Tomato & cucumber salad with spicy chickpeas

RECIPE: Tomato & cucumber salad with spicy chickpeas

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Not just a side dish, this fully loaded salad is packed with nutrients to keep you going all day.

This hearty salad is inspired by the Middle Eastern salad, fattoush - a bread salad combined with greens and tomatoes dressed in a sour sumac dressing. This version is fully loaded with extra ingredients like avocado, spicy chickpeas and Greek feta to give you the added benefits of each ingredient’s nutrition. 

First and very importantly, this salad is packed full of antioxidants. Tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants including lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Lycopene, the tomato’s most abundant antioxidant also has anti-inflammatory properties to help support the health of your heart.

This salad is well balanced when it comes to protein, carbohydrates, fat and fibre. 

Protein can be found in the Greek feta as well as the chickpeas. Greek feta is high in protein compared to some other cheeses with a serving of this salad giving you around 5 grams of protein from the feta alone. 

Carbohydrates can be found in the flatbread croutons as well as the chickpeas. A wholemeal flatbread has been suggested as it’s a less refined carbohydrate making it better for your energy production and metabolism. 

We all know avocado is a great source of healthy fats including your omega-3s and omega-6s which supports brain health, hormone production and beautiful, glowing skin. The healthy fats in avocado also make this salad more sustaining, slowing its breakdown in your body and keeping you fuller for longer. 

So when you’re tired of eating your leafy greens but still looking for a fresh and hearty salad recipe, this tomato salad is the one for you. 

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vegetarian, gluten-free option, vegan option

Serves 4

Ingredients

Salad

  • 750g red, yellow and/or orange cherry tomatoes, some halved and some quartered
  • 1 continental cucumber, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 150g Greek feta cheese or vegan alternative, diced
  • A handful of mint, finely chopped
  • A handful of parsley, finely chopped

Spicy chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper

Sumac dressing

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice from a freshly squeezed lemon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Salt and pepper

Croutons

  • 2 large round wholemeal flatbreads or 4 small flatbreads, gluten-free if needed, cut into 2x2cm squares
  • plus, oil or butter (spread them with butter before you cut them up) for greasing

How to make

  • Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toss the chickpeas in the olive oil and spices. Spread them out onto the baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then bake them for 20 minutes giving them a quick shake on the tray half way through. Do not turn your oven off after they are done as you will need to toast your flatbreads.
  • While your chickpeas are cooking, prepare all of your salad ingredients and place them into a mixing bowl, combine them so that they are evenly mixed. Set this aside
  • To make the dressing, combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar, tasting as you go and adjusting it to your desired flavour. Pour the dressing over the entire salad, toss it in the mixing bowl and then set the salad aside again to soak up the dressing. Once the chickpeas are done, allow them to cool slightly and then add them to the salad
  • Quickly toast your bread squares in the oven by laying them out on the baking tray, drizzling them with oil if you didn’t butter them before you cut them and baking them for around 10 minutes or until they are crispy and golden. Take them out of the oven and mix most of the bread squares through the salad
  • To serve, transfer the salad to a serving dish then top it with the remainder of the bread squares or serve them on the side of the salad. You can also add some more whole leaves of mint and parsley, season with salt and pepper and then enjoy

Roberta's tips

  • This salad is best served immediately. If you wish to store it, keep the components separate and combine before eating
  • The chickpeas and flatbread can be cooked ahead of time. Just cool them completely before storing them in an airtight container

Roberta of Naturo Medico is a Naturopathic Practitioner who specialises in preventative care and women’s health. From her Melbourne-based clinic, Roberta sees women of all ages wanting to meet their own health goals and assists them on their path with personalised treatments specific to their needs.

Alongside practice, Roberta shares healthful and nutrient-rich recipes with her readers who inspire her to continue educating on what health and wellbeing means and how it can be achieved.

Follow @naturomedico on Instagram for more healthy eating inspiration!