Recipe Review

Forget Lettuce: This Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Is So Satisfying, I Make It Every Week of Summer

published Jun 11, 2024
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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

Every summer I have renewed motivation to go all in on vegetables. I keep my freezer packed with frozen veggies to add to my favorite one-pot primavera and serve grilled zucchini almost daily. Yet, the one vegetable dish that I struggle to enjoy is arguably the simplest — it’s salad. 

I’ve finally admitted that I’d serve more salads if it weren’t for the lettuce. I love the variety of flavors, shapes, colors, and textures that come from various vegetable additions, cheesy components, and crunchy croutons, but lettuce leaves are often flavorless and less fun than all of the other salad fixings. I was close to giving up on salad as a whole (can you imagine?), when I tried the Mediterranean chopped salad from The Kitchn’s former Deputy Food Director, Grace Elkus.

It’s hard to narrow down the best part of this chopped salad, because there is so much to love. Between the briny feta, creamy chickpeas, chewy farro, and crunchy vegetables, every forkful is even better than the one before. The full-flavored oregano vinaigrette and a medley of crunchy vegetables (that are blissfully lettuce-free) are what keep me coming back to this salad week after week. 

Why I Love Mediterranean Chopped Salad

  • The oregano vinaigrette is a stunner.  Make-ahead salads need a flavor-packed vinaigrette, and this one delivers. The dressing’s star is a heaping tablespoon of dried oregano, plus fresh garlic, tangy red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
  • Lettuce is completely optional. In this recipe, you’ll wait to add iceberg lettuce and radicchio until just before serving or to even leave it out if you’re serving the salad as a sandwich filling. I take it a step further and opt to keep this chopped salad lettuce-free and encourage you to do the same. 
  • It’s a great make-ahead option. The bite-size vegetables and chewy farro soak up even more flavor as they marinate in the oregano vinaigrette for up to five days in the refrigerator. 
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

How to Make Mediterranean Chopped Salad

  1. Make the oregano vinaigrette. A homemade dressing like this one made with a heaping tablespoon of dried oregano, garlic, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar packs a flavorful punch that no store-bought dressing can match. 
  2. Cook the farro. Boil farro in salted water until it is tender and slightly chewy.
  3. Prep the vegetables. Cut bell peppers, celery, English cucumbers, red onion, and pepperoncinis and add to the bowl with the vinaigrette to start marinating. 
  4. Add the chickpeas and cheese. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, and cut feta cheese into bite-size pieces. 
  5. Add greens, if desired. While I usually skip it, you can add chopped iceberg lettuce and radicchio before serving, if desired.