I love this amazing salad because of the slightly spicy chickpeas. I love that they are warm - sometimes a cold salad just doesn't feel like a meal to me. This one is definitely a meal. I've even made the chickpeas as a side dish without the spinach, cucumber and pear (I still add the feta).
You could substitute goat cheese for the feta and I bet it would also work with parmesan. If I don't have the sundried tomates on hand, I have successfully substitute roasted red peppers - it is delicious.
Serves 2 as a meal; 4 as a side.
Adapted from a recipe in the London Telegraph.
Ingredients175g (6oz) dry chickpeas or 400g (14oz) cooked, drained chickpeas
1 small red onion, diced
1 large bay leaf
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
¼ tsp salt
100g (3½oz) finely chopped sundried tomatoes or roasted pepper
1 tsp honey
½ tsp smoked paprika (I prefer a hot variety)
¼ tsp chipotle
¼ tsp crushed coriander (I use dry)
1½ tbsp sherry vinegar or orange muscat vinegar
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 english cucumber
1 large ripe pear
4-5 c baby spinach
juice of ½ lemon
75g (2¾oz) feta, cubed or crumbled
fresh pepper to taste
What to doSoak the chickpeas overnight. Drain and cover with 2 litres water. Boil for five minutes, skimming off the foam. Add bay leaf and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes. If you are using ready-cooked canned chickpeas, rinse them off to remove salt and gently reheat, covered in water, for 10 minutes with the bay leaf.
In a small fry pan, sautee the onions until translucent.
Mash the garlic clove and salt in a pestle and mortar (or in a bowl using the back of a spoon). Add the sundried tomatoes and coriander and continue hammering it into a paste. Add the honey, paprika and vinegar. Slowly add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil until everything is well blended. (if needed you can transfer the mixture to a bowl before you add the oil.)
Drain the chickpeas, add the dressing and onions. Leave them to absorb the flavours while you prepare the rest of salad.
Cut the cucumber into long strips using a vegetable peeler. Peel, core and thinly slice the pear - squeeze the lemon juice over the pears to avoid discolouration. Mix the cucumber and pear with the spinach leaves or arrange them on the side of the dished like the photos.
The chickpeas should still be warm: spoon them over the salad. Crumble the feta on top. Sprinkle with pepper.