I am rarely a salad-as-a-meal guy. Salad with lunch or dinner, all the time. But even a hearty salad never seems enough without at least a light side, like soup or bread and hummus. That said, this salad is a meal, the proof being the leftovers we could not finish.
Of course, this recipe has a ton of variations. Always use ingredients with a variety of colors, textures and degrees of richness, and and cut every ingredient to roughly uniform size. The result will yield some very interesting forkfuls that just might fill you up.
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side
4 stalks celery, washed and dried, bulbs trimmed
4 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 yellow pepper, washed and dried, seeds and stem trimmed
2 Persian cucumbers, washed and dried, tips trimmed, diced
1 small Hass avocado, peeled and diced
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, washed, dried and minced
1 cup cooked chickpeas
.25 cup Bulgarian feta, crumbled
.25 walnut pieces, well broken
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
white wine vinegar
1T extra-virgin olive oil
1T sherry vinegar
1T lemon juice
salt + pepper
Make onions. Toss red onion in glass jar that has a lid. Add vinegar until onions are just covered, and salt well. Cover jar and shake well. Set aside in fridge for 30 minutes.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Taste, adjust to preference and set aside.
Slice all vegetables so they are approximately uniform size. Slice carrots and cucumbers as coins, then halve. Cut celery in little U pieces, about a quarter inch thick and pepper in small chunks. The idea is to have several colors and textures in each forkful of salad. Now toss vegetables in large bowl with cilantro and dressing. Mix in chickpeas.
Plate salad, and top with a layer of onions. Add a layer of walnuts and feta, topped with extra salt, pepper and za’atar.