I feel like as summer comes, things just become busier. I want to be outside almost all the time, which usually means more hikes, camping, runs, and walks and less meal prepping. Yes, that's right- even dietitians don't always meal plan and prep (we're just people!)
That's where this recipe comes in. If you were to ask my parents what my favourite food is, they would probably say greek salad. I don't even remember when my dad started making it but I love the crunch and acidity of this salad! On days when I haven't planned or prepped anything and my partner and I discuss what we're going to have for dinner, one of the options that constantly comes out is greek salad with pasta and chickpeas added for some protein and carbs and therefore staying power and satisfaction.
When I went to Greece a few years ago, I was so excited to have a traditional greek salad! I must say though, as someone who loves acidity in my food and hates olives (even in Greece!) the idea of a block of feta with oregano and olive oil on top of cut up veggies didn't really do it for me. So I will say I like this more than a traditional greek salad, although you can't beat the scenery there!
Greek Salad with pasta and chickpeas
Serves 2-3 depending on how hungry you are!
1/2 long english cucumber, chopped (don't peel it- this saves time and gives you more nutrients!)
1 medium roma tomato, chopped (you could use any variety here, I actually used grape tomatoes since they were on sale!)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (traditionally this is made with green peppers, although I enjoy the colour and flavour of using sweeter red, orange, or yellow peppers too! Pick whatever you enjoy!)
1/4 small red onion, diced (you could also use green onions but the red onion gives a nice colour)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked chickpeas)
2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked
1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
Sliced olives (optional) these aren't in the pictures purely because I'm not an olive fan but feel free to add)
1) Cook pasta according to package instructions, approximately 7-9 minutes.
2) While your pasta is cooking, chop cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, and onion and place in medium sized bowl. Rub oregano between your palms over bowl (tip- do this with all your dried spices to increase flavour!) and add to veggies along with salt and pepper.
3) Once pasta is done, drain and cool (you can rinse the pasta with cold water to speed up this process!) If using canned chickpeas, drain, rinse, and add to bowl.
4) Pour olive oil and vinegar into the bowl, mix, and serve! If you like your salad with a bit more acidity like I do, feel free to add a bit more vinegar!
5) Serve and enjoy!
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I do! You could also do this salad minus the chickpeas and pasta and serve at a BBQ, or keep just the pasta and serve it with some chicken. If pasta doesn't sit well with your stomach, you could add some quinoa instead! There are lots of possibilities for this versatile meal- I've dumped in leftover grilled veggies and swapped the white vinegar for balsamic for a richer flavour or just added leftover cooked broccoli or asparagus. This recipe has evolved into a bit of a kitchen sink salad to use up leftovers, which is great for cutting down on food waste!