You guys know I love beans. Love ’em, legume-y goodness love. Not only for their nutrition, but I just love how versatile they can be in dishes, and adding unparalleled heartiness. Yet, I typically turn to hot dishes when making bean dishes – like soups, casseroles, stews, and on. (You too?)
As much as I love these dishes, it’s summer. Some days are just too hot to turn on the oven, or even the stove! While I love my hummus and dips as much as the next legume-lovin’ vegan, sometimes I want something different.
I’ve been making a variety of bean-based salads this summer. Salads with beans. Not a novel idea, I know. But, somewhat novel for my family to eat for dinner. They associate “hot food” with dinner, so it’s a bit unusual for them to see a cool bean dish on the table. I meet them halfway. I typically serve up the salad alongside some grilled spuds. (I grilled sweet spuds this week for the first time, wow!) Plus some guac. (YUM!) That rounds out the happiness factor for this vegan family of five.
Today I’m sharing my Summer Chickpea Salad. It brings summer tomatoes, spinach, and basil together with chickpeas, olives, and avocado in a bright, tangy lemon dressing. Chickpeas are my bean of choice because I think their firm texture holds up well amongst the softer tomatoes, avocados, and spinach. But, if you prefer another bean, cannellini beans would sub well. Enjoy!
Summer Chickpea Salad (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, oil-free)
This salad is a breeze to make, and makes a deliciously satisfying meal when you’d love a hearty bean dish but it’s too hot to turn on that oven! Serve over greens, with a side of grilled potatoes or sides of bread.
2 – 2 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt, rounded
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (see note)
1 cup tomatoes, cut in bite-size chunks
1 cup avocado, cut in bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup torn/chopped basil leaves
1-2 tbsp chopped chives (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice (starting with 2 tbsp), maple syrup, dijon, salt, and lemon zest (if using). Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado, olives, spinach, and basil (and chives, if using). Toss through, gently so not to break up the avocado too much. Taste, and if you’d like more lemony tang, add the extra 1/2 tbsp of juice. Season as desired with more salt or with some pepper. Serve!
Chickpea Note: I like the firmer texture of chickpeas in this salad. If you’d like to try another bean to replace chickpeas, try cannellini beans.
Avocado Note: If not serving straight away, store in the fridge in a covered container. Note that the avocado in this salad will oxidize slightly after several hours, this salad is best eaten the same day. If you want to make ahead, add the avocado just before serving.
Kick it Up a Notch: If you’d like some spicy kick, grate a clove of garlic into the vinaigrette, whisking through.
Idea: Want to add a little crunch to this salad? Top with 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts or chopped pistachios or walnuts!
Serving Suggestion: Serve over a bed of greens alongside grilled potatoes with Cashew Cheese!
Hope you enjoy the salad, please comment with your ideas and feedback, I love to hear from you!