Middle Eastern Salad

I love looking at beautiful food.  Bright colors and thoughtful plating are always appreciated.  I also enjoy making food with people I love, like my mother and sister.  My sister, who normally exists on things like chips, soda, pizza, and chicken nuggets, says that I can make anything healthy look good.  She’ll hesitate to try some of the stuff I make, but when she sees me eating, it makes her want to try it.

This past weekend we made a beautiful salad based on a recipe from an episode of The Barefoot Contessa.  If I had a garden, I would make this all the time.  Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, parsley, and mint.  Fresh-squeezed lemon juice brightens everything up and chickpeas add protein.  Next time I make this, I’ll probably add cooked bulgar as well, to bulk things up a bit.

When you chop the herbs and veggies, you can chop them as fine or as coarse as you want. I tend to leave the tomatoes and cucumbers a bit larger and chop the herbs more finely, but you don’t really want to mince them.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
10 green onions, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 European cucumber (the kind that come wrapped in plastic), chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/5 cups cooked from scratch)
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced

Put everything into a big bowl and toss together.  Serve with toasted pita points.  To make this into a more substantial meal, serve with homemade falafel!

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