Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans, Feta, and Herbs

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans, Feta, and Herbs(Updated and added to Recipe Favorites August 2009) For people with vegetable gardens, we're currently in the time of year when nearly every meal needs to include some kind of salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, so it seems like a good time to update this recipe (with better photos!) Of course, tomatoes, cucumbers, and Feta are a classic Greek Salad combination, but what makes this more interesting is the marinated garbanzo beans and the use of fresh Greek oregano as a seasoning. I do think fresh oregano is an acquired taste, so if you haven't yet acquired a taste for it, fresh basil or parsley would also be great here. For me, the addition of garbanzo beans bumps this up to a main-dish salad, and this is a recipe where I'd start marinating the beans after breakfast, and then have the salad for a light dinner during the summer.

I'm a fan of canned garbanzo beans, but they do need to be rinsed well with cold water (until no more foam appears) and then drained in a colander for at least 15 minutes. (I sometimes blot dry with paper towels if I need to speed up the draining step.)

When beans are well drained, place in small ziploc bag with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and let beans marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours (or longer.) It's important to use good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar since there's not a lot of other seasoning in the salad.

Whwn you're ready for chopping the tomatoes and cucumbers, let the marinated garbanzo beans drain, saving the reserved dressing. Taste the dressing for seasoning, adding more vinegar and olive oil if you don't have at least 3 T of dressing.

Even if you don't have a garden, this is a recipe where it's important to have fresh, flavorful tomatoes and fresh small cucumbers. I use equal parts tomatoes and cucumbers, but you can vary the proportions depending on what you have. If you use larger tomatoes that are extra juicy, I'd drain tomatoes in a colander for a few minutes.

Mix in drained garbanzos, chopped Greek oregano (or basil or parsley), and reserved dressing , season with salt and pepper, toss salad, then arrange on serving plates and top each serving with crumbled Feta or goat cheese just before serving.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans, Feta, and Herbs
(Makes 4-6 servings, depending on what else, if anything, you serve with it. Recipe inspired by The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook, with lots of adaptations.)

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed and drained well
1 1/2 cups diced cucumbers with skin on
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (drained in colander if the tomatoes are extra juicy)
2 T balsamic vinegar (I like Fini Balsamic Vinegar)
3 T good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano (or use basil or parsley)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (or goat cheese)

Put garbanzo beans in colander and rinse very well until no more foam appears. Remove any chickpea skins that come off when you're rinsing the beans. Let beans drain at least 15 minutes. (I sometimes pat them dry with a paper towel if I'm in a hurry and they seem quite wet.) Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a whisk. Place beans in small ziploc bag, pour dressing over and marinate beans in refrigerator 4-6 hours or longer.

When you're ready to prepare the salad, remove beans from refrigerator and drain them in a colander, reserving the dressing. Taste dressing for seasoning, and if you don't have at least 3 T dressing, add a bit more balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Dice tomatoes and if they're extra juicy, put in colander to drain while you prepare other ingredients. Cut cucumbers into fourths lengthwise, and then into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. (If cucumbers seem wet, pat dry with paper towel.) Wash oregano, spin dry or dry with paper towel, and coarsely chop using a chef's knife.

Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, garbanzo beans and oregano and toss with reserved salad dressing. Season salad with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Divide salad among individual serving plates, and top with crumbled Feta or Goat cheese just before serving.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet, since low-glycemic beans are considered to be a "good" carb for South Beach. This would be a great main dish salad, or could be served as a side dish with something like Very Greek Grilled Chicken or Kalyn's Souvlaki.

So Many Good Salad Ideas with Cucumbers and Tomatoes:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt Tahini Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Feta, Lemon, and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumber, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen
Middle Eastern Tomato Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tomato, Cucumber, and Purslane Salad from Simply Recipes
Cucumber-Tomato Salad with Feta from Simmer til Done
Tomato Cucumber Salad from No Recipes
Quinoa, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad from Rookie Cookie
Feta Cheese, Cucumber, and Tomato Herb Salad from London Foodie in New York
Marinated Cucumber, Tomato, and Kidney Bean Salad from Half Baked
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More to Chew On:


  1. Lucky you are to garden. You can get fresh herbs whenever you like to make so perfumed salads !

  2. That looks very tasty! Many of my favorite flavors all in one dish!

  3. Kalyn,
    I can imagine I get all the fantastic flavors (sweet and tangy) and textures (crunchy and soft) just in this salad! Thanks for the info on oregano, I'll see what type my oregano belongs to. And big thanks for hosting the event!

  4. are you goin to host the WHB today? I am writing a post right now..

  5. My oregano is doing good too. It's such a pretty plant, isn't it? I love all the flavors and textures in your salad.

  6. mmmm fresh origano. I've posted thisd to and hope I remember it for my summer.

  7. Virginie, I love my garden. I don't think I could live in an apartment, even though I love big cities.

    Michele, it was really good. I'm going to try feta next time though. The goat cheese got runny overnight.

    Gattina - the Mexican oregano is quite delicious too, at least in my opinion.

    Tony, I'm hosting. Sorry if I didn't leave enough reminders, but I started to feel like I was boring everyone to death mentioning it.

    Sher, I love the look of the oregano plant too.

    Ed, I'm going to learn how to use this summer when I have some time.

  8. I agree Virginie, you're lucky to have a garden. I wish one day we have one,too.
    This salad rocks!
    I would like attend to WHB but here in Algeria, the only available herbs are mint,parsley and cilantro! Although the climate is available, there is such a limited variety, I can't understand why.
    I will return to Istanbul in July and find some herbs to write and share about.

  9. Kalyn,
    just checked my oregano, it should be Mediterranean type. I'm trying to grow marjoram, hope I have a chance to share its story/recipe in WHB soon.

  10. Isn't it remarkable that some cultures would use the names for oregano, thyme, savory, and marjoram interchangeably?! They are such different flavours.

    I confess that I've never been a big fan of fresh oregano - it's so strong tasting. (I'm pretty sure that the oregano we have is Greek oregano) We dry ours and use it on pizzas.

    But I adore fresh marjoram and love to put it with parsley into ricotta cheese for stuffing manicotti.


    P.S. One of the vegetable stores sells herbs for planting. All the summer savory containers are labelled "Italian oregano"!

  11. That looks delicious and refreshing!!!

  12. Marinating the garbanzo beans is such a great way to add flavor. I adore fresh oregano and am so happy to have another recipe in which to use it. The updated photo is fabulous!

  13. Thi9s looks like the perfect dish for summertime...I would eat it for lunch lots and probably will do that soon. I like fresh oregano but would add basil, too. Yummy!

  14. Although I don't have a vegetable patch(I live in an apartment), I tried your recipe and really enjoyed it. I skipped the parsley though, I really hate the taste.

  15. That looks delicious! Salads like that are my stand-by summer lunches or side dishes with dinner. Absolutely love them!

  16. This salad looks so fresh and delicious! Nothing is better than crisp veggies :-) And anything Greek is a-ok in my book! Can't wait to try this out, thanks for the recipe.

  17. I just made this tonight!!! It was sooo awesome! We loved it. I used cilantro instead of parsley/oregano! It was wonderful...but we love the taste of cilantro. Thanks for this recipe so much!

  18. Oh yes, I would love this with cilantro too.

  19. You are on a role with these summer-licious salads! I love all of them.

  20. Sounds delicious! I'm not sure why I never thought of adding chickpeas to my Greek salads. Sheer genius, thank you for sharing!

  21. http://www.nutritionunplugged.comAugust 18, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    This looks amazing. I'm a big fan of chickpeas, so I like the idea of marinating. Chickpeas are nutritional powerhouse and I've written about the specific benefits. Also, my husband is Lebanese, so I've learned to cook many dishes with chickpeas...beyond hummus. I like this idea a lot! Thanks.

  22. YUM! What a fab idea to marinate the beans. This looks wonderful...just might be my lunch tomorrow.

  23. Hi Kalyn,
    I just tried this recipe today and it was delicious, especially the tomatoes and Feta with the dressing. However, I'm not a huge fan of chickpeas. I made it anyway thinking this might change my mind but I just can't get past the texture. I don't know, something about them just bother my tastebuds. What would you recommend as a subsitute? I love all of the other ingredients! (I also used dried Oregano since I didn't have any fresh.)


  24. Heather, I would just use a different type of beans that you do like (maybe pinto beans?)

  25. I really like your idea to marinate the garbanzo beans. I've just added garbanzos to Greek salad before, they were still good but I think marinating them first is a great idea.

  26. Joy, it does make a big difference!

  27. OK. Mine looked really GROSS. Will use regular vinegar next time. Tasted fine, though.

    1. Hmm, mine looked fine as you can see in the photo. Glad you liked the taste.


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