Spending time with good friends accompanied by great food is one of my life’s greatest joys. When I say great food, I’m not talking super fancy either. It can be as simple as cheese and crackers, with extra friendship points for a really high quality cheese. Popcorn lightly drizzled with truffle oil is also another favorite. Simple but memorable is a motto I like to live by.
Yesterday a good friend of mine and I went to Edmonds beach with our sons. As ferries passed by against the backdrop of snowcapped mountains and tons of families speckled along the grass and sand, yesterday had to have been what I call the perfect Seattle summer day. Hot enough to wear a tank top and shorts but not too hot where you’re miserable. Sipping on lemonade, when it was time for snacks, or as I call it, small plates, both of us set all our containers and bags of food in the center of the blanket for a mid-day communal meal. We had various cheeses, fruits, smoked meats, herbed crusted nuts, popcorn, crackers, pretzels, and of course… pb & js. However, my friend did bring a flavorful chickpea salad tossed in olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. Bite after bite I kept thinking how enjoyable this salad was. Then I started thinking to myself and even mentioning outlook how I thought this salad would be really great if instead of basil, mint were added.
Once back home, I looked in my fridge in a sorry attempt to figure out what to make for dinner before dashing off to softball practices. It was then and there I saw I had mint I had forgot I bought at the farmer’s market. I also happen to have half a cucumber, a handful of grape tomatoes, half a bell red pepper, and half an onion. Using the beach salad as inspiration, I came up with a mint variation that was so refreshing I ate half of it as my main dinner.
Today I want to share the recipe with you. It can be used as a side dish for a family dinner and any leftovers will probably taste even better the next day because all of the flavors have had time to come together. You can easily double or triple this recipe and bring it to a potluck. It can be pulled together in under 10 minutes, quicker if you can chop some of the vegetables faster. Feel free to add any other vegetables you want, even maybe some feta cheese if you have any you are trying to use up.
- 3 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh squeeze lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 – 15 ounce can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cucumber, seeded and chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup packed fresh chopped mint leaves
- In a medium bowl whisk the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, zest, cloves, salt, and pepper until well mixed.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onions, and mint.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. The salad tastes better the more time the beans have had a chance to marinate.