In the past, I’ve often found myself diving enthusiastically into projects and then quickly abandoning them. But I’m trying my best to change that, and it’s amazing what I’ve been able to accomplish. In past years, for instance, I bought seeds and seedlings and got really excited about the possibility of having a great garden, but when it came down to it, I didn’t have the energy for all the upkeep. But this year, I’ve been taking really good care of my garden (with a lot of help from one of my roommates), and it’s really gratifying to see my plants steadily grow. I recently pruned my basil plant and suddenly found myself with a lot of fresh basil to use. I wanted to do something a little different from a traditional pesto and found myself loving this lemon basil chickpea salad. The herbaceous basil plays well with lemon juice, honey, and mustard in an exceedingly flavorful dressing (which, by the way, can be used on all kinds of different salads), and I really enjoyed it over a basic mix of chickpeas and sauteed greens. Great served at room temperature or cold for a little something refreshing on especially hot summer days (and a good option for bringing along to a picnic!). I can’t wait to find more creative uses for all the herbs (and vegetables) I’m growing in my garden this year.
Lemon Basil Chickpea Salad (adapted from Heather’s Dish)
Yield: 4 – 6 servings as a side, 2 – 3 servings as a main dish
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups greens, chopped*
- 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- lemon basil dressing (see below)
*I used spinach, but any hearty green (such as kale, swiss chard, etc) should work here. If you want, you can even use regular salad greens or lettuce and add them at the same time as the chickpeas or skip sauteing the onion and garlic altogether (but use less as onion and garlic both have a much stronger flavor when raw) for a really quick version.
- In a large sautee pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then sautee 1 onion, diced until translucent and starting to darken, about 10 minutes.
- Add 2 cloves garlic, minced, and sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in 4 cups greens, chopped, and cook until the greens are softened, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
- Pour lemon basil dressing over the salad, and toss thoroughly to combine. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. This salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Lemon Basil Dressing
Yield: approximately 1/2 cup salad dressing
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
In a blender or using an immersion blender, combine 1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic, grated or minced, and salt and pepper, to taste, and blend until it comes together into a dressing, about 1 minute. Taste, and adjust ingredients, if necessary.