Kitchn Love Letters

This Flavorful Spring Salad Gets Better as It Sits (I Eat It All Week Long)

published Apr 27, 2021
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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

I’ve always liked salads, but in college I really fell in love with salads. I went to a small school, and we were extremely spoiled for choice. We had steak nights and Hawaiian barbecue lunches, and my junior year they gave us the gift of a made-to-order salad bar. It felt like having one of those $15 store-bought salads right at your doorstep any day of the week (well, more like Monday through Friday).

This addition to the dining hall completely changed my relationship to salads. Whereas before I viewed salads as boring, having a seemingly endless array of mix-ins to choose from made me realize just how exciting salads can be. Suddenly I was adding goat cheese and sweet potatoes to the mix, and I was hooked. I could often be founded zipping across campus in an attempt to be early in line for the salad bar.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

One of my current favorite salads is a recipe by my Kitchn colleague Grace. Now that it’s officially spring again, her marinated chickpea and feta salad with spring veggies is the perfect celebration of some of the beautiful produce that becomes available to us at this time of the year — specifically it features crisp snap peas and radishes, which are two of my very favorite spring vegetables. The addition of farro (or whatever grain you prefer) makes it feel hearty and filling, and the marinated chickpeas and feta make it a totally flavor-packed meal. The marinade also doubles as the dressing for the salad.

The best part about this recipe? It tastes even better the next day, which are words I never thought I’d say. Whereas most salads make terrible leftovers, this one is designed to last in the fridge, dressed and all. In fact, the longer the chickpeas and feta sit in the marinade, the more flavorful the salad becomes. The next day, all you have to do is mix the marinated veggies with the pre-chopped romaine and some diced avocado. It’s easy, super quick, and delicious, which naturally makes it a lunchtime favorite of mine.  

Credit: Nicole Rufus

If You’re Making Grace’s Marinated Feta and Chickpea Salad, a Few Tips:

  1. Only add as much romaine as you want in a serving. When I know I’m going to eat the salad as leftovers for a few days, I add the feta, chickpeas, and marinade to all the prepped veggies, but I keep the romaine separate in the fridge and make servings one at a time.
  2. Avocado always comes last. No matter whether you plan to eat the salad immediately or later on, be sure to add the avocado last to ensure maximum freshness.
  3. Play around with this recipe. Grace offers a ton of ways to customize this salad. Chose the grain of your preference, swap in veggies like shaved fennel or edamame, or switch up the dill with your favorite herb.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.