Fresh Herb Salad With Feta, Toasted Chickpeas, and Warming Spices
This fresh herb salad has the perfect balance of textures and flavors—featuring toasted chickpeas, feta, lemon, and chili oil. Easy to customize. Ready in 15 mins.
Getting your daily greens is essential, but a person can only eat so much spinach, arugula, or spring mix before it gets tiresome. If you’re craving more variety, this fresh herb salad will put that special “X-factor” back into your green salad side dishes—and over-deliver in the antioxidant department.
This fresh herb salad with feta and chickpeas embodies everything you’d want in a salad recipe. It’s super fresh, and it offers a unique variety of flavors, from the bitter herbs and tangy blackened lemon to the spicy hot chili oil, plus different textures from the toasted chickpeas and warmed feta. Note, this salad isn’t paired with a vinaigrette, as the spices and hot chili oil dress it up enough.
What You Need to Make This Fresh Herb Salad
All you need to make this recipe is 15 minutes and 11 simple ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, two lemons, two garlic cloves, a can of chickpeas, feta, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, and hot chili oil (You can use store-bought but If you fancy homemade hot chili oil like I do, here’s my 2-ingredient recipe.) And of course, three cups of your favorite fresh herbs.
Now, don’t be fooled by this recipe’s simplicity and how quickly it comes together. Big things come in small packages — and I don’t mean to brag, but this herb salad transports my senses to a high-end New York City café. It’s that good. However, I challenge you to try this recipe for yourself and let me know your verdict in the comments.
Tips For Enjoying This Herb Salad Recipe
Make ahead of time to enjoy it chilled.
Although the slightly warmed feta adds an element of comfort to this dish when freshly made, it’s just as delicious when prepared in advance and served chilled (which allows it to fit seamlessly into a weekday meal plan).
Go ahead and prepare the “meat” of this fresh herb salad a day or two before you plan to serve it as a side dish.
Toast the chickpeas, blacken the lemon, and stir in the feta and hot chili oil at the end. Then, store the mixture in an air-tight glass container, and simply combine it with the fresh herbs and squeeze the fresh lemon juice when you’re ready to serve.
Match the flavor profiles of your chosen herbs to complement your main.
All herbs have unique flavor profiles and can be quite pungent, especially when eaten raw in place of lettuce or other greens. If you’re used to cooking with herbs, you know that one incompatible herb pairing can destroy the flavors of your entire dish.
I recommend checking out this extensive chart to learn which herbs go best with certain foods (including beef, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fish, fruit, pork, lamb, and rice) so that you can perfectly pair this herb salad with your main dish.
Personally, I love serving this salad with my Sous Vide Rack of Lamb and other lamb recipes, so I make sure to choose the herbs that best augment the flavor of lamb: fresh mint leaves, fresh parsley, fresh dill, etc.
If I was pairing this herb salad with a fish or seafood dish (like Spicy Garlic Pepper Baked Shrimp), I’d go with a different combination: dill, parsley leaves, tarragon, chives, fennel, and/or sage.
Swap the feta for blue cheese.
Blue cheese works just as well as feta in this recipe, so you can swap it out if you want to try different variations or if blue cheese is more your style.
What dishes do you plan to serve this herb salad with? I’d love to hear your ideas and modifications in the comments below. Let’s inspire one another!
This fresh herb salad has the perfect balance of textures and flavors— featuring toasted chickpeas, feta, lemon, and hot chili oil. Easy to customize. Ready in 15 mins.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and well dried
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 ounces feta, cubed
- 1 tablespoon hot chili oil (I used homemade)
- 3 cups mixed fresh herbs (such as fresh basil, mint, parsley, dill, tarragon, cilantro, or/and oregano), rinsed, and patted dry
- In a large flat-bottom sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the lemons cut side down close to the edge of the pan.
- Add garlic, followed by chickpeas in the center of the pan and spread them out in a single layer. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Stir gently to well coat the chickpeas and allow them to toast, for about 2 minutes. The lemons should be blackened at this point. Remove them from the pan using tongs and set aside to cool.
- Switch heat to low. Stir in feta and drizzle with hot chili oil. Combine well and remove from heat.
- To assemble one serving, place a handful of mixed fresh herbs on a serving plate, top with the chickpeas and feta mixture. Squeeze the juice from one half-blackened lemon on top of the salad. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 432
- Sugar: 16.5g
- Sodium: 834.5mg
- Fat: 25.5g
- Saturated Fat: 10.3g
- Carbohydrates: 42.7g
- Fiber: 8.1g
- Protein: 15g
- Cholesterol: 50.5mg