Many still consider herbs just a garnish for a salad when really they can be such a surprising, flavorful, readily available main ingredient. The simplest herb salad I know is the leaves of whatever soft-stem herbs I have, seasoned with salt and pepper, then doused with some lemon juice and tossed by hand.
To make that zesty affair more substantial, but just as unfussy, marinate some feta (or whatever cheese you please) with roasted chickpeas and lemon. The super flavorful mixture of protein and fat and crunch can sit in your fridge for up to five days, ready for doling out on whatever salad (herb salad!) or appetizer spread you please—it even works as a relish of sorts on roast chicken or lamb. Serve this herb, chickpea, and feta salad with crusty bread for sopping up the infused oil. —Ali Slagle
- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 25 minutes
- Serves 4
can chickpeas, drained and well dried
Salt and pepper
feta, broken into large chunks
dried chiles de árbol, smashed
cloves garlic, smashed
mixed soft herbs (such as mint, parsley, chives, cilantro, tarragon, and/or dill)
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut one of the lemons into thin half moons, and set the other aside.
- Toss the lemon slices and chickpeas with 3 tablespoons olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, then spread everything out on the sheet. Bake, shaking the pan once, until the chickpeas are starting to crisp and the lemons are caramelized, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the feta to a tall jar, along with the chiles and garlic. Add the chickpeas, lemon, and any oil from the baking sheet, then add juice from half the remaining lemon. Warm the rest of the olive oil, then add enough to cover the feta completely.
- Let marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 5 days (refrigerate if marinating for more than a few hours; bring to room temperature before using).
- When ready to eat, toss the herbs in a large bowl with salt, pepper, and the juice from the remaining lemon half. Add enough of the oil from the jar of feta and chickpeas to evenly dress the herbs (about 3 tablespoons, but taste to confirm). Divide the herbs among your plates, then top with feta, chickpeas, and, if you like, lemon slices. Eat at once.