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Nutty chickpeas and kalamata olives give this salad a kick

Chickpeas and kalamata olives add a kick to this Mediterranean Chopped Salad. 

The appeal of a chopped salad is that all the ingredients are cut to a uniform size and tossed together, permitting a taste of everything in each bite.

Virtually any ingredients can be used, yet most chopped salads are uninspired, laden with deli meats and cheeses and drowned in dressing. With a world of options at our disposal, we steered our salad in a Mediterranean direction, starting with escarole.

A member of the chicory family, this underutilized leafy green is loaded with vitamins and has a mild bitterness that pairs well with bold flavors. Next we added chopped cucumbers and grape tomatoes, salting them to remove excess moisture, and red onion.

To make our salad hearty, instead of deli meat we incorporated nutty chickpeas. Kalamata olives added richness, and walnuts brought crunch and healthy fats. We tossed everything with a simple red wine vinaigrette to let the salad's flavors shine through.

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Finally, not wanting to completely eliminate cheese from our salad, we sprinkled on ½ cup of briny feta to round out the flavors. Cherry tomatoes can be substituted for the grape tomatoes.

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