Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Midweek Food Musings: Chickpea and Heirloom Tomato with Rosemary Salad

The brownies are in the oven, salad is made and “marinating,” quesadillas are waiting to be heated, and one of my “babies” is on his way home from college!

Aside from being a gorgeous time of year, it’s also a big family season: kids return from college, younger ones are winding down the school year, and weekends promise warmer weather for outside adventures. This inspires fare that’s portable (easy to take on picnics and to friends’ homes) as well as servable at room temperature. This, also, is part of my inspiration for this salad.  Now—another thing—I had cans of organic garbanzo beans (I just got home from work and didn’t soak any beans last night!), fresh tomatoes, and fresh rosemary on hand; that makes it all convenient as well.
The chickpea salad I share with you today is simple and tasty. It’s perfect for people like my son, who is no longer a meat eater, but who craves (and needs!) beans and more protein-laden items (we’ll talk about the protein-packed and tasty grain, quinoa, another time!). But he’s by no means the only fan of this salad. My daughter—and son, both meat-eaters—enjoy it as well. (And okay, my dad’s been a garbanzo fan since before any of us were born! My mom likes ‘em, too…and she’s not the biggest bean fan, so that’s saying something!)

What I like about the garbanzo is that it’s versatile and wow, there are so many ways you can prepare it: baked—I have a great baked garbanzo snack (with a kick of spice, it’s a perfect beer or other-thirst-quenching beverage treat), mashed (as in humus), served warm with fresh vegetables, and here, cooked and served at room temperature in a tomato salad. And, thanks to my husband (he’s the gardener in the family!), we’ve got fresh rosemary growing, so I can just step outside and snip away!

Serves about 6 as a side dish

Two 15-ounce cans of garbanzo beans,  or 1/2 pound cooked garbanzos, drained
1 pound of mini heirloom tomatoes (or cherry—or a combination)
A few other gorgeous ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves (or more, if desired)
Olive oil
White balsamic vinegar (though apple cider vinegar could also work well here)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients. Let sit for about an hour before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Before serving, bring back to room temperature, and adjust seasonings as needed. 

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