Tomato-Rice Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

This simple vegetarian salad recipe is so good, my husband had TWO bowls.  I did, too.  There's something about the fresh taste of tomatoes and feta cheese together that makes it hard to stop eating.  The chickpeas add a creamy texture while the zucchini stands in for the crunchy bites.  I'd have to say that I prefer zucchini to cucumbers in a salad like this.  Cucumber tend to talk back and the zucchini doesn't.

It's delicious to eat at room temperature or chilled.  If you plan to make it ahead, be careful not to overcook the rice.  The dressing tends to soften the rice the next day, but the texture is still very good.  The original recipe did not call for chickpeas.  I added them for their protein and to turn this side salad recipe into a husband-friendly light supper recipe.

HERE'S ALL IT TAKES

Makes a lot!  Enough to fill up 6 hungry veggie lovers.

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing

  • juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to your taste

Toss the rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, bell pepper, peas, cilantro together in a large bowl.

Add in the lemon juice and oil.  Give it another good toss.  Add the feta cheese.  One last quick toss.  Don't over toss the salad after the feta goes in; the feta tends to dissolves into the salad.  Taste for salt levels.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.