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.
Israeli Chickpea Salad with Mustard Greens