red onion (optional)
  • (4) tbsp olive oil
  • (2-3) tbsp red wine vinegar
  • (1) tsp salt (or to taste)
  • black pepper to taste
  • (1) pint cherry tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves (from the garden or about one 6-8 leaves)

Combine the cooked beans, chopped kale, olives, feta, garlic & red onion (if using) and toss gently together. Stir in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper and adjust to taste. Mix all gently to incorporate the dressing. Halve the cherry tomatoes and toss them in just at the end, reserving a few to leave on top for colour. Just before serving, tear a generous amount of fresh basil leaves and scatter over the top.

*I can't stress enough how easy it is to cook chickpeas from scratch, as I know there are so many that are intimidated by it. The only thing required is a little foresight for the soaking and a spare hour to cook them. The results taste just so much better than the canned beans and save lots of energy, waste, and money in the long run. Dry chickpeas require soaking in plenty of cold water for at least 8 hours or so, after which they can simply be rinsed with more cold water, and cooked in a large pot with plenty of more water. Combine the soaked chickpeas with double the chickpea volume of fresh water, and bring this to a boil. Simmer the chickpeas at a light rolling boil for about an hour (with the lid half on), or until they are soft. You can add a teaspoon of salt to the water while cooking as well to add flavor. When soft, drain, rinse, and store the cooked beans in a container covered with water in the fridge (my mom packs them in small yoghurt containers and freezes them in hummus size portions). If you have yet to do this, I highly suggest it as the home cooked beans are superior in every way.

This salad is sturdy and will keep very well in the fridge. As it sits, it will get better and the flavours stronger, so enjoy it through the week as an add-on to a vegetable dinner or as a small nutritious packed lunch. My garlic loving teenager ate this all up before I had a chance to enjoy, so that's always the sign of a hit :)

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