Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mediterranean Confetti Salad

Article first published as Mediterranean Confetti Salad on Blogcritics.

I indulged a little too much over the holiday weekend and needed a meal that offered lots of protein, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and tons of flavor to get me back on track.  I decided to put together a quick chick pea salad with herbs, vegetables and some sweet and savory components.   The humble side dish ended up being the star of our meal with its bright flavors, vibrant colors and many textures.  It was simple enough for Tuesday night with the kids, but definitely unique and eye-appealing enough for a special event.  I used what I had in my drawer, but you could sub out almost any component for something seasonally and available that you like.  We paired this with Parmesan and Panko-Crusted Tilapia, Steamed Green and Wax Beans, and fresh Cantaloupe slices.  It would be wonderful with grilled chicken, lamb kebobs or Grilled Swordfish too, or you could serve this in a bed of greens, paired with some whole-wheat flatbread for a vegetarian meal.  Enjoy!

1 (15 oz.) can of chick peas (Garbanzo beans)
Juice and zest of one lemon
Juice and zest of one lime
3 Tbsp good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp White Balsamic or Sherry Vinegar
¼ cup each chopped cilantro, mint, parsley
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 cup arugula, baby spinach, or watercress, rough chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse and drain the chick peas to remove excess liquid and salt.  Place in medium bowl and chop all vegetables and herbs.  Add the golden raisins (plumped in boiling water if you prefer), the almonds, onion, carrots, roasted red pepper, chopped greens of your choice, and all of the herbs.  Stir gently.  Zest and juice the citrus in a small bowl and whisk in the EVOO and vinegar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add to the bean mixture and lightly toss.  This salad is best if it sits at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.  It can also be refrigerated and served later.  It will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and is good served cool or at room temperature. It serves 4-6 as is but can easily be doubled or tripled for a party.

Want to know more about why you need to have chick peas in your diet every week?  There are some great reasons besides how good they taste, and how economical and versatile they are.  get the scoop here:

Treat every meal like it's a celebration AND eat to fuel a healthy body at the same time!

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