I am a sucker for a classic greek salad, but sometimes you gotta switch things up a bit, know what I mean? Enter this delicious broccoli greek salad with crispy falafel spiced chickpeas. Think your good ole’ classic greek plus thinly sliced broccoli florets which soften as they absorb and marinate in the herb-spiked vinaigrette. Every so often you get a bite with a crunchy chickpea that pops with falafel flavor. Suffice it to say I am obsessed!
Truth be told I am a raw broccoli fanatic – is that weird? Give me a crudités platter and I hoard the broccoli florets. Not that the other options are bad, in fact I love them, but if there is raw broccoli florets you best believe I will eat half (to all) of them 😋. Raw broccoli salads can be tough to chew after a number of mouthfuls because broccoli is so fibrous compared to something juicy like bell peppers and or crisp like carrots. The secret to using it in its raw form in salads like this is slicing it very thinly, from the stem down through the florets, as shown in the pic below.
I had been wanting to make falafel spiced chickpeas forever and this greek salad presented the ideal opportunity. Chickpeas are coated in cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika and roasted in a 350 degree oven until dry and crunchy. I love the savory and spiced notes that they add, not to mention the crunchy texture! They’re like croutons but 100x more flavorful.
I love meal prepping this salad and brining it to work – it makes for a crave-able lunch that isn’t the least bit boring. If you go that route, I recommend adding the dressing and tossing in the morning so it can marinate by lunch time but will not dilute too much. Most importantly, do not add the chickpeas until right before serving because they loose their crunch and the spiced coating becomes one with the dressing rather than staying put on the chickpeas. The chickpeas really retain their crisp best if eaten the day-of and when put on top of the salad rather than mixed in. Even after the chickpeas soften, they still have a lot of flavor and take on a sightly chewier texture that is still stands its own against the other ingredients.
Broccoli Greek Salad with Crispy Falafel Spiced Chickpeas
Servings: makes about 8 cups
Time: 45 minutes
- 2 broccoli crowns, about 1 pound total
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, sliced into rounds then quartered
- 1/3 cup of sliced kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion
- 4 ounces of feta, cut into cubes
- 2.5 tbsp. good extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2/3 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- falafel spiced chickpeas (recipe follows)
- Cut the broccoli into manageable florets and then slice it, floret top down, into quarter inch thick slices. By starting your cuts from the stems it is easier to slice them thinly. Since the stems are the most fibrous part, this method allows them to get thin enough to take on the marinade and soften up.
- Make the dressing by whisking the EVOO, red wine vinegar, garlic, thyme, oregano, and black pepper until emulsified.
- In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, and feta cubes to distribute everything evenly. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
- Allow salad to marinate for 2-4 hours before serving for best flavor.
- Top the salad with the crispy falafel spiced chickpeas and serve.
Crispy Falafel Spiced Chickpeas
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 2/3 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. smoked salt
- 1 tbsp. avocado oil
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Dry chickpeas well with paper towels.
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Mix all spices together.
- Add chickpeas to the sheet pan, add oil and toss until they are coated evenly. Add spice mix and toss again to coat chickpeas evenly.
- Bake at 350 until golden, dry, and crispy, about 45 minutes, tossing half way through.
Tip: chickpeas can pop and go all over the oven. To prevent this, place a cooling rack over the chickpeas, which will hold them down but is thin enough not to interrupt the crisping process.