This cucumber chickpea salad makes the perfect summer meal – easy to prepare (which is important to me when it’s hot), cool and chilled (also important when it’s hot), and as an added bonus, pretty minimal on the ingredient purchasing scale, which I enjoy. And cucumbers and vinegar go together so well, don’t you think?
The cucumber is actually a kind of underrated vegetable. I, personally, went through a phase where I sort of loathed cucumber. It felt like an actor who had been in too many movies – too exposed, too overly used, too noticeable. It was also easy for me to say, pah, cucumber? It’s all water! What’s it even doing for me? I’m ashamed to admit I was so fickle. And so the months passed and cucumber and I grew apart.
I’m pleased to say though, cucumber and I are back. With time and study, I’ve returned to the fan camp for cucumber. I used them in these delicious fresh rolls. I love them in this salad. I might even make a cucumber smoothie.
And I should note, cucumber contains a host of helpful health-boosting nutrients. The basic gist? Cucumbers have secret powers because they are part of the curcurbit family. It’s a fun word. Try saying it out loud. Sounds like the name of a muppet, right? Curcurbits include squash, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe – you know, your basic, everyday trailing vine and gourd family. For their part, cucumbers are great for your skin, full of B vitamins, packed with hydrating water, an excellent source of silica (good for hair, nails, joints), and also host to several types of lignans, which have shown good results in reducing certain cancer risks. Kris Carr has a wonderful graphic here on three reasons to eat more cucumbers.
I’m glad cucumber and I were able to find our way back to each other.
A note on the recipe: I love smoked paprika. I mean, I really love it. If you don’t, feel free to reduce the amount included in the recipe. Don’t omit it altogether, though. I find it gives an earthy smokey flavour that adds to the whole dish.
Tangy Cucumber Salad with Roast Chickpeas
- Author: Backyard Owl
- Recipe notes: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, quick & easy
For the Cucumber Salad
- 1 large (seedless) cucumber, preferably organic
- 1/2 of a red onion, sliced into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the Roast Chickpeas – for one serving, to top the salad
- 1/2 cup organic chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (depending on your diet and salt preferences)
- ground black pepper, to taste
- optional: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, roast soybeans, dollop of tahini (this is really delicious)
- Wash cucumber thoroughly. Peel if not organic. Slice into quarters, length-wise, and then slice quarters into wedges. If this is confusing, which I think probably it is, just choose any shape you like.
- Place chopped up cucumber and chopped up onion in a glass bowl or other non-reactive bowl (preferably one that comes with a lid – that way your bowl and your storage device can be one and the same).
- Pour vinegar and maple syrup over cucumber/onion mix. Secure lid, and give the whole thing a good shake. Give a good shake before serving too. Let sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes – really, the longer the better.
- While salad is marinating, prepare chickpeas.
- Place chickpeas on a baking sheet/tin and coat with spices and oil.
- Turn on your oven’s broiler (I use the low setting). Broil chickpeas for 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden.
- If you are adding pumpkin seeds or other crunchies who might be sensitive to heat, add only in the last minute or two of broiling.
- Pour topper over a serving of salad and enjoy!
© 2014 Backyard Owl