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Try This Mediterranean Protein Salad

Chickpeas, beans, olives, onions, tomatoes – you will find numerous combinations of these vegetables in many of the countries that fringe the Mediterranean Sea and anyone looking for great vegetarian recipes could do a lot worse than look to these countries where vegetarianism was often forced on the populace by the high cost and relative scarcity of meat, rather than by dietary conviction.

Try This Mediterranean Protein Salad

Whatever the reason, this style of eating, part of that loose classification called the Mediterranean Diet, has given us a legacy of tasty, flavor-filled meals that have the added benefit of providing a healthy dollop of protein.

You can use this vegetarian recipe as a salad to accompany another main course, but it makes an excellent light lunch as well.

And if you are a really slow, fumble-fingered cook, it might take you all of 20 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients
1 x 16 oz (450 g) can of chickpeas
1 x 16 oz (450 g) can of beans (red kidney beans make for a great looking dish)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into small cubes
4-6 spring onions, white parts only, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped. (If you can’t find a red onion, slice a white one and soak it in several changes of water to reduce its bite)
1 tbsp (15 ml) capers, drained and coarsely chopped
12 black olives, pitted and chopped into quarters
2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped parsley (flat-leaf Italian variety).
2 hard-boiled eggs (if your brand of vegetarianism allows you to eat eggs)

Some optional extras:
1 small yellow pepper, seeded and chopped into small squares
About the same quantity of cucumber, chopped into small squares

The dressing
5 tbsp (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice (or white wine vinegar if you can’t find lemons)
salt to taste
freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon smooth or grain mustard

Preparation

Is simplicity itself.
Rinse the chickpeas and beans under running cold water, and drain well.

Mix together in a serving bowl.

Mix in all the other vegetables.

To prepare the dressing, add the mustard, salt and pepper to the lemon juice and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the olive oil and whisk for a minute or two until emulsified.

Toss the salad with the dressing and the chopped parsley.

Taste for seasoning, and then allow to stand for at least an hour to meld all the flavours.

Just before serving, decorate with the quartered eggs, if you are going to have them.

Nothing better on a hot summers day!

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