Chickpea Salad With Roasted Red Peppers & Green Beans

A few weeks ago I caught up with Canadian cooking personality and chef Christine Cushing where we talked about the third season of her show Fearless in the Kitchen and chatted about food and her line of products, which consists of two Greek olive oils. Christine’s first branded olive oil comes from Crete (where her mom is from) and last year she brought another olive oil from the Mani peninsula (Laconia) in southern Greece.

I’ve been to both Crete and Laconia and in general, the olive oils from these two regions is of high repute but I was still curious to try out her “Bold” olive oil from Mani. Christine was kind enough to give me a bottle and the very first taste of this green gold came  by way of simply dunking some of my homemade crusty bread into a bowl of her extra-virgin olive oil.

The colour was a bright green, medium in body, yet full of flavour and very little peppery (spicy) notes on the finish. Early harvest olive oils from Greece are called “agourelio’ as the olives are picked in October/November and the wild, spicy flavours really come out from such an oil. Christine Cushing’s “bold” is not one of these these oils but it’s a flavour still transports you to Greece and frankly, it tastes the way olive oil should.

There’s so much debate, chat about olive oil out there, what’s good (and bad) and  how does one know when they are buying good olive oil? For starters, those olive oils you see on sale at your supermarket for $6.99/litre are likely a blend (many olives from many farms pressed at an olive oil co-op press), the label of “extra-virgin” immediately becomes suspect and upon reading the fine print on the label, you may see “packed in said  country” or product of the EU (European Union).

I like to know the origins of my olive oil and the best olive oils come from “single estates”…usually a family-owned plot of olive trees. Christine Cushing’s olive oils come from one source, certified organic (Bold) and just as an extra precaution…I placed a shot of olive oil in the fridge and it solidified (as pure olive oils should do).

The natural inclination for using an olive oil such as this one is to use it in a salad and with the Great Lent into it’s first week for Orthodox Christians, there will be plenty of uses for quality extra-virgin olive oil. Here, I’ve made a hearty chickpea salad with one of my favourite ingredients, roasted peppers, some blanched green beans, the use of pickled cauliflower florets which is a seasonal and abundant Winter vegetable. Throw in a splash of red wine vinegar, a bit of mustard, garlic, herbs and Greek extra-virgin olive oil and you’ve got a colourful, healthy and delicious salad! Before we get started, just ensure you toss the salad greens at the last possible moment so they don’t become limp and soggy. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad With Roasted Red Peppers & Green Beans

(serves 4)

1 can (500gr.) of chickpeas, drained & rinsed

3 cups (1lb) of green beans, trimmed

2 red bell peppers, charred on the grill, peeled & seeded

1 cup of pickled cauliflower florets, halved

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp. of Dijon-style mustard

2 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar

1/2 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil (Christine Cushing’s Bold)

2 cups of mixed greens or arugula or rocket or your favourite salad greens

1/4 chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp. dried Greek oregano

12 Kalamata olives, pitted

fine sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

  1. To roast your peppers, turn on your gas grill or pre-heat the broiler in your oven or…your gas stove-top. Char the skins of your peppers until they blister and are black on all sides and then place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to sweat for 15-20 minutes. Peel and discard the skins, stems and seeds and slice the peppers into ribbons and reserve.
  2. In the meantime, place a large pot of water on your stove-top and bring to a boil. Snap-off the tips of your beans and rinse and as soon as the water comes to a boil, add a good amount of salt and then add your beans to the water. As soon as the water returns to a boil, cook the beans for 5 minutes. Strain and place the beans in cold water to cool and strain (this step keeps them bright green).
  3. In a large bowl, add the minced garlic, mustard, pinch of salt and pepper, vinegar and whisk. Now slowly add your olive oil into the bowl while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Add the chickpeas, green beans, red peppers and pickled cauliflower and toss well. Adjust seasoning once again, cover and chill until you’re ready to serve your salad.
  4. Add the salad greens, chopped parsley, oregano into the bowl just before serving and toss gently until incorporated. Top with the olives and serve as a salad side or as bedding with a fillet of fish.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2011 Peter Minakis

© 2011,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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15 Comments for “Chickpea Salad With Roasted Red Peppers & Green Beans”

says:

Marvelous salad…the pickled cauliflower is certainly unusual. Bet it gives amazing life to the salad, along with the peppery greens.
(I always though rocket and arugula were pretty much the same thing. Am I wrong?)

says:

Ωραίοι συνδυασμοί λαχανικών με όσπρια Peter, σίγουρα μια πολύ νόστιμη σαλάτα!!!

says:

You are so right about olive oil. If you know the owner of the groves, or know it’s from a single estate, you can be sure of what you’re getting. It’s too easy to rip off the public. I’m having a salad tonight for dinner (after a heavy lunch) and will throw in some chick peas and red peppers – wish I had some olives and pickled cauliflower too.

says:

Lent could be year round with a salad like this! Great tip about pouring the oil at the last minute. I like to pour the oil first to coat the food then the acidic stuff.

says:

When I was young I used to pick the chickpeas out of all of my salads. What was I thinking because they are a favourite these days.

says:

Your salad is as bold as the olive oil you’ve described. There are just so many elements of that salad that I adore, plump olives, pickled cauliflower and then of course that dressing. I have not been around for some time, but I see nothing has changed, still worldclass food from a worldclass blogger and cook!!

says:

What a wonderful delicious nutritious and complex salad. I am definitely with you on the Olive Oil! I have been doing more legumes and lentils and love roasted beets. Anytime I can throw together a flavourful crunchy mix of colourful vegetables I am happy enough to sing… almost daily!
:)
Valerie

says:

That’s a gorgeous-looking salad but I also like your first idea. I love to dip bread in olive oil. We buy our olive oil from the local farmers’ market. It’s almost definitely from one estate and far from pretty as they sell it in whatever bottles they can get their hands on. Lovely flavours though. :)
Julia

says:

Love the salad – I’ve really been into chickpeas recently. We’re going to be in Italy in May and have booked an Olive oil tour and tasting for one day. Can’t wait…. For cooking I buy Spaish oil in 5 litre cans.