Sunday, May 31

Easy Summer Picnic or Potluck Recipe:
Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Salad with Red Onion, Scallions, Cilantro, Parsley, and Feta Cheese

And the winners of Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros

My new favorite way to eat organic garbanzo beans

This was such a fun contest. I loved reading all of your 'around the world' food and travel entry comments. What a wonderful collection of personal memories and stories—and what a well traveled (and well fed) bunch you are! I truly felt like I'd journeyed around the world without even leaving the farm.

The two random winners of Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes are:

Lisa, who said: When I was 11, I travelled to Australia to visit relatives and was horrified when I was offered lamb to eat, which I refused. Now, at 46, I am always on the lookout for new lamb recipes as I raise sheep myself. I never imagined it at the time, but I did always dream of living on a farm. My farm is small, but it's mine and it feeds me.

Missallizoom, who said: I am dying to try Edna Lewis's Fried Chicken Recipe. It is so simple sounding. I don't have lard on hand and want to go pick up a cast iron chicken fryer to do it right. Some day soon I will... it is supposed to be the best!

Congratulations, ladies! I think you'll really enjoy this book. Please e-mail me your shipping address (farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com). As for the rest of you, I'll be giving away several more books throughout the summer—including a few great beach reads—so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's another recipe from Falling Cloudberries that I've fallen in love with. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use garbanzo beans (because it keeps me from munching on them straight from the can), and this refreshing salad caught my eye because it calls for two things I have plenty of in the garden right now: onions and cilantro.

Red Candy Apple onions—one of the nine varieties growing in my kitchen garden this year

Last year I asked you for suggestions on how to use up the 125 scallions I had in the garden (thank you!), and this year—because I'm crazy like that—I planted even more onions. Some of them have already formed good-sized bulbs, and yesterday I made another batch of this salad using the red beauties you see above.

If you love cilantro but have never tasted homegrown, I urge you to do whatever you can to lay your hands on some. You know how everything harvested from the garden has so much more flavor than storebought? Well, it's the same for cilantro. I haven't grown any cilantro in a while, but I planted some seeds on a whim back in March and was rewarded with a bumper crop.

Cilantro is easy to grow from seed as long as you keep in mind one thing: despite often being associated with summer and salsa, it's actually a cool weather plant. I've even had volunteer seedlings come up in the snow.

I never would have thought to put cilantro in a salad like this, but it really works. Of course that's what a new cookbook is supposed to do—surprise and persuade and inspire you, which is exactly what this one has been doing for for me.

While I definitely recommend Falling Cloudberries, I do have a small word of warning, as I've come across a few discrepancies with measurements. For example, this recipe calls for cooking 1¼ cups of dried garbanzo beans or using one 14-ounce can of beans, but a can is about 1½ cups, and 1¼ cups of dried beans will cook up into a fair amount more than that.

And the Greek-Cypriot Salad (which sounds wonderful) calls for one '6-ounce jar (about 3½ cups)' of Greek olives, but a jar that size won't hold anywhere near 3½ cups of olives (and it would be way too many olives in the salad). If you carefully read through the recipes, you should be just fine.

So what's your favorite way to eat garbanzo beans?

Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Salad with Red Onion, Parsley, Cilantro, and Feta
Makes about 5 cups—Adapted from Falling Cloudberries

**Click here to print this recipe**

Lately I've been converting my recipes to measured amounts of ingredients rather than saying 2 onions or 3 cloves of garlic, because I've come to realize that there is often a huge size discrepancy among fruits and vegetables. Just look at lemons. Some are golf-ball sized, while others will barely fit in your hand. The 'juice of half a lemon' could be almost anything.

I don't consider myself obsessive when it comes to cooking, and I admit to rarely following a recipe exactly, but this has started driving me a little nuts because there are times when it can make a real difference. 'Six apples' might literally weigh anywhere from 2 pounds to 5 pounds. Measuring ingredients by weight is often the best way to go, but not everybody has a scale (I love my Oxo Good Grips digital kitchen scale and use it almost every day).

That said, this is the kind of recipe where you don't need to be exact. Use my measurements as a starting point and adjust things to suit your taste. Next time I'll probably add extra red onion, and I'm thinking that using half red kidney beans and half garbanzo beans would be interesting.

The original recipe calls for lots more olive oil (like about a cup more) than my version does, so feel free to add extra, either while you're tossing everything together or drizzled on top just before serving.

Cooking the onions and garlic is the real trick here, as it makes them mellow and sweet, but allow them to cool before mixing them in or the feta cheese will melt. The optional olives add a flavorful, salty bite.

Tote this salad to picnics and potlucks, or serve it up along with a loaf of crusty bread and grilled chicken or steaks on those hot summer nights when nobody feels like cooking. You could also serve it on a bed of soft butter lettuce that you drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients whenever possible; they really do make a difference. Organic garbanzo beans are a staple in my pantry and can usually be found for under two dollars a can.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if desired
3 cups chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed (or 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans)
3/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
1½ cups chopped green onions (scallions), green parts only
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A handful of chopped kalamata or black oil-cured olives, optional

Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a large frying pan and add the red onion, stirring to coat it with the oil. Cook the onion gently over medium or medium-low heat, stirring often, until the it is soft and starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute; don't let the garlic brown. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the garbanzo beans, cilantro, parsley, green onions, and lemon juice. Add the cooled onion garlic mixture. (If you're impatient like I am, you can mix the onions and garlic into the beans while they're still warm, and the other ingredients will help cool them down.)

Mix in the crumbled feta cheese and olives (if using). Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (remember that the feta and olives will already be salty) and up to ½ cup more olive oil if desired.

This salad tastes best if made ahead and allowed to sit for a few hours before serving. Serve at room temperature, with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

Other Farmgirl Fare recipes that call for garbanzo beans:
A Perfect Spring Salad
Arugula Pesto (garbanzos are the secret ingredient)
Broccoli Onion Garbanzo Bean Soup
Colors of Summer Salad
Lowfat Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad (a fresh twist on coleslaw)
Quick and Healthy Cream (or not) of Artichoke Soup
Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, and Artichoke Soup (and lambing with your mom)

Still hungry? You'll find links to all of my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes over in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the bonkers for beans foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.


  1. That looks SO GOOD. At the moment I don't think I can find the ingredients here (the cheese selection in Argentina is NOT the same as in the US) but I'm sending this to my mom!

    My favorite way to eat garbanzo beans is this: I cook up some thinly sliced and diced onions and garlic in a pan, then add a can of garbanzo beans to a pot with half a can of water. Add onions and garlic, and 1 1/2 tsp of sweet curry powder. (I use the one from Penzey's) Let it simmer until the liquid is really reduced and beans are soft, add a pinch of salt and mash with a fork. I eat it on crackers! I served it at a potluck and it was a huge hit. - I hope that wasn't a rhetorical question, because I got pretty wordy just now!

  2. Sounds delicious. Garbanzos rock!

  3. Brilliant sounding salad! Bookmarking it right now.

  4. I also like Garbonzo beans just simply on top of a green salad - just like you treat the carrots or mushrooms. Always yummy!

    This salad looks great!

  5. I really love this salad and the use of feta. I sometimes roast chickpeas in the oven with some spices and they are great for a crunchy snack.

  6. Thanks for the book! I am SOOOO excited! My favorite way to eat Garbanzo Beans, is drained, with a little fresh lemon juice, some olive oil, a heaping handful of parsley, some kosher salt, pepper, a little minced garlic and occasionally I add a little parmesan cheese. Sorry no measurements, this is my go to, last minute food... so it is dump and pour.

  7. Hi Susan,
    I sent you my address this am.I am so ecxited.I never win anything!I've told everyone I met today.
    Thanks for a great Monday!

  8. Congratulations to the winners! It's always so much fun to win something. And a big thank you to you, Susan, for posting such a great recipe - looks delicious! I'm going to give it a try too.

  9. To sum this recipe up in one word -YUM!!! This is going into the recipe file and thank you so much for sharing it.
    I don't have red onions growing in my garden this year, but I do have French grey shallots which should be ready to harvest in another month.

  10. Looking yummy! I love love love hummus, homemade and smooth, garlicky and lemony. Mmmmm, must go make some now!!!

  11. Moosewood has a marinated garbanzo recipe that I love with red onion. I will have to compare this to that one.

  12. This salad sounds amazing. I'm always looking for great ways to eat garbanzo beans.

  13. Just made this and indeed it is wonderful! Very fresh and delicious. Agree wholly with bright flavor of garden-fresh cilantro, though mine is bolting and nearing it's end now. The salad is also beautiful! And super healthy. Thanks very much for posting.

  14. Thanks for the recipes. My two year old LOVES garbanzo beans (and can even say the words now...although it sounds like "Applebees") so these will really come in handy!

  15. This salad was amazing! I only had one can of garbanzo beans so I added black beans as well. I also added a fresh tomato from our garden that was wonderful.

  16. Can you give the nutrional values for this recipe? I've made one similar and can't wait to try this one. I never thought of browning the onions. I know the general nutrional values but an accurate of calories, carbs and protein would be great. If its on here it just missed it:). Thanks!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

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