In the summer, I love to stay cool with a salad on my porch outside using the best seasonal produce from my garden and the farmers’ markets! But I also wanted to try something a little different! I have had my share of taco salad, Greek salad and kale salad for the week and was looking for something new which was light and hearty! While, picking some green beans out of my garden last week, I was inspired to make this Chickpea Nicoise! This salad turned out to be so tasty and beautiful that we took it with us to watch some Shakespeare at the park last week and it became a hit!

I have been asked what is the difference between garbanzo beans and chickpeas and I always have said, they are the same thing but did not know why they had several different names. From my research, I found out it depends on where you live. Typically in France or Italy, they refer to them as cece’ and in Spain they are called garbanzo beans. English speaking folks tend to call them chickpeas. Call them whichever you like but call them delicious!

Chickpeas are rich in fiber, protein, some healthy plant fat, maganese, folate, copper and phosphorus. They are also one of the beans that are tolerated a little easier on the low fodmap diet for IBS. I would also suggest using green onions without their white bulbs for people who were intolerant to fructans since onions are a high fodmap food.

Cool Summer Salad

Whether you call them cece, chickpea or garbanzo beans, it’s up to you as long as you eat them! They are delicious and nutritious!

Chickpea Nicoise

Instead of the traditional tuna in this French salad, I used chickpeas to increase the fiber and to make it vegetarian! I also used feta and made a lemon tahini salad dressing to give this beloved salad an update and give you a new version to add to an old favorite! A grilled piece of trout, salmon or tuna would make a nice addition to the top.

Makes 4 servings

2 cups green beans

2 cups baby potatoes

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 can chickpeas, drained

4-5 cups of lettuce

1/2 cup onions cut into rings

1/3-1/2 cup Kalamata olives

1/3-1/2 cup crumbled feta

Shrub potatoes and cover with water. Add a lid to them and  allow them to steam until they get soft enough to pierce with a fork. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool about 20 minutes in a colander in the sink. Stem green beans and stem them until slightly crunchy. Drain water and rinse in cold water. Place potatoes on a cutting board and wash lettuce. Allow it to drain in a colander. Gently tear and add it to a large bowl. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Add them on top of lettuce. Cut the onion into rings and chop tomatoes. Quarter the potatoes when they are cool to touch. Arrange the potatoes, green beans, tomato and beans in desired design on top of salad. Make the salad dressing according to directions below. Just before serving salad, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with black olives. Drizzle with the Lemon Tahini Dressing.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

1/4 cup tahini

1 clove garlic, minced

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon tamari

Juice of a lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

Water added to reach desired salad dressing consistency

In a cruet, add ingredients except water. Put the lid on and shake well. Sometimes tahini and lemon mixed together makes a very thick paste with the olive oil, usually the olive oil will help, but if you want to thin dressing a little more, use water. It works great to help you get the salad dressing to just the right consistency.

I hope that you enjoy this cool creation from my summer kitchen! I save turning on my oven for fall, winter and spring so things don’t get to warm around here without central air! Thank you for checking out what is happening over at Vine Ripe Nutrition! If you have just found my blog, welcome and I hope you come back soon and for my friends who have stopped by again, thank you so much for coming back again! As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I love helping others eat healthier and finding delicious foods to enjoy! You can find out more about me here.

If you want to try another one of my favorite recipes using tomatoes and green beans from the garden, check out my blog post from last year that my mom used to make when I was growing up!

When Did You Start Cooking?

For the Chickpea Nicose, I used the Purple Cherokee tomato variety! I love any home grown tomato but I believe that it is my very favorite tomato! I had the opportunity recently to write an article for Slow Food Asheville about the beneficial phytochemical lycopene in tomatoes and shared my favorite pico de gallo recipe! You can check out that recipe here. If you get a chance, read more about their mission and some of the fun things that they are doing including an upcoming Tomato Tasting Celebration!

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