Summer Chickpea Salad

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)

I love chickpeas. Have I mentioned that? They are, without contest, my favorite legume. They’re great in whatever form they take. Throw ’em in a soup? Delicious. Roast ’em? Delectable. Make ’em into hummus? So tasty (I could honestly eat hummus and pita chips all the day long).

When I saw the recipe for this simple, summery, colorful chickpea salad, I jumped on it. I made it almost immediately, for a picnic, even though I didn’t have any peppers or cherry tomatoes. It might have to make a reappearance once the garden starts producing.

For a light, lovely and fresh summer side dish, you won’t do any better. Especially if you share my love of chickpeas.

Summer Chickpea Salad (Courtesy Heat Oven to 350. Check out their photography… it’s gorgeous.)

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced thin
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, except the Parmesan cheese.

3. Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and top with Parmesan cheese before serving, if desired.

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