Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

updated Sep 9, 2020
summer
Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

This vegetarian chopped salad — packed with farro, chickpeas, and plenty of fresh veggies— gets even better as it sits.

Serves6

Prep30 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

This is it, you guys: the ultimate make-ahead, no-wilt, not-sad, never-boring lunch salad. This is the one that gets me excited for my Sunday meal prep sessions; the one I send to my friends when they ask for a healthy, packable lunch they won’t get tired of by Wednesday; the one that made my meat-and-potatoes boyfriend declare “I love big salads!” (What?)

This recipe was born to satisfy your lunchtime needs — especially if you crave something fresh, crunchy, and flavorful that will keep you full throughout the afternoon. This is for when a simple leafy green salad won’t cut it, but a super-heavy grain bowl will leave you feeling overly stuffed.

This salad strikes the perfect balance: Protein-packed chickpeas and farro add substance, but all the crunchy veggies give it texture and keep it feeling light. And by chopping everything into similar-sized pieces, it’s easy to eat — and ensures you get a bit of everything in every bite.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

A Flavorful, Versatile Salad That Gets Better as It Sits

This recipe is a mashup of two of my favorite salads: Ina Garten’s Greek Salad and Nancy Silverton’s Chopped Salad. I kept some of the classic Greek salad components: cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, and feta cheese, and I added in my favorite elements of the Italian chopped salad: chickpeas, pepperoncinis, and a base of iceberg and radicchio. I left out the tomatoes and added celery for extra crunch, and stirred in farro for chew and heft. Oh, and I made sure to toss it all in my favorite part about both: a tangy, garlicky vinaigrette spiked with plenty of oregano.

The best part of this recipe is that it gets better as it sits. Everything but the lettuces is tossed in the vinaigrette, and stored in the fridge — where the veggies, chickpeas, and farro have a chance to absorb the intensely delicious dressing. The morning you’re planning on eating it, you just add the chopped greens. The greens will pick up some of the residual vinaigrette, but you can also drizzle a bit more on top (the recipe makes extra for that exact purpose).

Not into eating a salad every day? You can use the base to create a number of different lunches. Here are three ideas: Skip the greens and stuff the veggie-chickpea mixture into a hummus-swiped pita pocket, or roll it into a wrap. Add more farro and eat it as a grain-bowl. You can even pile it into cup-shaped butter lettuce leaves and make crunchy lettuce wraps.

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

This vegetarian chopped salad — packed with farro, chickpeas, and plenty of fresh veggies— gets even better as it sits.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dressing (yields about 3/4 cup):

  • 2 to 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad (yields about 7 cups):

  • 1/2 cup

    farro (semi-pearled or pearled is fine; cooking time will differ)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 2

    medium bell peppers

  • 2

    large or 4 small stalks celery

  • 1/2

    medium English cucumber

  • 1/2

    small red onion

  • 8

    small pickled pepperoncinis

  • 6 ounces

    feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 (about 15-ounce) can

    chickpeas

For serving:

  • 1/2 head

    iceberg lettuce

  • 1 head

    radicchio

Instructions

  1. Make the vinaigrette: Mince 2 large or 3 small cloves garlic and place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and several grinds black pepper, and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Pour half into an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator. Set aside the bowl with the remaining vinaigrette.

  2. Make the salad: Place 1/2 cup farro in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse under cool running water, and set aside to drain. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the farro and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Boil until farro is tender but has a slight chew in the center, 10 to 15 minutes for pearled and 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled. Drain and return to the saucepan to cool.

  3. Prep the following ingredients, adding each one to the bowl of vinaigrette as you complete it: Core, seed, and dice 2 bell peppers (about 2 cups). Dice 2 large or 4 small celery stalks (about 1 cup). Dice 1/2 English cucumber (about 1 cup). Thinly slice 1/2 small red onion into half-moons. Slice 8 small pepperoncinis (about 1/4 cup). If needed, cut 6 ounces feta cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas.

  4. Add the farro to the vinaigrette bowl and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt as needed (likely about 1/2 teaspoon). If the salad is at all dry, drizzle with a bit of the reserved vinaigrette. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

  5. Core and chop 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce into thin strips (4 packed cups). Core and chop 1 head radicchio into thin strips (3 packed cups). Transfer both to a large airtight container, toss to combine, and refrigerate.

  6. When ready to eat, toss together equal amounts the chickpea mixture and lettuce mixture (heaping 1 cup of each). Drizzle with the reserved dressing, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The chickpea mixture, dressing, and greens can be refrigerated separately up to 5 days.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn