Bringing together the produce stand and the pantry: the story of my “transitional” salad

I don’t know about you guys, but I can see fall creeping in. Birds are not as chirpy as they used to be, nights are getting longer, and mornings are getting chilly – so chilly that I actually had to put on a coat yesterday morning, when I went out to water the plants. This summer has been very challenging for me, as a new mom. However, it has also been a lot of fun: seeing my little one grow up, noticing small changes in her almost daily, has made my journey sweet and unbelievably rewarding. Why do good times have to go by so fast? 🙁

With summer almost behind us and with fall coming up shortly, I wanted to prepare a dish to capture the spirit of this transitional, in-between seasons, period – so earlier this week I made a salad using freshly bought produce and ingredients from my pantry. We used to eat a lot of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) when we lived in England, and back in those days I often made chickpea soups and stews. I really like their nutty flavor and assertive texture, and I think they are a versatile ingredient, which you can build upon to create filling and satisfying dishes. This time around, I decided to use chickpeas in combination with black beans, a type of beans we’ve used a lot since coming to Chicago.

As fresh ingredients, I used plum tomatoes, diced cucumber and chopped parsley. My husband loved the inclusion of the cucumber and thought it added a lot of freshness and lightness to this dish. I used one medium cucumber. Use more to make your salad even fresher and crisper 🙂

Ingredients

1 15oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained

1 15oz black beans, drained

1 pint cherry or plum tomatoes

1 diced cucumber

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 handful chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Shaved or shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

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Mix all of the ingredients well in a big bowl. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if necessary. Let the salad sit – preferably in the refrigerator – for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

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This salad is best eaten chilled. Serve it as it is…

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…or with shaved/shredded parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Yum!

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This salad is quick to prepare and very satisfying, and I will make it again for our Sunday lunch. The chickpeas and the beans do not overpower the fresh ingredients, which join in the fun and add a great seasonal touch to the whole ensemble. Summer is still here, and there’s still time to celebrate its abundance of fresh produce – what better way than with this salad? 🙂

Enjoy!


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