I threw this quick & easy salad together the other night, thinking I was making enough for lunch leftovers, but it was so delicious that Tai & I polished off seconds and the whole bowl disappeared in no time. Even though I’ve been doing quite well on my resolution to use dried beans, I used canned chickpeas here; since the vinaigrette is packed full of lemon flavor, you don’t miss the extra flavor of cooked dried beans (although I’m sure it would be just as tasty, if not more so, with freshly cooked chickpeas). With my trusty Microplane zester in hand, this salad came together in mere minutes and was extremely satisfying: bright & lemony, crunchy with crisp baby greens & radishes, zingy with ramps and lots of black pepper, with just enough cheese to mellow and blend all the flavors. With a hearty amount of chickpeas, this is a filling meal, not ‘just a salad’, and with abundant Spring vegetables from my local farm markets and a can of garbanzo beans, a very economical one. I’ll be looking for more baby spinach at the markets over the weekend to make this one again.
Happy Tax Day, everyone!
Chickpea & Spring Green Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or 1, 15-oz can, drained & rinsed
- 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
- 6 small ramps (wild leeks), washed well and thinly sliced, bulbs + greens included
- 3 medium radishes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- 1 oz semi-hard cheese, grated, such as Sprout Creek Bogart, Asiago or Pecorino
- zest & juice from one small lemon
- 5 – 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- generous amounts salt (about 1/2 tsp) & freshly ground pepper (about 1 tsp)
- In a large bowl combine chickpeas, spinach, ramps and radishes. Toss to mix.
- In a small bowl, combine lemon zest & juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper. Whisk well to combine and emulsify the oil. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, tossing as you go; stop adding when most of the spinach leaves are coated, but there is no dressing gathering at the bottom of the bowl (I used only about half the total amount of dressing). Reserve remaining dressing. Toss well and allow the spinach leaves to wilt slightly; add grated cheese and toss again. Cheese should dissolve into the dressing somewhat, making the dressing richer but without adding an overall cheese flavor. Taste and adjust amounts of vinaigrette, cheese, salt or pepper. Serve immediately; goes nicely with a crisp sauvingnon blanc and some crusty artisan bread.
Serves 2 – 3.
- If you cannot source ramps, substitute scallions, or a mix of shallots and baby arugula.
- The cheese acts to tone down the lemony tartness; for a vegan version, a small amount of soy yogurt (start with 1 tsp) added to the vinaigrette may do the trick.
Best eaten when fresh. If you must, store the salad components and vinaigrette separately, and combine just before serving.