Cucumber Crunch Salad

I often shamelessly glean inspiration for new recipes from the prepared foods section at my local food stores. On a busy night, I’ll pick up a pound of something fresh from the deli, and if it’s good, I’ll try to recreate it at home. The recipe below is loosely based on something I bought from my local Whole Foods store called Mediterranean Crunch, but the version that I made is simpler and better (at least in my opinion). I’ve made it three times within one week (twice for eating at home and once for a larger family get-together), and each time it’s all been consumed right away.

(Yields 4-6 servings)

Salad Ingredients
one cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and diced
1/2 c. chopped red onion, rinsed under cold water
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes (about 1 c., measured)
1/2 c. Kalamata olives, halved or sliced
1 c. cooked garbanzo beans
1/3 -1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. chopped dill

Dressing Ingredients
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar (optional)
salt and pepper

Prep all the salad ingredients and combine them in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or a spouted measuring cup, combine the dressing ingredients, then drizzle it over the salad and stir to combine. Add the salt and pepper to taste (very little is needed).

I love this salad because it is easy, fresh, tasty, and healthy, and the garbanzo beans make it very hearty. It’s great served alone, but to truly make it a meal, it can also be served atop lettuce or a grain, such as bulgur, along with some crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!