Easy Chickpea Caprese Salad
I have mentioned before that weekends are usually really busy for me. That’s when I do a lot of recipe testing, cooking, baking, and taking post pictures among my usual busy weekend activities. It’s a bit of a frenzy. From food prep to cooking and baking to washing dishes and then back to cooking and baking. It’s fun and a lot of work. The good thing is I usually have food for a couple of days after and also I get to share a lot of baked goods with friends and I can send stuff to work with my husband to also share around since him and his workmates seem to love to snack and junk out at work.
This weekend was a little different. We took a little break to take a little walk and a breather by the beach and boardwalk in the west of the island. We usually take a walk nearby but we thought it would be nice to do something a little different. It was great!! We picked the perfect time to go. We seemed to hit a window, because usually on that end of the island especially on a weekend there is a whole bunch of traffic and way too many people to enjoy the beach. There’s something nice about sitting next to the water and listening to the waves crash and young ones gleefully playing by the shoreline. Lesson: get out and try something different even if you have a busy schedule. Carve out a little time to enjoy something beautiful like nature, catching up with a good friend, tea and a good book. It not only refreshes you but helps you focus your energy on the tasks at hand afterwards. Sometimes we all need a little change of pace even if it’s just for a half an hour.
Now to this super easy and delicious side. I feel that making this salad is a little indulgent here in Trinidad because it’s not inexpensive to make and the only local ingredient was the basil. Yes I could have made it with local tomatoes but this salad holds up better with grape tomatoes. So I don’t make this salad as often as I use to back home to my husband’s displeasure. He loves this salad!! When I made it the other day he couldn’t wait to eat it and asked why its taken me ten years to make it again. It has not been ten years since I made this salad but it definitely has been a couple years. Anyways I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Even if your not a fan of chickpeas or Chana you might change your mind after having them in this salad.
Update: That was then and this is now! Life is still pretty busy and the same that way but now it’s a very different walk by the water that we are taking. This time it’s a beach by the lake and the items in this salad come much cheaper. What hasn’t changed is the love we have for this salad and taking walks by the water. In this version of the salad I cooked the chickpeas from dry. I soaked them over night and boiled them for over an hour until tender. Then we painstakingly removed the skins. It’s not necessary but when I boil them I find that the skins generally come off easier and It’s become a habit as i usually remove them when I make hummus to make the hummus extra creamy. It’s completely optional but you end up with a salad that has way less chickpea skins floating around in it.
- 3 cups chickpeas cooked rinsed and drained or you can use canned as well (simple directions on cooking them in post above)
- ½ lb of assorted colourful cherry/grape tomatoes halved (approx 2 cups)
- 2 cups mini fresh mozzarella balls or bocconcini
- ½ cup of packed fresh basil leaves
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and prepare vinaigrette
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients
- ½ cup Olive oil
- ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar ( I prefer white balsamic because it doesn’t turn the bocconcini brown but either is fine)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove of garlic grated
- In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette’s ingredients and pour over salad and gently toss to combine
Variations of this salad: feel free to add crumbled feta for more tang and saltines, some chopped cucumber or celery for more crunch, mint or parsley for a blend of herbs in the salad as well.