Chickpea feta salad with dried figs might be your new favorite meatless meal. It’s hearty enough for dinner. Make it vegan by omitting the feta.
Using a preheated Dutch oven provided just the right amount of heat to wilt hearty bitter greens without actually cooking them. We started by sautéing vegetables in the pot and then pulled the pot off the heat to let it cool slightly. When we added the greens, the warm vegetables slightly softened the greens and helped the entire salad retain heat longer. Finally, carefully choosing mix-ins that delivered a wide range of flavors and textures made these salads truly satisfying entrées.
Rethinking Your Greens
Most often the greens that come to mind for salads might be green leaf, red leaf, and Romaine lettuce. Other times, spinach is a preferred option…which leaves a whole category of greens that get sadly left out of the salad bowl. Bitter greens like escarole, frisee, and chicories like radicchio may have bold personalities, but that just means they need bold dressings that bring out the best in them.
Warm Lemon Dressing
Knowing the ratio of oil to an acidic ingredient like vinegar—or, in this case, lemon juice—means that homemade vinaigrette is always within reach and you can skip buying salad dressing at the store. Usually, that ratio is 1 part acidic ingredient to 2 parts fat. In this case, the tables are turned, amping up the lemon juice to 6 tablespoons whisked into 2 tablespoons olive oil. This is necessary when working with bitter greens, which need that high burst of tang to balance and temper their bitterness.
Sweet on Figs in Chickpea Salad with Figs
For the chickpea feta salad, both our nutty and delicately sweet Golden Figs and our earthy, more deeply sweet Mission Figs are excellent.
Shredded carrots, slivered almonds, and chopped mint leaves all add to what makes the chickpea salad with figs a hit.
Chickpea Salad with Feta + Figs
Warm Lemon Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest , plus 6 tablespoons lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (15oz) can chickpeas , rinsed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 carrots , peeled and shivered
- 1 cup (6oz) Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs , stemmed and halved
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 12 ounces (10-12 cups) bitter greens (like escarole, chicory, or frisee), torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/3 cup mint leaves , chopped
- 1 1/2 ounces feta cheese , crumbled (1/3 cup)
For the Warm Lemon Vinaigrette
- Whisk all ingredients in bowl until emulsified.
For the Salad
- Toss chickpeas with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette and pinch salt in bowl; set aside. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.Add carrots, figs, and almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add half of remaining vinaigrette to pot, then add half of greens and toss for 1 minute to warm and wilt. Add remaining greens and mint followed by remaining vinaigrette and continue to toss until greens are evenly coated and warmed through, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer greens to serving platter, top with chickpeas and feta, and serve.