The Balanced Diet: Israeli Chickpea Salad with Mustard Greens

The summer after I graduated from college, I traveled around Israel for two weeks. I saw many sites, I learned many things, and I ate my weight in falafel. Now, fried balls of ground chickpeas are decidedly not the healthiest of lunches. But there were plenty of other options that were.

On days when we weren’t wandering the open air markets and grabbing a quick pita pocket, we’d sit down to a more formal lunch. The table would be littered with small bowls of various salads – the classic Israeli version of cucumber, tomato and lemon, and others that included healthier interpretations of chickpeas. I love this type of grazing, and I heart any dish that forms its personality from fresh lemon juice, herbs, and little else.

When I’m looking for a healthy lunch I often think back to Israel and these salads, all of which keep very well in the fridge and don’t require a last minute doctoring of dressing. This particular version is a hybrid of that classic Israeli salad, and the chickpea dishes I came to know and love. To give it a little more body, I set it on a bed of mustard greens, which stand up to the lemon juice a lot better than everyday lettuce, which tends to wilt by lunchtime in a Tupperware container.

I’m not going to lie: I would still happily eat a pocket of fried falafel over a salad any day (I have a gluten-free baked version here). But this bowl of greens is so healthy, filling and delicious, it puts my cravings at bay. At least, until I’m forced to walk by the halal cart on my corner.

Eat up!


p.s. This recipe was originally published on And Love It Too as part of Sunny’s healthy lunchbox series. Check out all the great recipes from other bloggers through the end of September here!

Israeli Chickpea Salad with Mustard Greens

Serving Size: Makes 4 side servings


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained, if from a can)
  • 1 cup diced seedless cucumber, skin removed
  • 4 purple or regular scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch mustard greens (about 8 leaves)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley leaves


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the chickpeas, cucumber, scallions, garlic, lemon juice and zest, cumin, paprika, and salt. You can make the salad up to this point and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  2. Stack the mustard green leaves with the largest at the bottom, smallest at the top. Trim away the stem and discard. Roll the leaves width-wise into a cigar. Turn the roll over so that the opening is touching the cutting board. Thinly slice the cigar - the result will be beautiful ribbons of mustard greens.
  3. When you are about ready to eat, fold in the mustard greens and parsley with the chickpea mixture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and lemon juice as needed. Serve at room temperature.

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!


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6 Responses to The Balanced Diet: Israeli Chickpea Salad with Mustard Greens

  1. Frankie says:

    I think there should be a category of recipes called All You Can Eat, food that’s so healthy and delicious and lo-cal that you really can keep eating it all day and night without gaining weight or harming your body is some way. This recipe should be in that category. And by the way, that’s a really pretty plate the salad’s on.

  2. Steph says:

    my body feels good just looking at that salad! What a great way to add a bit of protein to a quick salad without the need for meat.

  3. salima says:

    I love this recipe! tried it out for the first time last week. Was super easy and liked by all!

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