Perfect Summer Salad
Now I know I may have said that about other salads. Let’s face it – I love a good salad! And this Zucchini Chickpea and Feta Salad is a very good salad and almost a meal in itself. Beautiful charred zucchini with a hint of harissa, with a burst of fresh mint and that creamy salty feta – amazing flavours! With the added bonus of the tasty chickpeas with all that fibre and protein. Perfect salad to go with a grilled meat, especially lamb. I made this salad on Saturday night as part of a dinner party (and yes, I will post about those recipes – Shawarma Chicken with Yoghurt sauce, Israeli Salad, Cous Cous and of course this salad – dinner for 8, prepared ahead AND leftovers!) and one of the regrets that I have when cooking on a larger scale is that I am often too busy (or insert forgetful) to take proper photos to blog about. This problem was solved when Wendy popped in on Sunday looking for a menu plan for the hungry hordes she had invited over that night. Perfect opportunity to replicate the menu. And somehow I still didn’t get enough photos! Lots of fun though; with the limited time, I could not help but pretend that I was a contestant on MKR, running around the supermarket and then having several things on the go in the kitchen. Sadly Wendy has never seen that show, so possibly thought putting up with my antics was a high price to pay for assistance with catering; or she was so thrilled with being on the “business” side of my kitchen bench that she didn’t notice!
Start with four nice zucchinis – not the uber-fat ones, just nice average and fairly straight ones. Cut into slices on the diagonal and then pop in a bowl with some olive oil and harissa paste. I have mentioned before that I use Segreti North African Paste and find that it has wonderful flavour.
About half a teaspoon of harissa paste is enough; of course if you like spicy food, you can add extra. Grill on barbecue for about 3-4 minutes a side, until charred and cooked through. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, arrange baby spinach leaves in a bowl, add about a cupful of mint leaves, and drained and rinsed chickpeas. Add cooled zucchini to salad bowl.
Finally add crumbled feta cheese. I prefer to use Danish feta for it’s creaminess, but you could use a firmer feta if you prefer. Lightly dress with olive oil and Raspberry wine vinegar (you can substitute red or white wine vinegar if you don’t have) and gently toss together. Perfection! I added pomegranate arils on Saturday night for an extra burst of colour and sweetness, but apparently Brisbane is suffering from a scarcity of pomegranates, so none for this salad. If you were wanting that pop of colour, try some craisins.
- 4 zucchinis, sliced on the diagonal
- 160g baby spinach leaves
- ½ tsp harissa paste
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 100g feta cheese (I used Danish)
- pomegranate arils (optional)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs raspberry wine vinegar
- salt and vinegar
- Combine harissa paste with olive oil in a bowl- add zucchini and coat thoroughly.
- Grill on medium heat on barbecue for 3-4 minutes a side. Set aside to cool.
- In a salad bowl, add spinach leaves, mint leaves, chickpeas and zucchini. Top with feta cheese and pomegranate arils if using.
- Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and raspberry wine vinegar and toss lightly
This salad also works well served layered on a platter instead of a bowl