Around this time of year, my daily bowl cozy soup and the roasted vegetables suddenly left me wanting nothing but fresh ingredients. Especially now that I live in Chicago, where winters are long, there’s something extra about escaping the cold through ingredients that make me feel like spring might be around the corner. If you’ve made any of my previous salad recipes, you know that I prefer hearty textures and ingredients to a bowl of leaves (this one in particular). Mexican Shredded Salad.) So, using what I had on hand and getting creative with ingredients, I created a Feta salad packed with protein and crunchy veggies that keeps me coming back for more.
As with many of my recipe ideas, it all starts with a block feta. And those don’t usually start with rummaging through my fridge and buying my own pantry. I love the process of taking a random collection of ingredients from the fridge and making them my own recipes without recipes. It’s like my own Chopped challenge. And this time, the hero is this Feta block.
I love feta cheese. It has this wonderful savory and slightly aromatic flavor that adds a beautiful sheen to any dish from coleslaw arrive breakfastand of course we can’t forget viral TikTok recipe broke the Internet last year. But be careful when using it because I think feta can easily overwhelm other flavors in the dish. So as I approach feta in this salad, I like to use other crunchy flavors and balanced ingredients to round out the recipe.
What ingredients are in this salad?
Let’s start with the beans. I used butter beans, but you can also use cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Butter beans are my favorite because they add a rich, creamy flavor to salads. They also add an extra dose of protein that helps your salad really fill you up.
For extra freshness, I used crunchy cucumbers, red onions and lots of fresh herbs. I already have parsley and mint on hand, but I think cilantro and green onions would be great too. Especially against the salinity of feta, having these fresh ingredients adds the perfect contrast of flavors.
A bit controversial, but I love the olives in this salad. I had them on hand, and they added a delicious flavor here. Can I leave them out? Sure. If you hate olives, just pretend they don’t exist.
Some stale and chewy bread and crunchy pistachios really round this out. But the star of this dish? Interesting lemon.
So let’s talk about this lemon indulgence. It uses a whole lemon. Rind and all.
While bringing this feta salad together, I knew it was going to taste lean, rich, and acidic. And while I thought this salad would work just fine with just pouring lots of olive oil on top with a squeeze of fresh lemon, I still wanted something that would brighten up all the flavors and tie them together. together. I was hesitant to call this a garment, since it has a denser texture. It’s also not quite a vinegar. It might not be an exciting thing, but it’s the closest I can get. The sweetness in it really helps to soften the flavor of the salad, while raising the bar for each ingredient.
Wait, can I eat the lemon peel?
Yes you can! Lemon peel has many vitamins, minerals and fiber, so it is very beneficial for your health. I make sure to buy organic lemons and then wash them thoroughly. Obviously, the raw lemon peel is tough, fibrous, eating does not have a pleasant feeling. But when it’s cooked, baked or fried, it has a chewy texture and stands out with a lemon flavor.
For this version, I first cut the lemon into very thin slices. I put the slices in a pan with olive oil on the stove, drizzle a lot of honey, then mix everything together. The result is a delicious treat that’s as good on a salad as it is on bread.
How to save leftovers for this salad?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I kept my leftovers in the fridge for a few days and it was great. Lemon helps to marinate other ingredients.
While this salad is a no-frills recipe, it’s packed with flavor and will become a new treat. If you make this, be sure to share!