They made a reality show about summer in Chicago for Bravo last year. The show might have been so terrible that even I couldn’t watch it. Just about the only part they got right was that summer is magic. And that we really only get 100 days of it.
I moved into the city proper just as the city was coming alive for the season, and I have already seen just how bonkers fun it is going to be.
Because in just 10 days I have made more than one trip to 2 different farmers markets (I actually have to walk through one to get home on Wednesday nights). Every day has started with a green smoothie because I can pick up produce that I know I am going to use within 48 hours.
This week, I had my first rainy commute and first jerk on the bus. I cured it with a dirty chai.
My roommate picked a photo for our fridge (probably the most ridiculous picture that I have taken in a while), You know, because who wouldn’t want to hang up a photo of two friends and a blue wig?
I’ve made #singleladysupper a few times.
And I went to a neighborhood festival. My neighborhood’s festival to be more precise. I went twice. Once for an 80’s cover band on Friday night and once to go see my cousin play with Xoe Wise.
Summer has had quite the start.
So, to make sure that I have time to go to as many summer happenings as possible, I need meals that are easy to make, filling and delicious. And chickpea salad is one of my go-to moves for a meal in minutes that can last for a couple of days or that can be a side dish perfect for bringing to the next barbecue on my calendar.
And if we’re being honest here, I make this when I run out of meat and can’t fathom dragging my butt to the grocery store. Or when turning on the oven or cooking something for more than a couple minutes on the stove means that I’ll melt. It is even perfect for mornings when right before you leave for the day you realize that there is a 1pm meeting on your calendar and have to cancel your lunch plans with friends.
Hashtag tastes like summer, hashtag single lady supper
Sure, the base is a pantry staple, but the herbs are all fresh. This time of year, tiny tomatoes are in season, so you can taste the sunshine when you bite into them and they pop with that subtle sweetness. Herbs by the bunch are some of the first produce to make it to the summer markets here in Chicago, and they might just be the secret to better savory cooking.
This makes a great entree for dinner and leftover lunch for one, or a perfect side for four.
- 1 small red onion, peeled
- 1 fresh red chillies, deseeded
- 2 handfuls ripe red or yellow tomatoes
- 1 lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1, 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, drained, or around 4 large handfuls of soaked and cooked chickpeas
- 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
- 1 handful fresh green or purple basil, finely ripped
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Finely slice your red onion and red chillies and put them in a large mixing bowl
- Roughly chop your tomatoes (I quartered mine, but you can chop them smaller if you want), and add them to the bowl with the onion and chillies.
- Scrape all juices and remaining bits from your cutting board into the bowl with the onion and chili.
- Dress the vegetables with with the juice of half of your lemon and 3 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a frying pan, heat the chickpeas in a pan until they are warmed through, then add about 90% of them to the bowl. This should leave 1/4 cup or so of the chickpeas.
- Mash the remaining chickpeas and add these to your other ingredients in the mixing bowl – they will give a nice creamy consistency to the salad and help keep the oil and lemon juice emulsified..
- Give a good stir and then allow the salad to marinate for a little while and serve at room temperature. (If you are making a to-go lunch, skip the waiting part)
- When you are ready to serve (or pack up to go), add the fresh herbs and taste the salad. You may need to add the juice from the remaining half of lemon or a little more salt and pepper.
- Top with crumbled feta to serve (or stir it in before you pack your lunch bag).
- Just as you’re ready to serve, give the salad a final dress with the fresh mint and basil. Taste one last time for seasoning – you may want to add the juice from your remaining lemon half at this point. Place on a nice serving dish and crumble over the feta cheese.