Feeling alllll the emotions this week as our baby boy turned 1. This year went FAST and we've found ourselves spending these last few weeks reminiscing on the milestones and first moments this incredibly joyous, and short, year has brought. Needless to say, it was back to the basics in the kitchen and nothing screams simply delicious like our 10-minute Pesto Chickpea Salad. Colorful, flavorful and the perfect weekday lunch or star of any backyard bbq.
This recipe highlights another SOC Kitchen staple: simple basil pesto. If you want to talk about a way to completely elevate a dish from satisfactory to utterly drool worthy then having a good pesto recipe under your belt is key. Homemade pesto is probably one of the easiest sauces to create and tastes 100000000% better than anything store bought. Just sayin'.
In true Compston fashion, this recipe is completely modifiable based on what ingredients you have on hand. We chose a few fresh and few pantry items but you can swap out with anything you and your family prefers.
To get started, let's prepare our pesto. We believe you can achieve a total wonderful, flavorful pesto incorporating dried herbs but it's really important that your basil (aka the base of your pesto) is fresh. Wash basil leaves and remove any large stems.
Place the leaves into a food processor or blender.
Add garlic, remaining herbs, and of course, olive oil.
Now, it's time to blend! Do you like magic? Watch how a full food processor will practically disappear once you start blending:
Thankfully, pesto packs a flavorful punch so we don't need much to make this dish shine. Blend until pesto is semi-smooth and even in texture. Set aside as we prepare our veggies.
Next, pick your salad add-ins. We opted for zucchini, tomatoes, red onion, but have also made this with bell peppers, mushrooms, and black olives. Dice into bitesized pieces along with chickpeas (fiber, protein) and mozzarella (protein) for well roundedness, aka, satiety.
We tossed our zucchini in a pan with a splash of evoo for a quick sauté but you can skip of you are short on time or are planning to bring this to a cookout. That said, if you DO have time we sincerely recommend keeping this step as it adds another level of yum. Oh, and when it mixes with the mozzarella and makes it ever so melty it is pure heaven.
Finally, it's time to start tossing everything together! First, toss a heaping scoop of pesto onto the zucchini and mix until well combined.
Add your remaining salad ingredients,
and another healthy scoop (or two) of pesto.
And toss until well combined.
Friends, it's time to eat!
Nutrition Notes: This salad is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and protective compounds. The phytochemicals found in garlic and onions (namely the allium genus) have been associated with anti-cancer and anti-inflammation benefits - to name a few! It has 7 grams of filling fiber, protein, and the right touch of heart healthy fats to keep you full for hours.
Pesto Chickpea Salad
- 4-5 medium zucchini washed and sliced into quarters
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced into halves
- ⅓ cup red onion diced
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 4 oz mozzarella sliced into small pieces
- 4 oz fresh basil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ tsp each, dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, and parsley
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pesto: To a food processor, add basil, olive oil, and dry seasonings and pulse until you reach desired consistency. Add additional olive oil, as needed, to thin; set aside
- Add diced vegetables and mozzarella to a large mixing bowl along with pesto. Toss until well mixed. Serve immediately.