Salad Nicoise with Cucumbers and Chickpeas for Two
Vegan Summer Nicoise Salad for Two
One of my favorite salads before going vegan was a salad nicoise. The funny thing was, I never ate the hard-boiled eggs—I wasn’t a fan—and the smell of the salmon made me want to plug my nose, but I ate it anyway. So. Weird.
Clearly the two main sources of protein in that dish didn’t make me happy, so what was the appeal? The potatoes and the dressing. I love potatoes and I love salad dressing made with Dijon mustard, and that’s why I created a nicoise salad without eggs and salmon, because, why not?
One of the most common statements I hear from people when they learn that I’m vegan is, “How can you live on rabbit food?” There’s a misperception that eating a plant-based diet means that you only eat lettuce, raw vegetables, and nuts. If you’ve been vegan for a while, you know that’s not true. If you’re a new vegan and you’re struggling with your food choices, I’m here to help you see just how exciting and delicious vegan food can be, because I used to be just like you.
This vegan version of salad nicoise with chickpeas and cucumbers was inspired by an ad that I saw while I was flipping through a magazine. I don’t remember the product that the advertisement was trying to sell, it could have been wine because I remember seeing a beautiful vineyard, but I’m not sure. What stood out to me was the salad, and it convinced me to make a vegan version.
Replacing the eggs and salmon with chickpeas was a no-brainer. Chickpeas are a great source of protein. Their name is reminiscent of chicks, therefore they reminded me of eggs; and, their juice (aquafaba) whips up just like egg whites. Click here to see what I’m talking about. Finally, chickpeas don’t smell like salmon. Perfect.
To make this super easy salad nicoise for two all you’ll need to do is boil some baby potatoes for about twenty minutes. While the potatoes are boiling chop the vegetables, drain and rinse the chickpeas, and make the Dijon mustard dressing. When the potatoes are done and have cooled enough to handle, slice them and arrange your salad.
This recipe makes enough for two people if you’re going to eat it as a meal, or, you can divide it into three to six servings for a side dish.
Notes on the Cucumbers: Traditional salad nicoise recipes include green beans. When I made this salad I didn’t have any so I substituted them with cucumber and they were so refreshing. For a hot summer day I’d recommend trying them in place of the green beans. Another great thing about the cucumber is that you don’t need to steam them.
Notes on the Dijon Dressing: I cut the sharpness of the mustard and vinegar with maple syrup. Their flavors complimented each other beautifully. You can use sugar or another sweetener if you like.
Notes on the Garnish: I minced some fresh basil and sprinkled it on top and added a few whole basil leaves as well. The flowers are cucumber blossoms from my garden. You could add edible pansies as well.
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