September 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

Chickpeas, veggies and spices make snappy salad

Chickpea salad can contain several varieties of fresh produce. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

Your days just got crazier. The lazy days of summer are long gone, now the kids are back in school, the commute to and from the office is along clogged routes with other folks returning to work after the holiday weekend, and you probably have one or two school-agers that participate in after school sports or activities. Did someone mention dinner?

And even though the calendar says September, itís still summer when it comes to temperatures, so you want something filling but not fussy, and no cooking required so you can get it on the table fast and serve either eat as a main dish or serve alongside some grilled chicken or fish.

This chickpea salad works well for me on so many levels. For one, thereís no cooking involved. Secondly, itís a great way to use up fresh produce thatís been hanging around in the crisper waiting for me to get inspired, and thirdly, itís healthy and fast. Chickpeas, also called garbanzos, are full of fiber and protein, and the canned legumes need only be rinsed and drained before being combined with other ingredients.

Feel free to switch up the vegetable additions depending what you have on hand. Chopped zucchini and peppers are terrific, as are cherry tomatoes, cubed cheese, fresh herbs and even diced pepperoni or proscuitto for the meat lovers. The beauty of this basic recipe is that it can be tweaked in numerous ways. For a spicy version, add sriracha sauce. Try swapping out lime juice for the lemon juice and use Parmesan instead of feta and mix in some chopped fresh cilantro and shallot. For a curried chickpea salad, use the Parmesan and add curry powder to taste, dried currants, sliced green onions and shredded carrots.

Chickpea Salad

Recipe from Kate Lawson. Chickpea Salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Recipe can also be doubled.

1 15-to 15 Ĺ-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
13 cup (packed) crumbled feta cheese
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, small slice or chopped
1 cup sliced radishes
1 small cucumber, peeled seeded and cubed
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
Coarse kosher salt

Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add crumbled feta cheese and remaining ingredients and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature. Serves 2.

Per serving: 412 calories; 18 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 39 percent calories from fat); 51 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 22 mg cholesterol; 769 mg sodium; 16 g protein; 13 g fiber.

More Kate Lawson