In Middle Eastern cuisine, salads come in many variations. Fattoush and Tabbouleh (my personal favorite) are the most popular. Most Middle Eastern salads contain some combination of the following ingredients; cucumber, tomato, onions and parsley. The nice thing about this salad, is that these are pretty much the only ingredients you need! This cucumber salad w/beets and chickpeas is not only a staple in Iraq, but it has also become a staple in my house. My husband would eat this salad every single day if it was up to him. I’m not joking either!
I love making this salad because it’s not as time consuming as other Middle Eastern salads such as Tabbouleh. You can chop up the ingredients however you like them. You can chop them chunky or use a food chopper to make the items smaller and more uniform. It’s really up to you. Most of the time I just rough chop because it takes less time, but when I want to look fancy I get my chopper out and use it.
The parsley is what really makes this cucumber salad for me. Parsley in the Middle East is like cilantro in Mexican food. In fact it’s my favorite herb. If you haven’t tried parsley, I’m telling you, you’re missing out. It tastes delicious and is amazingly fragrant. I love how it makes my house smell when I’m chopping parsley. It comes in two forms; flat leaf or curly. Not only is parsley super low in calories but it’s also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber. As you can see it contains a ton of health benefits, a nice color and adds lots of flavor to any food you choose to use parsley in. It adds such a refreshing taste.
In this version of the salad I chose to add beets and chickpeas to make it a little heartier, but if you don’t have those at hand, it’s not a big deal. The four main ingredients are fine on their own trust me. Try it and I’m positive it will become an instant favorite!