Two foods that I don’t get tired of eating during the summer: tomatoes and basil. Right now, my garden (and luckily my neighbor’s, too) is busting at the seams with both of them! Naturally, I solved the “problem” with this Oil-free Pesto Tomato Chickpea Salad; seriously fresh flavors, light but filling, and very delicious.
The tomato plant in my garden has plenty of small, ripe tomatoes dangling from its vines; but when my (gracious) neighbor brought over MASSIVE heirloom tomatoes, I knew that I had to make a dish with the gorgeous specimens ASAP! Of course, I also had two basil plants that took off this year, compared to the failures of previous years. When there’s an abundance of this aromatic green herb, my mind always thinks pesto.
Now, combine juicy tomatoes and fresh, oil-free pesto with cucumbers, chickpeas and spinach for a simple, healthy salad. I was stoked to try something new with the pesto, this time, courtesy of a suggestion by my friend Christian: adding miso to the pesto! The miso adds good umami to dish, in place of dairy cheese. It was a success!
Aside from my garden going bonkers, I’m still focusing on Vegan Bowl Attack! which is doing well, and planning the book tour for September and October. So exciting! Also, if you have made recipes from the book and loved them, I would be so appreciative if you left a review on Amazon. Ultimately, more reviews = better ranking, and who doesn’t like that? <3
Oil-free Pesto Tomato Chickpea Salad
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil loosely packed
- 1 1/2 cups spinach loosely packed
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts or pepitas if you have an allergy
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 tablespoon white miso or chickpea miso to keep soy-free
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes chopped
- 15 ounce can chickpeas drained
- 1 cup spinach chopped
- 1 cup sliced and half-peeled persian cucumber
Place all pesto ingredients into a food processor and run until the mixture is mostly smooth, but with very small pieces (as pictured). Set aside.
Using a mesh strainer, drain chopped tomatoes of excess liquid. Then place them in a large bowl, along with the chickpeas, spinach, cucumber and pesto. Fold together until combined, seasoning with more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Chill for 20 minutes before serving.
Suggestions for Oil-free Pesto Tomato Chickpea Salad:
- Serve it chilled at a cookout, picnic, etc.
- Use it as bruschetta atop toasted bread, or maybe add it to your avo toast.
- Cook up some pasta and then toss this salad in with the noodles just enough to get it warm, serve.
- Stuff it inside of a pita pocket and top it with vegan tzatziki sauce and pickled onions. Mmm..