I've seen a lot of cucumber salad recipes flying around the internet lately - must be a sign of spring! Everyone in my family adores cucumbers, and we finally have local, reasonably-priced ones available again (after a loooong winter!), so I figured I'd whip up a cucumber salad of my own. One of the recipes I saw used chickpeas, and since I still have a lot of chickpeas in the freezer from the last time I cooked up a batch from dried, I decided to start with a cucumber and one can's worth of chickpeas and see where I went from there. Since we also had sweet peppers (also for the first time since fall!) I couldn't resist throwing some in for colour and crunch. Before I knew it, I had a gorgeous-looking salad that ended up being a huge hit with my family. This is definitely going to be a spring & summer staple around our house from now on!
To make the salad as pictured:
1 seedless cucumber, sliced and quartered
1/2 a red pepper, chopped
1/2 a yellow pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
In a medium sized casserole or serving dish, combine the cucumber, peppers, chickpeas and green onions.
In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and stir until well blended. Pour over cucumber mixture, and stir gently until well blended.
That's it! Super easy, but super delicious (and really, isn't that the best kind of recipe?)
You could easily vary the ingredients, using what you have on hand, and come up with a winner every time! I've made this salad twice already, and the second time I tossed in some chives from my garden and some diced-up mozzarella. YUM! Feta would also be fantastic in this salad. When I had it for lunch the next day, I threw in some chopped avocado (no-one else in my family likes avocado, lol!) You could use white beans in place of the chickpeas, and tomatoes in place of (or in addition to) the peppers. For a Southwestern variation, use black beans instead of chickpeas, corn instead of yellow peppers, and lime juice instead of white wine vinegar. And throw in some avocado, too, unless you, too, have a family of avocado haters! You could sprinkle a bit of cumin and chili powder into the dressing as well, to give it a bit of a spicy kick.
There are enough possibilities for this salad to keep me experimenting all summer long. I'd love to hear what variation of this recipe becomes your "family favourite"!