Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Chickpea Salad with Mint, Bell Pepper, and Cucumber #recipe by Leslie Budewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  If you’ve got mint in your garden, you’ve got too much mint.

(I know, I know. Cut the bottom out of a plastic pot or bucket, sink it in your herb bed, and plant the mint in its confines. But it will escape. Trust me on this.) 

This is a terrific summer salad – bright colors, sparky flavors, and no cooking required. Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are always fun. (For another take, try my Smashed Chickpea Salad, one of last summer's faves.) They also have the advantage of pairing well with almost anything—chicken, fish, beef. We served the leftovers on a bed of shredded greens and radicchio and that was a hit, too.

Now, for the spark. I usually tell readers when a recipe calls for lemon juice, start with half and work your way up. Here, I think you’ll want the full tablespoon, and maybe a little more. We tried this with lemon pepper, sumac, a beautiful red Middle Eastern spice with a lemony flavor, and even VooDoo, a terrific pepper and herb blend from my friends at World Spice Merchants

I’ve called for lemon pepper here, but you can change it up depending on your taste and what’s on your spice shelf. Just keep in mind that you want it to pair well with the mint. Use your best olive oil; if you’ve got lemon-infused olive oil, swap in a bit of that.

To slice the mint, lay the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and carefully slice. Or just lay them all on your cutting board, get out your chopper, and go wild. 

Summer cooking should be fast, fun, and flexible, right? Gotcha covered. 

Chickpea Salad with Mint, Bell Pepper, and Cucumber 

3 cups (2-15 ounce cans) low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained 

½ bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), diced 

1 medium cucumber or 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more as needed

½ teaspoon Kosher salt, or more, to taste 

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more, to taste

½ teaspoon lemon pepper, sumac, or other blend, or more, to taste

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, sliced or chopped

additional mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Place the chickpeas, bell pepper, and cucumber in your serving bowl. Stir to combine. 

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, then season with salt, black pepper, and lemon pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

Add to the chickpea mixture and toss gently until chickpeas and vegetables are lightly coated with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. 

Stir in the mint just before serving. Garnish with additional mint, if you’d like. 

Makes about 5 cups or 4 servings.

From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and subscribe to her seasonal newsletter, for a chat about the writing life, what she's working on, and  what she's reading -- and a free short story. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. Thank you for the Chickpea Salad with Mint, Bell Pepper, and Cucumber. Sounds yummy and going on my gotta try list.

    Can't wait for the opportunity to read "BITTERROOT LAKE".
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Thanks, Kay! The lake is waiting for you!

  3. This is SO pretty and I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks.

  4. I love chick peas and this recipe looks delicious. I also have a taste for lemon and add a lot to my salads. It's definitely a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean squired taste to add more and more lemon. My husband still has to get used to it.